Graz is the capital city of the southern Austrian province of Styria. At its heart is Hauptplatz, the medieval old town’s main square. Shops and restaurants line the narrow surrounding streets, which blend Renaissance and baroque architecture. A funicular leads up Schlossberg, the town hill, to the Uhrturm, a centuries-old clock tower. Across the River Mur, futuristic Kunsthaus Graz exhibits contemporary art.
Old Town Graz
The UNESCO-acclaimed Old Town center of Graz is filled with historical architecture, and is a pleasure to explore on foot. Highlights include the Hauptplatz, the Main Square, on the left bank of the River Mur, with its fine statue of Archduke Johann (1782-1859), who did much to bring industry to the region and improve communications and trade. Also of note are the Town Hall (Rathaus), built in 1893, and the 17th-century Haus am Luegg, with its attractive arcaded and stucco-decorated facade.
Standing as a symbol of the once mighty and influential region of Styria, Eggenberg Palace holds a major historical and cultural place in the city of Graz and in Austria.Tucked away in the western part of Graz in the Eggenberg district, the palace is surrounded by gorgeous parkland and gardens and served as a statement of the power and wealth of the Styrian rulers.Among things to see are the highly decorated state rooms with the fascinating planetary room full of frescos, the Planetary Garden and the Pavilion.
The Styrian Armoury
On Graz’s Herrengasse, the Styrian Armoury (Landeszeughaus) has been home to the provincial arsenal since 1644. The worlds’ biggest historical armory, its permanent collections include 13,400 small arms and accessories, of which 4,259 are pistols. The artillery collection contains volley guns, mortars, cannons, falconets, and their accessories, and there are more than 2,000 edged weapons – swords, broadswords, and sabers.
Graz Art Museum
Looking a little like some alien life form plunked in the middle of Graz’s splendid old architecture, the ultra-modern Graz Art Museum (Kunsthaus Graz) was built in 2003 to mark the city’s choice as the European City of Culture. Focusing on works of contemporary art of the mid-20th Century, the gallery hosts artists from around the world with regularly changing temporary exhibits. The best views of the building are available at night, when the building lights up like a spaceship. English language guided tours and audio-guides are available.