Graz ( ; Slovene: Gradec, Prekmurian: Gráca) is the
second-largest city in Austria after
Vienna and the capital of the federal state of Styria.
It has a population of 291,574 as of 2009
(of which 255,354 have principal residence status).
Graz has a long tradition as a student city: its six universities
have more than
44,000 students. Graz's "Old Town" is one of the best-preserved
city centres in Central Europe. In 1999, it was added to the UNESCO list of
World Cultural Heritage
Graz was sole Cultural Capital of Europe
The city is situated on the Mur
river, in the
south east of Austria. It is approximately southwest of Vienna or
2.5 hours by train / 2 hours by car. The nearest larger
urban center is Maribor in Slovenia which is
about away. Graz is the capital and largest city in
Styria, a green and
heavily forested area.
Due to its
position south east of the Alps, Graz is shielded from the
prevailing westerly winds that bring weather fronts in from the
Atlantic to north
western and central Europe. Due to this factor the weather in Graz is
Graz therefore has more hours of
sunshine per year than Vienna or Salzburg and also less wind or
rain. Graz lies in a basin that only opens to the south, causing
the climate to be warmer than would be expected at that latitude
. Plants are found in Graz that normally
grow much further south. However, this milder, less windy climate
is detrimental to the air quality
Graz as it makes the city prone to smog
winter. The exhaust fumes of the around 120,000 cars driven into
Graz every weekday by people living in the surrounding areas,
together with the car journeys made by the inhabitants of Graz
itself, are the most significant source of air pollution
The following towns and villages border Graz:
Graz is divided into 17 districts. They are:
I. Innere Stadt (3,302)
II. St. Leonhard (12,377)
III. Geidorf (19,119)
VI. Jakomini (25,808)
VII. Liebenau (11,556)
VIII. St. Peter (12,809)
IX. Waltendorf (10,782)
XI. Mariatrost (7,403)
XIII. Gösting (9,227)
XIV. Eggenberg (16,467)
The more recent population
figures do not
give the whole picture as only people with principal residence
status are counted and people with secondary residence status are
not. Most of the people with secondary residence status in Graz are
students. At the end of 2006 there were 37,624 people with
secondary residence status in Graz.
Population (with principal residence status) in the agglomeration
was approximately 320,000 at the
end of 2006.
The oldest settlement on the ground of the modern city of Graz
dates back to the Copper Age
there is no historical continuity of a settlement before the Middle
The name of the city, Graz ( see the slavic settlementGrad
), and some archaeological finds point to the
erection of a small castle by South Slavic people , which in time
became a heavily defended fortification. In literary Slovene
"small castle", which is etymologically a hypocoristic derivative
of Proto-West-South Slavic *gradьcъ, itself by means of liquid metathesis
descending from Common Slavic
*gardьcъ, by Slavic third palatalisation
*gardiku (cf. Ancient
Greek toponym ) originally denoting "small town, settlement". The
name thus follows the common South Slavic pattern for naming
settlements as grad
. The German name 'Graz'
was first used in 1128, and during this time dukes under Babenberg
rule made the town into an important
commercial center. Later Graz came under the rule of the Habsburgs
, and in 1281 gained special privileges
from King Rudolph I
In the 14th century Graz became the city of residence of the
line of the Habsburgs.
royalty lived in the Schloßberg castle and from there ruled Styria, Carinthia, and parts of today's Italy and
Slovenia (Carniola, Gorizia and Gradisca).
16th century, the city's design and planning were primarily
controlled by Italian Renaissance architects and artists. One of
the most famous buildings built in this style is the Landhaus. It
was designed by Domenico
, and was used by the local rulers as a governmental
Graz was also a city that famous astronomer Johannes Kepler
lived in for a short part of
his life. There, he worked as a math teacher, but found time to
study astronomy. He left Graz to go to Prague when
Lutheran people were banned from the
Karl-Franzens Universität, also referred to
as the University
of Graz, is the city's oldest university, founded in 1585
by Archduke Charles II.
For most of its existence it was controlled by the Catholic church
, and was closed in
1782 by Joseph II
an attempt to gain state control over educational institutions.
Joseph II transformed it into a lyceum where civil servants and
medical personnel were trained. In 1827 it was re-instituted as a
university by Emperor Franz I
thus gaining the name 'Karl-Franzens Universität,' meaning
'Charles-Francis University.' Over 30,000 students currently study
at this university.
Nikola Tesla studied electrical engineering at
the Polytechnic in Graz in 1875. Nobel Laureate
Otto Loewi taught at the University
of Graz from 1909 until 1938. Johannes Kepler
was a professor of
mathematics at the University of Graz. Erwin Schrödinger
chancellor of the University of Graz in 1936.
was given a warm welcome
when he visited in 1938, the year Austria was annexed
. The thriving Jewish community
destroyed by the Nazis and their grand synagogue was burnt. A small
group of Graz Jews returned despite everything after the war. In
2000, on the anniversary of the Reichskristallnacht
, Graz city council
presented the Jewish community with a new synagogue as a gesture of
reconciliation. Hitler promised the people of Graz 1,000
years of prosperity and an end to mass unemployment: only 7 years
later the Graz resistance surrendered the city to Soviet troops sparing Graz any further destruction.
By then about 16% of buildings had been destroyed by Allied
bombing - luckily the Old Town
was not seriously hit.
Graz lies in Styria, or Steiermark
is an old German word indicating a large area of land
used as a defensive border, in which the peasantry are taught how
to organize and fight in the case of an invasion. With a strategic
location at the head of the open and fertile Mur
valley, Graz was often assaulted (unsuccessfully),
e.g. by the Hungarians under Matthias
in 1481, and by the Ottoman
in 1529 and 1532. Apart from the Riegersburg, the
Schloßberg was the only fortification in the region that never fell
to the Ottoman Turks. Graz is home to the region's provincial
armory, which is the world's largest historical collection of
Baroque weaponry. It has been preserved since 1551, and displays
over 30,000 items.
From the earlier part of the 15th century Graz was the residence of
the younger branch of the Habsburgs, which succeeded to the
imperial throne in 1619 in the person of Emperor Ferdinand II
, who moved the
capital to Vienna. New fortifications were constructed on the
Schlossberg at the end of the 16th century. Napoleon
's army occupied Graz in 1797.
In 1809 the city had to withstand another assault by the French
army. During the course of this attack, the commanding officer in
the fortress was ordered to defend it with his men against
Napoleon's army, which numbered about 900 and 3,000 respectively.
He successfully defended the Schloßberg against 8 attacks, but they
were forced to give up since the Grande Armee conquered Vienna and
the Emperor ordered to surrender. Following the defeat of Austria by
Napoleonic forces at the Battle of Wagram in 1809, the fortifications were demolished using
explosives, as stipulated in the Peace of Schönbrunn of the same year.
The belltower and the
civic clock tower, often used as the symbol of Graz, were allowed
to survive this fate after the people of Graz paid a ransom for
Archduke Charles II of Inner
had 20,000 Protestant
books burned in the square of what is now a mental hospital, and
succeeded in returning Styria to the authority of the Holy See
. Archduke Franz Ferdinand
was born in Graz, in what is now the Stadtmuseum (city
In the last few years some groundbreakingly modern new public
buildings have been erected in the city. The most famous of
these include the Kunsthaus (house of modern art) designed by Peter Cook and Colin Fournier, a museum constructed right
next to the river Mur, and the "Murinsel"
(island in the Mur), an island made of steel, situated in the
It was designed by the American architect Vito Acconci
and contains a café, an open-air
theatre and a playground.
town was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1999 due to the
harmonious co-existence of typical buildings from different epochs
and in different architectural styles. Being situated in a
cultural borderland between Central Europe, Italy and the Balkan
States, Graz absorbed various influences from the neighbouring
regions and thus received its exceptional townscape. Today the old
town consists of over 1000 buildings, their age ranging from Gothic
to Contemporary.The most important sights in the old town are:
View of the Rathaus
Hall at dusk.
- Rathaus (Town Hall).
- Schloßberg, hill dominating the old town (475 m
high), site of demolished fortress, with views over
- Uhrturm clocktower, symbol of Graz, on the top
- Neue Galerie . Museum of art.
- Schloßbergbahn, a funicular railway up the
- The Landhaus, the building where the federal
state parliament of Styria resides, a palace in Lombardic style. It
belongs to the most important examples of Renaissance architecture
in Austria and was built by the Italian architect Domenico dell'Allio between 1557 and
Landeszeughaus, armoury, the largest of its kind in the world
- The Schauspielhaus is the principal
- Dom (cathedral), a rare monument of Gothic
architecture. Once, there had been many frescos on the outer walls,
today, there are only few remains, like the Landplagenbild
("picture of plagues") painted in 1485, presumably by Thomas von Villach. The three plagues it
depicts are locusts, pestilence and the invasion of the Turks, all
of them striking the town in 1480. It features the oldest painted
view of Graz.
- Mausoleum of Emperor Ferdinand II next to the
cathedral, the most important building of Mannerism in Graz. It includes both the grave,
where Ferdinand II and his wife are buried, and a church dedicated
to St Catherine of Alexandria.
- Burg (castle complex), with Gothic double
staircase, built between 1438 and 1453 by Emperor Frederick III because the
old castle on the Schloßberg was too small and uncomfortable. The
Burg remained the residence of the Inner Austrian Court
until 1619. Today, it serves as residence of the government of
- Gemaltes Haus ("painted house"), in
Herrengasse 3. It is completely covered with frescos (painted in
1742 by Johann Mayer).
- Kunsthaus (museum of modern art).
- Murinsel, an
artificial island in the Mur.
- Buildings, courtyards (e. g.
Early Renaissance courtyard of the Former House of Teutonic
Knights in Sporgasse 22) and roofscape of the
Outside the Old Town
- Schloss Eggenberg a Baroque palace on the western edge of
Graz with State rooms and museum ,,.
- Basilika Mariatrost a late Baroque church, on the eastern edge
of Graz ,,.
Kirche is the largest church in Graz with the 3rd
highest spire in Austria, built in Gothic Revival style .
- Calvary Hill in the Gösting area of Graz with
a 17th century calvary and church.
- The LKH-Universitätsklinikum, is the biggest
hospital of Graz, it is the largest Art Nouveau building complex in
Austria. It was built between 1904 and 1912. It is run by the
- Best viewpoints for vistas of the city are Ruine
Gösting, hilltop castle ruins on northwestern edge of
city, and Plabutsch/Fürstenstand, behind Schloss
Eggenberg with a hilltop restaurant and viewing tower.
- The site of the former brewery Graz
Reininghaus is currently the biggest privately financed city
development project in Austria.
Within the greater Graz area
- Österreichisches Freilichtmuseum Stübing, an
open-air museum containing old farmhouses/farm buildings from all
over Austria reassembled in historic setting.
- Lurgrotte, the most extensive cave system in
- Lipizzanergestüt Piber, Lipizzaner stud where the famous white horses are
- The Steirische Weinstrasse is a wine growing
region south of Graz, also known as the "Styrian Tuscany".
- Thermenregion, spa region east of Graz.
- Riegersburg, a mighty fortress that was never
taken. It was a bastion against historical Turkish invasions
During 2003 Graz held the title of "European Capital of
The most important museums in Graz are:
- Schloss Eggenberg with Alte Galerie
(paintings and sculptures from the Romanesque to the end of the
Baroque period), Coin Collection,
Archeological Museum (featuring the Cult Wagon
of Strettweg) a special exhibitions area and the 90,000
m2 romantic landscape
- Neue Galerie visual arts from the 19th and
- Natural History Museum exhibition of botany,
mineralogy and zoology.
- Stadtmuseum Graz city museum.
- Grazer Kunsthaus museum of contemporary
- Camera Austria museum of contemporary
- Landeszeughaus medieval armory comprising of
32,000 pieces of armour and weaponry, largest of its kind in the
- Volkskundemuseum museum of folklore.
- Diözesanmuseum museum of the Roman Catholic
- Künstlerhaus museum of contemporary visual
- Literaturhaus museum of contemporary German
- Museum der Wahrnehmung museum of the senses,
- Kindermuseum Frida&Fred museum for
- Tramwaymuseum 40 historic trams, the oldest
dating from 1873.
- Kriminalmuseum museum of criminology.
- Luftfahrtmuseum (Graz airport) aviation
- Hanns Schell Collection key and lock museum,
largest of its kind in the world.
There are currently 228 buildings in Graz that are classified as
highrise buildings. In Graz a building is classified as being
highrise if the floor of at least one room is 22 metres above
ground level. Buildings that are classified as highrise have to
adhere to much more stringent fire safety regulations because the
ladders of the majority of fire appliances used by Graz Fire
Brigade cannot reach higher than 22 metres.
In Graz there are some new high rise buildings in the pipeline, the
only ones that currently (June 2009) are looking certain to be
built are a 15 storey officeblock opposite the "Stadthalle" on the
southern edge of the city centre and a 21 storey officeblock next
to the urban motorway leading from the Graz Ost Interchange into town.
An extensive public transportation network makes Graz an easy city
to navigate without a car. The city has a comprehensive bus
network, complementing a tram network consisting of six lines, two
of which run from the main train station (Hauptbahnhof) to the old
town before branching out. Furthermore, there are seven night-time
bus routes, although these operate only at weekends and on evenings
preceding public holidays.The tram is also called "Bim".
Tram at Jakominiplatz
From the main train station (Hauptbahnhof), regional trains link to
most of Styria. Direct trains also run to most major cities
nearby including Vienna, Salzburg, Innsbruck, Maribor and Ljubljana in Slovenia, Zagreb in
Croatia, Prague in the
Republic, Budapest in Hungary and Zurich in Switzerland.Trains for Vienna leave every hour.
Graz Airport is about 10 kilometres south of the city centre and
has a railway station within walking distance (east of the
Twin towns — Sister cities
Other forms of cooperation and city friendship similar to the twin
Schwarzenegger, former bodybuilding
champion, actor and current governor of California. Born and raised in the farming village
Thal, 2 km
from Graz. In 2005, the Graz football stadium named
after Schwarzenegger was renamed Stadion Graz-Liebenau after controversy over the use of the death penalty
in California, now it is called UPC-Arena.
- Johann Bernhard
Fischer von Erlach, architect of the Baroque period.
- Johann Puch,
Slovenian inventor, mechanic and significant vehicle
Boltzmann, Austrian physicist, Professor of Mathematical
Physics at the University of Graz (1869), chair of Experimental Physics at the
of Graz (1876-1890).
- Robert Stolz, Austrian composer and
- Friedrich St. Florian,
- Olga Neuwirth, one of the most
important contemporary Austrian composers.
- Nicolaus Harnoncourt,born
in Berlin raised in Graz, a conductor known throughout the world
for his performances of classical works on period instruments.
- Jochen Rindt, the first Austrian
Formula One champion raised in Graz by
- Otto Wanz, former professional wrestler who held the
AWA World Heavyweight
- Wolfgang Bauer, Austrian
- Werner Schwab, playwright and
- Bernd Brückler, professional
ice hockey player
- Thomas Vanek,
professional hockey player, born in Baden bei Wien, raised in Graz.
- Helmut Marko, former racing
- Markus Schopp, midfielder for
MLS side Red Bull New York
- August Musger, inventor of the
slow motion technique in cinema.
- Karl Böhm, an Austrian
- Lili Novy, Slovenian poet.
- Otto Loewi Nobel prize-winning physiologist.
- Archduke Franz
Ferdinand of Austria, Archduke of Austria-Este and heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne.
- Soo-Young Lee, a clarinetist in the Youtube Symphony Orchestra
- Nikola Tesla studied electrical
engineering at in Graz.
- Gert Schnider,
- Baron Roman Ungern von
Sternberg, enemy of the Soviet State and dictacor of Mongolia in 1921.
- Anton Rintelen, Cabinet Minister
and Nazi conspirator.
- Hans Ulrich von
Eggenberg, Austrian statesman and early "prime minister" during
the Thirty Years' War
|Name or Address
|Kärntner Straße 212, Liebenauer Hauptstraße 309
|1968 and 1955
|St. Peter Pfarrweg, Kindermanngasse,
|Vinzenz Muchitschstraße, Ungergasse, Kärntner
Straße 216, Eggenberger Gürtel