Friday, December 16, 2011

Graz, Austria

Graz is in southeast Austria and the country's second-largest city with over 290,000 people. It is 200 km (120 miles) from Vienna and 50 km (31 miles) from Maribor, Slovenia.

The city is the capital of the federal state of Styria. It's also a student city with six universities and more than 40,000 students.

The historic city center is quite charming with medieval walls, Baroque churches, Renaissance palaces and lots of cafes. In 1999, the old town became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Rathaus (town hall) is beautiful. From 1999 to 2000, over €4.5 billion was spent on renovations.

Schloßberg is a hill with a castle on top of it. It is 475 meters (+1,500 feet) high and has great views of Graz. I've often joked that some of these old European castles and forts really do need a few elevators. Well Schloßberg actually has one! Of course, it's much nicer to actually walk down the hill.

The Uhrturm (clock tower) is the city's most famous landmark. Originally, it was used as a defensive tower. The clock hands don't function in the usual manner. The larger hand marks hours and the smaller one is for minutes because the minute hand wasn't added until much later.

The Landhaus, built between 1557 and 1565, is a renaissance palace that holds Styria's federal state parliament. At Christmas time, it also hosts a life-sized nativity scene carved out of ice.

Next time, I would really like to visit Schloß Eggenberg. It's a Baroque palace and museum on the western edge of the city. In 2010, it was added to old town's existing UNESCO World Heritage Site status.

No comments:

Post a Comment