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Graz

The Styrian capital Graz, with roots dating back to the Roman age, lies on either side of River Mur. Graz is well-known for its striking buildings and architecture.

Graz Opera House © Graz Tourismus
Graz is dominated by the mighty Schlossberg, a forested mountain which rises over the medieval town centre and is criss-crossed with walks from all sides. At the top is a clock tower which once formed part of the now demolished castle and was the emblem of the city. Graz's new landmark, the Kunsthaus Graz (House of Modern Art), was constructed right next to the River Mur in 2003 where it floats like a giant, blue bubble.

Don those flat shoes and loose clothing and take to your feet to explore the little-known city of Graz. Amble through the historic old town with its winding streets and alleys leading to fascinating squares and courtyards.

Graz, with a population of 250,000, has a great number of interesting sights ranging from old and time-honored to dynamic and modern. The late-gothic cathedral is reminiscent of the times when Graz was still an imperial seat. And the baroque Mausoleum of Emperor Kaiser Ferdinand II next door is an equally impressive sight.

Graz should be sampled with all five senses. Discover the culinary delights in countless bars, coffee houses, wine bars, inns and restaurants on a gastronomic whirlwind tour of the local Styrian food and wine regions.

Universalmuseum Joanneum, donated by prince Johann at the beginning of the 19th century, is Austria's largest provincial museum and spotlights nature, culture and arts in Styria. The Murinsel is an artificial floating platform in the middle of the Mur. It was constructed by the New York artist and designer Vito Acconci on the occasion of Graz becoming the 2003 European Capital of Culture.

Special events include Styriarte, a music festival dedicated mainly to early music, Steirischer Herbst (Styrian Autumn), a contemporary festival spotlighting theatre, fine arts, literature and music, as well as concerts at Eggenberg Palace.

For further information on visiting Graz, go to: www.visitgraz.com