The Styrian capital Graz, whose roots date back to the Roman age, lies on both sides of the River Mur, and is well-known for its medieval city center and modern architectural highlights.
Graz, with a population of 250,000, has a great number of interesting sights ranging from old and time-honored to dynamic and modern.
Graz is dominated by the Schlossberg, a forested mountain which rises over the medieval town center and is crisscrossed with walks from all sides. At the top is a bell tower which formed part of the now demolished castle and once was the emblem of the city. Graz’s new landmark, the Kunsthaus (House of Modern Art) was constructed right next to the River Mur in 2003 where it floats like a giant, bluish bubble.
Part of your ticket to the Kunsthaus is the entrance to Eggenberg castle with its amazing parks. Schloss Eggenberg relies on the Gregorian calendar as a basis for this constructed universe. The palace has 365 exterior windows, one for each day of the year. Of these, 52 are on the 24 rooms of the piano nobile representing the weeks of one year. The 2nd storey contains these 24 state rooms in a ring-shaped arrangement which symbolize the hours in a single day. Every floor in the building bares exactly 31 rooms counting the maximum number of days in a calendar month. The 52 windows of the piano nobile with the 8 windows of the Planetary Room make a total of 60, representing both the number of seconds in a minute and the minutes in an hour.
The late-gothic cathedral is reminiscent of the times when Graz was still an imperial seat. The baroque Mausoleum of Emperor Kaiser Ferdinand II next door is an impressive sight. The 5-story Landeszeughaus (provincial armory) houses an incredible 32,000 historic armor and weapons. The Landhaus with its Renaissance arcaded courtyard almost looks like a Venetian palazzo.
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 - Island in the river Mur - 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 the "Styriarte", a music festival dedicated mainly to early music, the “Steirischer Herbst” (Styrian Fall), a festival spotlighting theater, the fine arts, literature and music, the Jazz Summer, and the Eggenberg Palace Concerts. Event centers like Kunsthaus, Stadthalle, the Opera, the theatre and forum stadtpark host great cultural activities throughout the year.
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