Planets, Peacocks, and Princely Living.
Take tram line number 1 to the western edge of Graz and get off at “Schloss Eggenberg.” Maybe you can already spy the white and yellow facade of Graz’ preeminent palace through the alley of trees! Eggenberg palace isn’t just a gorgeous relic of 17th century Baroque architecture, but a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its four corner towers and decorated entry portal don’t look out of character for a former noble residence, but there is something strange going on with the palace design.
The Princely family of Eggenberg built their palace on top a medieval family residence during the Thirty Years War. They were rich merchants who cleverly entered into Emperor Ferdinand II’s political circle and ascended to nobility. The palace outside Graz put a cap stone on their new status and needed to reflect the Eggenberg’s brilliance and education: this is how the estate’s architecture became entirely based on the Gregorian calendar and Enlightenment astronomy.
Gaze up at the friendly palace walls and you’ll notice the tight rows of windows that wrap around the facade. Eggenberg Palace has exactly 365 windows, one for every day of the year. On the second floor, walk the 24 lavish state rooms (one for every hour in a day). Together, the state rooms have 52 exterior windows, representing the weeks in a year. The loop of decorated chambers culminates in the Planetary Room, one of Central Europe’s most impressive Baroque interiors. 12 oil paintings on the walls show the Western zodiac, and make you feel like you’re attending an Imperial ball.
Every floor in Eggenberg Palace has exactly 31 rooms, which symbolize the maximum number of days in a month. On the first floor, walk the Alte Galerie, which displays works by the Dutch masters of the 17th century in a permanent exhibit. Step outside the palace for an exotic surprise: beautiful peacocks roam the palace gardens and show off their plume to visitors. Keep your eyes open and you might find a lonely rainbow feather in the grass, gazing back at you.