Graz, the capital of Styria and Austria's second largest city, is nestled in the south of the country and is a vibrant city with a population of 250,000. Here, culture, culinary delights and trendy design take centre stage on both sides of the River Mur. Its reputation of being a lively, modern cultural place earned it the title of Cultural Capital of Europe 2003, and with a population of 250,000, it has a great number of interesting sights ranging from old and time-honored to dynamic and modern. Its beautiful historical centre (a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site) is a colourful smorgasbord of different influences, from the Baroque to the Renaissance, Art Deco and Medieval.
Landmarks such as 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. 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, whereas 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.