Discovering Graz is a stroll through centuries right into the future. With its historic buildings and the futuristic Kunsthaus and the Mur Island it for good reason a UNESCO world heritage site and a UNESCO city of design at the same time.
Historic Old Town
Best experienced on a guided city tour. April-October, daily at 2:30 PM leaving at Information Office at Herrengasse 16. Strolling through the old town of Graz is like wandering through different periods, buildings from baroque to gothic to renaissance are lining up next to each other. UNESCO rewarded the historic city center of Graz a World Cultural Heritage site.
Armoury Museum & Kunsthaus
Two great museums reflecting the historical and modern art in Graz. The Armoury museum is the world’s largest collection of medieval arms and armous, located in a historic building right in the heart of the old town. The Kunsthaus on the contrary reflects the modern and contemporary side of Graz. Both are a must-see!
Armoury - Address: Herrengasse 16
Kunsthaus - Address: Lendkai 1
Main Square & City Hall
In brilliant white the bride steps into the square before Rathaus town hall in a cascade of flowers and rice. Just across, a lively hip-hop show. The market stalls offer juices and sausages with mustard – scenes from the heart of the city, the Hauptplatz of Graz, cradled among magnificent buildings crowned by the town hall of Graz. It’s an impressive backdrop for the city’s colourful bustle and focal point for visitors and residents alike. From here you can reach all of the attractions of Graz in a jiffy.
Farmer’s Market on Kaiser-Josef-Platz
In former times the Kaiser-Josef-Square used to be a timber-market.Today the people of Graz rather think of culinary delights than of history when they talk about this market. Fresh local products are offered by their producers on a daily basis. Many products are grown organically and some of them have a long standing tradition such as the "Käferbohne" (special kind of large beans), apples and of course the pumpkinseed oil. Monday-Saturday 6AM to 1PM
Today’s cathedral reminds of the days when Graz was an imperial city. Emperor Frederick III erected the church together with his new residence in Graz. In the course of history, the cathedral saw many changes. Construction work of the court and parish church in late-Gothic style was started in 1438, as Jesuit church it was refurbished in Baroque style in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. Since 1786 it has been the cathedral.
A wall-tattoo on Herrengasse street? Sure! On the façade of the Herzoghof building in the centre of Graz, Greek and Roman Gods engage in a rendez-vous. The building was first painted as early as 1600. The Baroque painter Johann Mayer applied the ‘divine’ frescos in 1742, since which time it has been known as the ‘painted house’. If you take a moment to immerse yourself in the images, you enjoy an intense sense of submersion right there in the middle of the urban hustle and bustle.
A romantic picnic in the centre of the city? Where better than at the enchanting location of the Burggarten in Graz. This scenic park is, to all intents and purposes, a secret; who would expect to find such a romantic setting hidden away behind the regional government headquarters, above the Stadtpark? One particular highlight is the former orangery which, following careful and comprehensive renovation, now serves to host events and receptions of all kinds.
Burg & Double Spiral Staircase
The centuries have left their traces on the residence of the Habsburgs in Graz, erected in 1438 and now seat of the governor of Styria. Some wings have been added, others destroyed. But there are still many impressive testimonies of the past. From the Biedermeier period back to the Renaissance and Gothic eras. From the latter period the famous double-spiral staircase remains.
This new cultural centre on a historical plot of land unites the historical museum and library buildings in Rauber-, Neutor- and Kalchberggasse into one architectural entity. Retaining the original character of the individual buildings, the new centre creates an urban piazza for Graz Old Town that is situated above an underground visitors’ centre.
Glockenspiel / Carillion
Three times a day locals and tourists gather for a nice spectacle in Glockenspielplatz. The Graz carillon chimes three melodies. And in the gable windows a wooden couple in proper costume dances to the sound. In the end, a golden cock crows three times "Kikeriki" (German for cock-a-doodle-doo). If you miss all that at 11 AM, come back at 3 or 6 PM.
A journey into the Cosmos. A building portraying time. That is how one could describe Schloss Eggenberg, erected in 1625-56. The owner: Hans Ulrich von Eggenberg, political devisor of Emperor Ferdinand II. The architect: Giovanni Pietro the Pomis, who also planned Ferdinand’s Mausoleum in Graz. Today, Styria’s most splendid palace is used for cultural events, and it is home of the „Alte Galerie“- the old gallery.
Murinsel – the floating island in the river Mur
What was meant to be a temporary project of the Cultural Capital of Europe, Graz 2003, has turned into an attraction. The New York artist Vito Acconci designed a steel grid structure in the shape of a half-opened shell. The open part – an amphitheatre for performances but also a resting place for sun-seekers. The covered part – a very trendy café. The island also functions as a bridge between the two banks of the river Mur.
Kastner & Öhler / Freiblick
Right at the heart of Graz, situated only a few steps from the main square, Kastner & Öhler, with its 20,000 m², offers the largest choice of fashion of Austria! Just elected "Department store of the Year 2011 ", this elegant establishment offer the perfect setting for more than 500 international brands throughout its six floors. Not to miss: Freiblick on the 6th floor offer a great terrace with exciting views of the old town and the Clock Tower.
Graz Opera House
Brandishing a sword for the Opera House. Next to the imposing white edifice on Ringstrasse street skirting Graz city centre, the “Lichtschwert” sculpture stands for the protection of human rights. At the same time, it stands in agitating contrast with the neighbouring Opera House and is proof of the city’s cultural awareness. Formerly the city theatre, the Opera House itself is now a splendid stage for breathtaking productions in Graz ranging from musical theatre to ballet.
Assault from above? A man with a beard, turban and dagger gazes down threateningly, capturing the attention of passers-by. It’s OK, the well-known Turk under the roof decorates one of the finest buildings in the city. On a stroll through Graz it’s always worth taking in Palais Saurau. With its Baroque, richly decorated wrought iron gate, Renaissance arcades in the courtyard and splendidly decorated first-floor halls, the palace invites you to immerse yourself in the history of the Saurau family.
Children's Museum frida & fred
A day to remember at the museum. Children will discover a treasure trove of experiences at the Kindermuseum FRida & freD in the Augarten park, where exhibitions are developed with children and for children. Their motto is “Hands On – Minds On”: telling stories for 3- to 12-year-olds in the tangible form of experiments and objects. Touch, whisper, cuddle, listen, twist and try things out – anything’s allowed. Complex connections are explained in a child-friendly way.
Schell Collection - Lock and Key Museum
The key to happiness – could you find it here? The Schell Collection, Austria’s museum of locks, keys, coffers, ornamental boxes and ornate cast iron, and also the biggest specialist museum of its kind in the world. Find the answers to questions such as “Why is there a key on a pocket watch chain?” or “Why would you need a funeral casket key?” … and “Are you sure that you found all of the secret compartments in your great grandfather’s desk?”