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Things to do in Graz

  • Eggenberg Palace/Schloss Eggenberg Eggenberg Palace Graz, Sweden
    One of the most fantastic places to visit in Graz, Austria is the Schloss Eggenberg, or in English, the Eggenberg Palace. Created in the latter part of the 15th century, this marvelous structure is a vision to behold and enjoy. It is considered the most significant Baroque palace compound in Styria. With many preserved materials, beautiful gardens, and exquisite collections that are housed in this majestic palace; plus the Universal Museum Joanneum that is held in the compound. The magnificent castle is one of the most valuable assets of the nation, and the castle's construction and materials showcase the changes and encouragement of the strongest dynasty in the region, the House of Eggenberg. The complex sits on the western edge of Graz, the capital city of Styria, with extravagant gardens, and the spectacular castle state rooms. While here, you have the chance to enjoy other incredible collections and attractions. The north end of the compound contains the Planetary Garden and Lapidarium of Roman stonework, plus the front entry into the new Archeological Museum that contains the Cult Wagon of Strettweg; an unbelievable creation from the 7th century. There is also a wonderful collection of coins that reside in the imperial minting rooms of Balthasar Eggenberger, that are from the late 15th century; as well as the show collection of Alte Galerie , that are from the 15th to 18th centuries. Upon arriving at the extremely awesome looking palace, it would seen that it had recently been built, perhaps as late as the 17th century, however, some areas of the structure itself were constructed as early as the 15th century and construction continued on into the 18th century. Balthsar Eggenberger was the financier of Frederick III, the Holy Roman Emperor, purchased this land in the western part of Graz where his family continued to consider this palace their noble residence. In 1470, the square Gothic chapel had been constructed which eventually became the centerpiece to the entire complex. Later the young cousin of General Ruprecht von Eggenberger, Hans Ulrich, became an influential diplomat and statesman to the Emperor, Ferdinand II. His opposite in the French court was Cardinal Richelieu who was the advisor to King Louis XIII; while they were at war with each other during the Thirty Years War. This war was fought mostly in Germany, during the 1618 through 1648 period, and at different times included most of the countries of Europe. The war continued on the oceans, and did actually help shape the colonialization of the new world. No one is sure today why or how it started, although most presume it was the protestants fighting the Catholics of the Holy Roman Empire; eventually becoming more of a territorial conflict that involved the French and the Hapsburg dynasty. Hans Ulrich became the personal confidant of Ferdinand II and soon he wanted an elaborate home that showcased his imperial status and influence, as he became the Governor of Inner Austria; while the emperor made Vienna his personal capital. In 1625, Prince Hans had the court architect, Giovanni Pietro de Pomis design his new palace that was inspired by El Escorial in Spain. Giovanni was a master architect, medalist and painter, from the Milan area in Italy and soon he was the most prominent artist in the courts. He incorporated the original structure into his new plans, and was the main constructionist on the palace until he died in 1631. Then master fortress builder Laurenz van de Syppe finished the construction in two more years. Although it was only the shell, during the next 10 years, the ornate decorations were completed. In 1666, Johann Seyfried von Eggenberger, the grandson of Hans Ulrich, added more embellishments to the palace to complete its Baroque grandeur. The complex was again thrown into the forefront of politics in 1673, when Archduchess Claudia Felicitas of Tyrol, was married there to the new Holy Roman Emperor, Leopold I. During those years that followed, Prince Johann had the ceilings covered with ravishing paintings in the rooms of the piano nobile, that took 7 years and when done contained over 600 paintings. Then Hans Adam Weissenkircher became the court painter at the palace in 1678, and painted the main hall and renown Planetary Room finishing by 1684/5 and the first phase of the accouterments had been finished.  Then, strangely, the male line of the Eggenbergers died out, and the palace became neglected until the last Eggenberger princess, married Johann Leopold Count Herberstein and had a voracious renovation of the palace done. During the years 1754 and 1762, the structure and gardens were continued to be decorated, and this time was done in Rococo, a French style that made the entire room a work of art complete with extravagant furnishings. The paintings in the piano nobile were updated, while the planetary room and all the ceilings stayed the same. Wall decorations, pieces of furniture and stoves were also updated or modernized, with 3 east Asian cabinets imported and the state rooms received new wall coverings. The biggest change done was the demolition of the theater room, which was replaced with a baroque church; all done under the supervision of Joseph Huber, a student of Johann Lukas von Hildebrandt, an Italian trained Austrian architect. The palace is one of the most amazing castles in Europe and the works of art that reside here only enhance the beauty and ornateness of the structure. It is a place that must be visited in Austria, if no other attractions or places are to be seen. The vast amount of exquisite treasures is one of the best in all of Europe.  There are four huge towers that represent the elements of the earth, 24 reception rooms that represent the hours of the day, and there are 365 windows in the palace that represent the days of the year.

  • Euro Collectable Silver and Gold Coins Collection
    The Schloss Eggenberg was honored in 2002, by the Austrian mint, when it was used as a motif on one of its most popular collectors coins in the Euro gold and silver commerative coins. This series included the 10 euro Eggenberg Palace coin, made of silver, being a part of the "Austria and her people" collection. These are called Vienna Philharmonic Coins and are made every year with four different weights, sizes and values. It was created to be used as an investment tool and the World Gold Council said that it is the most widely sold coin in the world during the years 1992, 1995 and 1996; and in 2008 was struck in silver. It is valued in Euros, the European countries money, but can only be used as legal tender in Austria. All of these coins are specially minted for their respective countries, mostly in gold and silver, but other precious metals have been used. Austria was one of the first to mint these new coins after the formation of the union, and this was in January, 2002. The mint makes two kinds of coins, the ones that are for circulation, and the collector's series. The commerative coins are the ones that can be used for legal tender in Austria only, although in today's market place, the material the coins are made of would not hinder anyone from taking them in return for commodities.  These coins are in big demand now with the fluctuations of the world's economy, and the lack of confidence in the banks of the world. The coins are more valuable if melted down, but are kept for safekeeping or investments. The silver coins are being sold faster than they can be made, while the gold coins are just keeping up. They are made with purest metals possible and will last longer than any paper or other coinage today, with such a high demand that it seems almost impossible to be kept up with by the mint.

  • Lurgrotte CaveLurgrotte Cave Graz, Austria
    The Lurgrotte cave is the biggest one in Austria, and is a waterflowing cave, that means that water comes through here and in the past, some spelunkers have been stranded by the flooding that occurs. The cave was first found in 1894, on April 1st, by Max Brunello, an Italian speleologist. His exploration started in the Semriach, since the Peggau entry was blocked by flooded waters; which were stopped by the construction of a drainage canal in 1913. Before that, in 1894, seven cave explorers were trapped because a downpour flooded the cave, and it was 9 days later, with a 1000 people helping that they were rescued. There are two entries, one in Peggau and the other in Semriach, with the Semriach being private since they are both owned by different businesses. In 1935, the cave was crossed by explorers for the first time, taking them 18 hours to complete the approximately 9 mile stretch. For the next twenty years, the cave was excavated and the time it would take to walk the entire length was down to some 3 or 4 hours. Unfortunately, the worst flood in a century destroyed much of the work in 1975. In the country of Austria, there are approximately 10,000 caves, with 4500 of them in Styria, however, only 10 can be visited and viewed at this time. There is about a mile and a half area in the cave today that can be toured, taking an hour or so to complete. All along the path are electric lights, and the constant temperature is 50 degrees Fahrenheit, with a 95% humidity. Tour groups are small in the winter, which is a good time to go since there aren't any rains to worry about, and the temperature and condition of the cave stays the same.

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  • Cult Wagon of Strettweg Cult Wagon of Strettweg Graz, Austria
    The magnificent wagon shown to the right, is made of bronze and was uncovered in a cremation grave in Strettweg, Austria. The grave itself was made in the 7th century and attests to the age and date of creation of this beautiful cult wagon. There are 8 spokes on each of the four wheels, and is considered to be more symbolic that functional since there isn't any room for a person to sit in it. There are bronze figures on the wagon; that look like 12 warriors, four horses and two stags. They seem to be symmetrical with a taller woman standing in the middle with her hands raised holding a large plate. The thought is that this exquisite creation was made by a Greek artisan since the warriors look like the ones from Greece during the Olympia period. It is difficult to interpret the meaning of the wagon and the adornments on it since there is no written reference to it in any writings that have been found. Since the woman is central and bigger than the other figures on the wagon, she is believed to have been a goddess, shaman or person of high social standing, while the stags are considered to be parts of myths. It is all symbolic of something, perhaps pertaining to a ritual or other ceremonial relic of ancient times, when many various items were placed in the graves of people that were important or high ranking in the world at that time, much the way the pharaohs of the Egyptian tombs were. The central figure seems to be wearing a belt or something wrapped around her waist and the rest of the figures are both female and male, naked, with those males that are riding horses wearing hats with shields and spears or lances. Someone put a vase on the top plate suggesting that this may have been part of the ritual, however, no one is certain; and it will remain a mystery forever.

  •  Hanns Schell Collection
    The world's biggest collection of locks and keys, safes, coffers, chests, ornamental boxes and ornate cast iron is found in the Hanns Schell collection in Graz, Austria. Sitting on two floors that cover over 2500 square meters, there are numerous chances to get a hands on experience that shows you how some of the more unusual locks work. They offer guided tours that take a little over an hour or more if you are enthused about these wonderful artifacts, and gives you a fantastic history of the development of this magnificent locking mechanisms. You will find out about the origins of the many chests that are part of this collection, plus ornamental boxes and coffers that have come here to rest from all over the world. The customs and beliefs of the country that the relic comes from is also included in the information given.

Local Restaurants in Graz
  • The Steirer
    The Steirer is a restaurant in Graz, Austria that specializes in authentic Styrian food the way it has been cooked and prepared for centuries. This is an original and favorite spot for locals and tourists alike. The salads and starters offered are; grazer krauthauptel with radishes; Styrian salad is green salad with cabbage, beans and beetles, potatoes in oil marinade; meat strudel soup consommé celestine; beef in Styrian with red onions and potatoes from farmers Murboden; eierschwammerlsulz in reglas with onion vinaigrette; pumpkin soup with mulbratl; beef gulash with polenta; steirerpfandl with mushrooms and herb spaetzle; freshly baked roast pork with sauerkraut, heath and dumplings; chicken paprika steirisches with a spoonful of sour cream and homemade noodles; classical tafelspitz served in copper pan with vegetable soup and your choice of creamed spinach, chive sauce and apple horseradish; wiener schnitzel vom Kalb is baked in a pan with lard, to a mixed salad or parsley and cranberries; fried chicken in the Styrian; roasted filet of arctic char on pumpkin cabbage; baked steirisches kurbisschnitzerl with garlic dip; fine noodles with roasted vegetables.

  • Altsteinsche Schmankemstubn
    Soups offered at this fine Graz eating establishment include; beef broth with pancake strips; creamy garlic soup; beef broth with liver dumplings; creamy pumpkin soup; creamy schilcher wine soup; homemade beef broth with meat strudel. Starters offered; goulash with dumplings; smoked trout filet with horseradish cream and toasted bread; lungs in wine sauce with dumplings; homemade aspic with onions and pumpkin seed oil; cold broiled beef with an onion-vinaigrette and oil; grilled sheep cheese with bacon and green salad; mixed Styrian starters with salad; mixed salad with chicken strips in breadcrumbs; mixed salad with chicken strips; fried pork filet slices in an almond crust with green salad; grilled meat strudel with cabbage salad; turkey strips fried in sesame crust served with lettuce. Vegetarian offerings; homemade potato pockets filled with spinach and curd beside green salad; homemade vegetable burger with a herbal cream sauce; homemade spatzle sprinkled with leek and cheese; Styrian noodles with cabbage; homemade potato loafs served with lettuce; fried slices of polenta overbaken with tomatoes and sheep cheese served with lettuce; lambs lettuce served with warm potatoes; homemade potato strudel served with soured cream dip; mixed salad with pumpkin seed oil; green salad with pumpkin see oil; lambs lettuce served with warm potatoes, roasted bacon and egg. From the Styrian Cuisine; boiled pork with potatoes and root vegetables, sprinkled with fresh horseradish; pork cutlet scalloped with tomatoes, smoked meat and cheese with roast potatoes; dumplings Hunter style with sauerkraut; roast pork served with sauerkraut and bread dumpling; pork fillets with croquettes and creamy mushroom sauce with cranberries; farmer's plate is smoked meat, roast pork, bacon, bread dumplings and sauerkraut; roast pork served with potato noodles and apple cider gravy; roast chicken breast fillets with potatoes, served with creamy horseradish sauce; pork cutlet with rice; turkey escalope cordon bleu with parsley potatoes and cranberries; farmers mix; grilled steak slices with soured cream dip and roasted potatoes; pork cutlet filled with ham and curd with herbs, parsley potatoes and cranberries; boiled beef with pumpkin and roasted potatoes; lasagne Styrian art instead of noodles with pancakes; pork fillets with prunes and creamy wine sauce served with roasted potatoes; pork fillets scalloped with apples and mold cheese an apple cider gravy and roast potatoes; pork fillet slices with a pepper sauce and homemade spatzle.

Goulash soup Steirer Graz, Austria

Pork n Sauerkraut Steirer Graz, Austria


Schmankerlstube Graz, Austria

Schmankerlstube Graz, Austria

Schmankerlstube Graz, Austria

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  • Landeszeughaus Weapons Museum Graz, Austria
    The Landeszeughaus is the world's biggest armoury, still in its original location, and brings in visitors from all over the world. Within its walls are over 32,000 items of tools, weaponry and suits of armor used for battle and other suits for parades. It was originally constructed in 1642 to 1645, by the troylean architect Antonio Solar since the province of Styria was constantly being invaded by the Ottoman Turks, therefore a big armory with huge amounts of weapons and armor was needed for defense of the city. The main defensive perimeter is about a 150 miles south of Graz, in what is now Croatia/Hungary, and it was here that the troops came to stop the Turks.  In the mid 1700s, Empress Maria Theresia, decided she wanted the armoury in Graz closed and all the weapons brought to Vienna, where they could be in a central location. But the estates in Styria wanted the armory in Graz left open since it had been a good hindrance to the Turks and would be a useful symbol of the area's defense of the province and nation alike. During WWII the collections were moved to various castles in the area to be hidden until the end of the war, when they were brought back to Landeszeuhaus. Besides being the biggest armory in the world, it is also the oldest museum in the province and joined with the Landesmuseum Joanneum in 1892.

  • Ruine Gosting
    These old ruins of a formidable castle is known as Ruine Gosting; that was built sometime in the 11th to 15th centuries and was built in such a strategic location, that no advancing army could come into the city of Graz without attacking it and capturing the soldiers within. The Castle Society was formed to stop any further decaying or destruction of the castle in 1925, especially after the fires and neglect of the castle during the 18th and 19th centuries. It sits high atop a ridge, some 655 feet above the Mur River and is very popular with visitors wanting to get a beautiful bird's eye view of the city. It is in the northern part of the city where it was of the utmost importance to Graz's protection for any invading army or marauders. It is said that the mountain biking is wonderful here since there are some fantastic views and hills that make for an exciting ride. In 1723, lightning hit one of the towers, near where the gunpowder was stored and the resulting explosion almost destroyed the whole castle. The castle was abandoned in 1790, and today all that remains are the chapel, remains of some walls and the keep. The keep is one of the best places to see the Graz basin and the hills of East Styria

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  • Landesmuseum JoanneumLandesmuseum Joanneum Graz, Austria
    In November of 1811, the Landesmuseum Joanneum opened a multidisciplinary museum that contained many galleries and collections that pertained to folk culture, geology, zoology, history, art, botany, mineralogy and paleontology. It is one of the oldest museums in the country, as well as being the biggest universal museum in central Europe containing over 4.5 million artifacts in 20 various departments that are found in 13 locations in Styria. Just this past month in September, the name of the museum was officially changed to Universalmuseum Joanneum because of the tremendous growth and status it has obtained over the last two centuries. The Joanneum museum was started by the Archduke Johann of Austria and the corporate headquarters are in Graz, Austria. The building was built in the 17th century and called the Lambrechter Hof, after the initial owner, and when the archduke took control of it in 1811, he installed his personal collection of science curiosities and later it was open to the public. In 1840, he bought the Stainz Castle which had been an Augustine monastery that opened in the estate in 1229. Archduke Johann turned this estate into an agricultural museum that holds farming tools of all shapes, sizes and looks, with a collection of documentary photographs that help to tell the story of these peasants and what their lives were like in those centuries before industrialization overcame it all. The archaeology museum will showcase some 1300 objects in a new building in the Eggenberg estate area that was designed by the BMW architects and it is attached to the Lapidarium, where the Roman stone works collection is located, which was designed by the architects PURPUR and is styled after it. Concrete walls in the subterranean hallway have two aisles that are linked by a number of light shafts coming down from the ceiling and add to the contrast of the valuable exhibits. The relics themselves are shown in Nurglas cases that make a light, floating effect that depicts the fragileness and brilliance of the items shown. The light shafts give visitors a thematic display while scientists continue to discern their highlights so that it all seems like a work in progress type of display. Some of the most prominent objects include the Strettweg Chariot, vessels from the Grossklein and Strettweg graves sites and the Kleinklein mask. These will be joined by the most important find in the Styria region from the Roman period; a silver wine cup or skyphos of Grunau that was bought with money from the fund.

  • Riegersburg
    Sitting atop a volcanic rock, the oldest castle compound in the nation is Riegersburg, that was built in the beginning of the 12th century and was never overpowered or taken by any invading army, especially the Ottoman Turks that continued to attempt its seizure. It has 11 bastions, 7 gate houses and the walls are over 3 meters thick; all set on 15 hectares of land and has been the property of the Lichensteins since 1822. It contains 108 rooms, with two galleries for raptors and one for witches exhibits. The entire first floor contains the 900 year history of the Lichenstein family and the basement is where the witches and wizards exhibit is located.

  • Graz Giants Football TeamGraz Giants Graz, Austria
    Imagine my surprise when looking over the many fantastic things to do in Graz, Austria; when I came across an article about the XXV Austrian Super Bowl between the Graz Giants and the Vienna Vikings. No, folks, these aren't soccer football games, they are real live hard hitting knock em down anyway you can football games with a real live pigskin. Sadly though the Giants lost 22 to 19, but they gave one heck of a try and will be back next year to beat the pants off the Vikings. Their game play is during the summer since the fall and winter is way to difficult to play even for these guys.  Their stats are great, but this is the area that sent us Arnold Schwarzenegger, so you know some of them are going to be monsters.  Totals for the year 2007 had them getting an average score of 27 while their opponents got 23.  First downs got them 144 yards to opponents 125 and the TD rushing got them 12 to their opponents 9.  Their individual stats were also impressive since these guys haven't been playing as long as we have.  The translation is pretty rough going from German to English on the internet, but after much deciphering and rearranging of words, some idea could be gleamed. The league started in 1978, and after only 20 years, these teams are great. The teams never dreamed that the results and the attendance would be so dramatic, but Americans have been playing football for a long, long time. Could a match be in the making some time in the future; or perhaps, a try for the gold medal at the next Olympic games. The Grazer team, the Giants have come a long way themselves and when you are in the vicinity of Graz, Austria, you might just want to check on these guys that may be coming over here to play someday.

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May 09, 2011