Graz (/ɡrɑːts/ GRAHTS, German: [ɡʁaːts] (listen); Slovene: Gradec) is the capital of the Austrian province Styria and the second-largest city in Austria after Vienna. On 1 January 2019, it had a population of 328,276 (292,269 of whom had principal residence status). In 2015, the population of the Graz larger urban zone who had principal residence status stood at 633,168. Graz has a long tradition as seat of universities: its six universities have almost 60,000 students. Its historic centre is one of the best-preserved city centres in Central Europe.
For centuries, Graz was more important to Slovenes and Croats, both politically and culturally, than the capitals of Ljubljana, Slovenia and Zagreb, Croatia; it remains influential to this day. In 1999, Graz's historic centre was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites and in 2010, the site was extended with Eggenberg Palace (German: Schloss Eggenberg). Graz was the Cultural Capital of Europe in 2003 and became a City of Culinary Delights in 2008.
The name of the city, Graz, formerly spelled Gratz, most likely stems from the Slavic gradec, "small castle". Some archaeological finds point to the erection of a small castle by Alpine Slavic people, which over time became a heavily defended fortification. In literary Slovene and Croatian, gradec still means "small castle", forming a hypocoristic derivative of Proto-West-South Slavic gradьcъ, whichs descends via liquid metathesis from Common Slavic gardьcъ and via the Slavic third palatalisation from Proto-Slavic gardiku, originally denoting "small town, settlement". The name thus follows the common South Slavic pattern for naming settlements as grad. The German name 'Graz' first appears in records in 1128.
Graz is situated on the Mur river in southeast Austria. It is about 200 km (120 mi) southwest of Vienna. The nearest larger urban centre is Maribor in Slovenia which is about 50 km (31 mi) away. Graz is the capital and largest city in Styria, a green and heavily forested area.
These towns and villages border Graz:
- to the north: Gratkorn, Stattegg, Weinitzen
- to the east: Kainbach bei Graz, Hart bei Graz, Raaba
- to the south: Gössendorf, Feldkirchen bei Graz, Seiersberg
- to the west: Attendorf, Thal, Judendorf-Straßengel
Graz is divided into 17 districts:
The oldest settlement on the ground of the modern city of Graz dates back to the Copper Age. However, no historical continuity exists of a settlement before the Middle Ages.
During the 12th century, dukes under Babenberg rule made the town into an important commercial center. Later, Graz came under the rule of the Habsburgs and, in 1281, gained special privileges from King Rudolph I.
In the 14th century, Graz became the city of residence of the Inner Austrian line of the Habsburgs. The royalty lived in the Schlossberg castle and from there ruled Styria, Carinthia, most of today's Slovenia, and parts of Italy (Carniola, Gorizia and Gradisca, Trieste).
In the 16th century, the city's design and planning were primarily controlled by Italian Renaissance architects and artists. One of the most famous buildings built in this style is the Landhaus, designed by Domenico dell'Allio, and used by the local rulers as a governmental headquarters.
Karl-Franzens-Universität, also called the University of Graz, is the city's oldest university, founded in 1585 by Archduke Karl II. For most of its existence, it was controlled by the Catholic church, and was closed in 1782 by Joseph II in an attempt to gain state control over educational institutions. Joseph II transformed it into a lyceum where civil servants and medical personnel were trained. In 1827 it was re-instituted as a university by Emperor Franz I, thus gaining the name 'Karl-Franzens Universität,' meaning 'Charles-Francis University.' Over 30,000 students currently study at this university.
The astronomer Johannes Kepler lived in Graz for a short period. There, he worked as a math teacher and was a professor of mathematics at the University of Graz, but still found time to study astronomy. He left Graz to go to Prague when Lutherans were banned from the city.
Ludwig Boltzmann was Professor for Mathematical Physics from 1869 to 1890. During that time, Nikola Tesla studied electrical engineering at the Polytechnic in 1875. Nobel Laureate Otto Loewi taught at the University of Graz from 1909 until 1938. Ivo Andric, the 1961 Nobel Prize for Literature Laureate obtained his doctorate at the University of Graz. Erwin Schrödinger was briefly chancellor of the University of Graz in 1936.
Graz lies in Styria, or Steiermark in German. Mark is an old German word indicating a large area of land used as a defensive border, in which the peasantry is taught how to organize and fight in the case of an invasion. With a strategic location at the head of the open and fertile Mur valley, Graz was often assaulted (unsuccessfully), e.g. by the Hungarians under Matthias Corvinus in 1481, and by the Ottoman Turks in 1529 and 1532. Apart from the Riegersburg Castle, the Schlossberg was the only fortification in the region that never fell to the Ottoman Turks. Graz is home to the region's provincial armory, which is the world's largest historical collection of late medieval and Renaissance weaponry. It has been preserved since 1551, and displays over 30,000 items.
From the earlier part of the 15th century, Graz was the residence of the younger branch of the Habsburgs, which succeeded to the imperial throne in 1619 in the person of Emperor Ferdinand II, who moved the capital to Vienna. New fortifications were built on the Schlossberg at the end of the 16th century. Napoleon's army occupied Graz in 1797. In 1809, the city withstood another assault by the French army. During this attack, the commanding officer in the fortress was ordered to defend it with about 900 men against Napoleon's army of about 3,000. He successfully defended the Schlossberg against eight attacks, but they were forced to give up after the Grande Armée occupied Vienna and the Emperor ordered to surrender. Following the defeat of Austria by Napoleonic forces at the Battle of Wagram in 1809, the fortifications were demolished using explosives, as stipulated in the Peace of Schönbrunn of the same year. The belltower and the civic clock tower, often used as the symbol of Graz, were spared after the people of Graz paid a ransom for their preservation.
Archduke Karl II of Inner Austria had 20,000 Protestant books burned in the square of what is now a mental hospital, and succeeded in returning Styria to the authority of the Holy See. Archduke Franz Ferdinand was born in Graz, in what is now the Stadtmuseum (city museum).
The more recent population figures do not give the whole picture as only people with principal residence status are counted and people with secondary residence status are not. Most of the people with secondary residence status in Graz are students. At the end of 2016 there were 33,473 people with secondary residence status in Graz.
Oceanic climate is the type found in the city, but due to the 0 °C isotherm, the same occurs in a humid continental climate with based in Köppen system (Cfb/Dfb borderline). Wladimir Köppen himself was in town and conducted studies to see how the climate of the past influenced the Continental Drift theory. Due to its position southeast of the Alps, Graz is shielded from the prevailing westerly winds that bring weather fronts in from the North Atlantic to northwestern and central Europe. The weather in Graz is thus influenced by the Mediterranean, and it has more hours of sunshine per year than Vienna or Salzburg and also less wind or rain. Graz lies in a basin that is only open to the south, causing the climate to be warmer than would be expected at that latitude. Plants are found in Graz that normally grow much further south.
- average temperatures: Graz Airport 8.7 °C (48 °F) / Karl-Franzens University 9.4 °C (49 °F)
- average rainfall: 818 mm (32 in) with on average 92 days of rain (Karl Franzens University)
- average hours of sunshine: 1,989 (Karl Franzens University)
Slovenes and Graz
Politically, culturally, scientifically and religiously, Graz was an important centre for all Slovenes, especially from the establishment of the University of Graz in 1586 until the establishment of University of Ljubljana in 1919. In 1574, the first Slovene Catholic book was published in Graz, and in 1592, Hieronymus Megiser published in Graz the book Dictionarium quatuor linguarum, the first multilingual dictionary of Slovene.
The Styrian Slovenes did not consider Graz a German city, but their own, a place to study while living at their relatives' homes and to fulfill one's career ambitions. The student associations in Graz were a crucible of the Slovene identity, and the Slovene students in Graz were more nationally aware than some others. This led to fierce anti-Slovene efforts of German nationalists in Graz before and during World War II.
Many Slovenian Styrians study there. Slovenes are among the professors at the Institute for Jazz in Graz. Numerous Slovenes have found employment there, while being formerly unemployed in Slovenia. For the Slovene culture, Graz remains permanently important due to its university and the Universalmuseum Joanneum archives containing numerous documents from the Slovenian Styria.
A symposium on the relation of Graz and the Slovenes was held in Graz in 2010, at the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the establishment of the first and oldest chair of Slovene. It was established at the Lyzeum of Graz in July 1811 on the initiative of Janez Nepomuk Primic. A collection of lectures on the topic was published. The Slovenian Post commemorated the anniversary with a stamp.
For the year that Graz was Cultural Capital of Europe, new structures were erected. The Graz Museum of Contemporary Art (German: Kunsthaus) was designed by Peter Cook and Colin Fournier and is situated next to the Mur river. The Island in the Mur is a floating platform made of steel. It was designed by American architect Vito Acconci and contains a café, an open-air theatre and a playground.
The historic centre was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1999 due to the harmonious co-existence of typical buildings from different epochs and in different architectural styles. Situated in a cultural borderland between Central Europe, Italy and the Balkan States, Graz absorbed various influences from the neighbouring regions and thus received its exceptional townscape. Today the old town consists of over 1000 buildings, their age ranging from Gothic to contemporary.
The most important sights in the historic centre are:
- Town Hall (Rathaus).
- The Schlossberg hill, a hill dominating the historic centre (475 m (1,558.40 ft) high), site of a demolished fortress, with views over Graz.
- The Clock Tower (Uhrturm) is a symbol of Graz, at the top of the Schlossberg hill.
- The New Gallery (Neue Galerie), a museum of art.
- The Schlossberg hill funicular (Schlossbergbahn), a funicular railway up the Schlossberg hill.
- The seat of Styria's provincial parliament (Landhaus), a palace in Lombardic style. It is one of the most important examples of Renaissance architecture in Austria and was built by Italian architect Domenico dell'Allio between 1557 and 1565.
- The Armoury (Landeszeughaus) is the largest of its kind in the world.
- The Graz Opera House (Opernhaus), the principal venue for opera, ballet, and operetta performances. It is the 2nd largest opera house in Austria.
- The Graz Theatre (Schauspielhaus), Graz's principal theatre for productions of plays.
- The Cathedral (Dom), a rare monument of Gothic architecture. Once, there were many frescos on the outer walls; today, only a few remain, like the Landplagenbild ("picture of plagues") painted in 1485, presumably by Thomas von Villach. The three plagues it depicts are locusts, pestilence and the invasion of the Turks, all of them striking the town in 1480. It features the oldest painted view of Graz.
- The mausoleum of Emperor Ferdinand II next to the cathedral, the most important building of Mannerism in Graz. It includes both the grave where Ferdinand II and his wife are buried, and a church dedicated to St Catherine of Alexandria.
- The Castle (Burg), with Gothic double staircase, built between 1438 and 1453 by Emperor Frederick III, because the old castle on the Schlossberg hill was too small and uncomfortable. The castle remained the residence of the Inner Austrian Court until 1619. Today, it serves as residence for the Styrian government.
- The Painted House (Gemaltes Haus) in Herrengasse 3. It is completely covered with frescos (painted in 1742 by Johann Mayer).
- The Museum of Contemporary Art Graz (Kunsthaus)
- The Island in the Mur (Murinsel), an artificial island in the Mur river.
- Buildings, inner courtyards (e. g. Early Renaissance courtyard of the Former House of Teutonic Knights in Sporgasse 22) and roofscape of the old town.
- Eggenberg Palace (Schloss Eggenberg) a baroque palace on the western edge of Graz with State rooms and museum. In 2010 it was added to the existing World Heritage site of the historic centre of Graz.
- The Mariatrost Basilica (Basilika Mariatrost) a late Baroque church, on the eastern edge of Graz.
- The Jesus's Heart Church (Herz-Jesu-Kirche) is the largest church in Graz with the third highest spire in Austria, built in Gothic Revival style.
- The Calvary Hill (Kalvarienberg) in the Gösting area of Graz with a 17th-century calvary and church.
- The Graz University Hospital is the largest hospital in Graz and one of the largest hospitals in Austria. It's the largest Jugendstil building complex in Austria and was built between 1904 and 1912. It's run by the province Styria and is one of the most renowned hospitals in Austria and Central Europe.
- Best viewpoints for vistas of the city are the Gösting Ruin (Ruine Gösting), a ruin of a hilltop castle on the city's northwestern edge, and Plabutsch/Fürstenstand, behind Eggenberg Palace, with a hilltop restaurant and viewing tower.
- Österreichisches Freilichtmuseum Stübing, an open-air museum containing old farmhouses/farm buildings from all over Austria reassembled in historic setting.
- Lurgrotte, the most extensive cave system in Austria.
- Lipizzanergestüt Piber, Lipizzaner stud at Piber where the famous horses are bred.
- The Steirische Weinstraße is a wine-growing region south of Graz, also known as the "Styrian Tuscany".
- Thermenregion, spa region east of Graz.
- Riegersburg Castle, a mighty fortress that was never taken. It was a bastion against Turkish invasions
The most important museums in Graz are:
- Schloss Eggenberg with Alte Galerie (paintings and sculptures from the Romanesque to the end of the Baroque period), Coin Collection, Lapidarium (Roman stonework collection),Archeological Museum (featuring the Cult Wagon of Strettweg) a special exhibitions area and the 90,000 m2 romantic landscape gardens.
- Museum im Palais: museum of Styrian cultural history from the Middle Ages to the present.
- Neue Galerie: visual arts from the 19th and 20th centuries.
- Natural History Museum: exhibition of botany, mineralogy and zoology.
- Stadtmuseum Graz: city museum.
- Kunsthaus: exhibition hall of contemporary art.
- Forum Stadtpark: museum of contemporary art.
- Camera Austria: museum of contemporary photography.
- Landeszeughaus: medieval armory comprising 32,000 pieces of armour and weaponry, largest of its kind in the world.
- Volkskundemuseum: museum of folk culture and lore.
- Diözesanmuseum: museum of the Roman Catholic Church.
- Künstlerhaus: exhibition hall of contemporary visual arts.
- Literaturhaus: museum of contemporary German literature.
- Museum der Wahrnehmung: museum of the senses, samadhi bath.
- Kindermuseum Frida&Fred: museum for children.
- Tramway Museum: 40 historic trams, the oldest dating from 1873.
- Kriminalmuseum: museum of criminology.
- Luftfahrtmuseum: (Graz airport) aviation museum.
- Hanns Schell Collection: key and lock museum, largest of its kind in the world.
- Austrian Sculpture Park: seven hectares of contemporary sculpture.
- Botanical Garden of Graz: three architecturally interesting glass houses plus gardens.
The Old Town and the adjacent districts are characterized by the historic residential buildings and churches found there. In the outer districts buildings are predominantly of the architectural styles from the second half of the 20th century.
In 1965 the Grazer Schule (School of Graz) was founded. Several buildings around the universities are of this style, for example the green houses by Volker Giencke and the RESOWI center by Günther Domenig.
Before Graz became the European Capital of Culture in 2003, several new projects were realized, such as the Stadthalle, the Kindermuseum (museum for children), the Helmut-List-Halle, the Kunsthaus and the Murinsel.
- Tallest buildings
Buildings in Graz which are at least 50m tall:
SK Sturm Graz is the main football club of the city, with three Austrian championships and five runner-up seasons. The Grazer AK also won an Austrian championship, but went into administration in 2007 and was excluded from the professional league system.
The Graz Giants play in the Austrian Football League (American Football).
The city were bid the 2002 Winter Olympics in 1995, but lost election to Salt Lake City. Nowadays there is plan to bid 2026 Winter Olympics with some venues in Bavaria, Germany to cut costs with using existing venues around national borders. It's still facing referendum, meaning usually the end for many former olympic bids in Europe and North America since 1970 -century.
Graz hosts the annual festival of classical music Styriarte, founded in 1985 to tie conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt closer to his hometown. Events have been held at different venues in Graz and in the surrounding region.
An extensive public transport network makes Graz an easy city to navigate without a car. The city has a comprehensive bus network, complementing the Graz tram network consisting of eight lines. Four lines pass through the underground tram stop at the central railway station (Hauptbahnhof) and on to the city centre before branching out. Furthermore, there are seven night-time bus routes, although these run only at weekends and on evenings preceding public holidays.
From the central railway station (Hauptbahnhof), regional trains link to most of Styria. Direct trains run to most major cities nearby including Vienna, Salzburg, Innsbruck, Maribor and Ljubljana in Slovenia, Zagreb in Croatia, Budapest in Hungary, Prague and Brno in the Czech Republic, Zürich in Switzerland, as well as Munich, Stuttgart, Heidelberg, and Frankfurt in Germany. Trains for Vienna leave every hour. In recent years many railway stations within the city limits and in the suburbs have been rebuilt or modernised and are now part of the "S-Bahn Graz", a commuter train service connecting the city with its suburban area and towns nearby.
Graz airport is located about 10 km (6 mi) south of the city centre and is accessible by bus, railway, and car. Direct destinations include Amsterdam, Berlin, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Munich, Stuttgart, Istanbul, Vienna and Zurich.
In Graz there are seven hospitals, several private hospitals and sanatoriums, as well as 44 pharmacies.
The University Hospital Graz (LKH-Universitäts-Klinikum Graz) is located in eastern Graz and has 1,556 beds and 7,190 employees. The Regional Hospital Graz II (LKH Graz II) has two sites in Graz. The western site (LKH Graz II Standort West) is located in Eggenberg and has 280 beds and about 500 employees, the southern site (LKH Graz II Standort Süd) specializes in neurology and psychiatry and is located in Straßgang with 880 beds and 1,100 employees. The AUVA Accident Hospital (Unfallkrankenhaus der AUVA) is in Eggenberg and has 180 beds and a total of 444 employees.
The Albert Schweitzer Clinic in the western part of the city is a geriatric hospital with 304 beds, the Hospital of St. John of God (Krankenhaus der Barmherzigen Brüder) has two sites in Graz, one in Lend with 225 beds and one in Eggenberg with 260 beds. The Hospital of the Order of Saint Elizabeth (Krankenhaus der Elisabethinen) in Gries has 182 beds.
There are several private clinics as well: the Privatklinik Kastanienhof, the Privatklinik Leech, the Privatklinik der Kreuzschwestern, the Sanatorium St. Leonhard, the Sanatorium Hansa and the Privatklinik Graz-Ragnitz.
EMS in Graz is provided solely by the Austrian Red Cross. Perpetually two emergency doctor's cars (NEF – Notarzteinsatzfahrzeug), two NAWs (Notarztwagen – ambulances staffed with a doctor in addition to regular personnel) and about 30 RTWs (Rettungswagen – regular ambulances) are on standby. Furthermore, several non-emergency ambulances (KTW – Krankentransportwagen) and a Mobile Intensive Care Unit (MICU) are operated by the Red Cross to transport non-emergency patients to and between hospitals. In addition to the Red Cross, the Labourers'-Samaritan-Alliance (Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund Österreichs), the Austrian organisation of the Order of Malta Ambulance Corps (Malteser Hospitaldienst Austria) and the Green Cross (Grünes Kreuz) operate ambulances (KTW) for non-emergency patient transport. In addition to the cars, there's also the C12 air ambulance helicopter stationed at Graz airport, staffed with an emergency physician in addition to regular personnel.
- Montclair, New Jersey, United States, since 1950
- Coventry, England, United Kingdom, since 1957
- Groningen, Netherlands, since 1964
- Darmstadt, Germany, since 1968
- Trondheim, Norway, since 1968
- Pula, Croatia, since 1972
- Trieste, Italy, since 1973
- Timişoara, Romania, since 1982
- Maribor, Slovenia, since 1987
- Pécs, Hungary, since 1989
- Dubrovnik, Croatia, since 1994
- Ljubljana, Slovenia, since 2001
- Saint Petersburg, Russia, since 2001
The following are past and present notable residents of Graz.
- Anne of Austria, Queen of Poland and Sweden
- Wolfgang Bauer, Austrian writer
- Rainer Binder-Krieglstein, contemporary musician
- Karl Böhm, Austrian conductor
- Ludwig Boltzmann, Austrian physicist, Professor of Mathematical Physics at the University of Graz (1869), chair of Experimental Physics at the University of Graz (1876–1890)
- Bernd Brückler, professional ice hockey player
- Constance of Austria, Queen of Poland
- Hans Dobida
- Elisabeth Eberl, Olympic javelin thrower
- Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, Archduke of Austria-Este and heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne
- Michael Gspurning, current goalkeeper for FC Schalke 04 II
- Gregor Hammerl, President of the Federal Council of Austria
- Nicolaus Harnoncourt, born in Berlin and raised in Graz, conductor known for performances of classical works on period instruments
- Victor Franz Hess, Nobel prize-winning physicist
- Manfred Hoeberl, powerlifter and strongman
- Hans Hollmann, theatre director and actor
- Johannes Kepler, was a mathematics teacher at a seminary school in Graz
- Helmut Kollars, writer and illustrator
- Otto Loewi Nobel prize-winning physiologist
- Helmut Marko, former racing driver
- Marisa Mell (1939–1992) actress born and raised in Graz
- August Meyszner (1886–1947), Austrian SS officer executed for war crimes
- August Musger, inventor of slow motion technique in cinema
- Olga Neuwirth, contemporary Austrian composer
- Lili Novy, Slovenian poet
- Emanuel Pogatetz, defender at 1. FC Nürnberg
- Johann Puch, Slovenian inventor, mechanic and vehicle producer
- Adam Rainer, only documented person in history to have been both one of the shortest and one of tallest people.
- Jochen Rindt, first Austrian Formula One champion raised in Graz by his grandmother
- Anton Rintelen, cabinet minister and Nazi conspirator
- Eduard Roschmann (1908–1977), Austrian Nazi SS Riga ghetto commandant
- Hermann Schloffer, surgeon
- Gert Schnider, Abalone-champion
- Markus Schopp, former football midfielder
- Erwin Schrödinger, briefly chancellor of the University of Graz in 1936
- Werner Schwab, playwright and visual artist
- Arnold Schwarzenegger, former bodybuilding champion, actor and former governor of California. Born and raised in farming village Thal, 2 km (1 mi) from Graz.
- Friedrich St. Florian, Austrian-American architect
- Robert Stolz, Austrian composer and conductor
- Thomas Tebbich, decathlete and pole vaulter
- Nikola Tesla, studied electrical engineering in Graz
- Hertha Töpper, contralto, born in Graz
- Thomas Vanek, professional hockey player, born in Baden bei Wien, raised in Graz
- Hans Ulrich von Eggenberg, Austrian statesman and early "prime minister" during the Thirty Years' War
- Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach, architect of the Baroque period
- Ernestine von Kirchsberg, painter
- Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, writer and journalist, studied in Graz; the term masochism is derived from his name
- Baron Roman Ungern von Sternberg, prominent figure in the Russian White movement and dictator of Mongolia in 1921
- Otto Wanz, former professional wrestler who held AWA World Heavyweight Championship
- Walter Wolf, business person
- Theresa Vogrin Published Poet and illustrator. With notable instagram following. Her debut collection entitled Bitter Sweet was published in 2018. Overheard at Whole foods and Overheard at Waitrose are two other titles she has brought to publication.
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