Schloss Eggenberg is without doubt the most beautiful palace in Graz. It dates back to the year 1623 and the architect had a certain concept for the construction : The 4 seasons of the year are symbolized by the 4 towers, 12 gates were built because of the 12 months of the year and all over the palace of Eggenberg you may count 365 windows.
The architect was Pietro de Pomis, a pupil of Palladio.The interior of the palace is really wonderful with precious stucco-works, frescos, paintings and chandeliers.
A visit in Eggenburg is a Must, including the guided tour,
that will be held daily except mondays at
10.00 + 11.00 +12.00p.m. & 02.00 + 03.00 + 04.00p.m.
Glockenspielplatz is situated in the old centre of town, and since more than 100 years the top windows of that little tower will open three times the day and you may watch a dancing couple in traditional austrian costumes dancing to the music of the chimes... The rest of the day, the gates are closed like you may see it at my last 2 pics !
The chimes / Glockenspiel is one of the highlights in Graz and you may see busloads of people waiting there at certain times - so make sure, you get there some time before the "show" will start !
There are 3 performances every day :
at 11.00 a.m. + 03.00 p.m. + 06.00 p.m.
each performance takes about 5 minutes !
BUT when you have seen the 1st minute, you have seen it all....
On Rathausplatz you will see the lovely Rathaus (townhall) - have a closer look for the great fassade with so plenty of small balconies and many great sculptures.
The Rathaus will also be perfectely lighted at night !
In front of the Rathaus you will find the Hauptplatz (the main-square of Graz) with the monument for Erzherzog Johann - it is a great place to sit on the steps of the monument and relax a bit, when exploring the city of Graz. Next to the monument you will see plenty of small food-stands with a large variety of food and drinks.
The Grazer Uhrturm (belfry) is certainly the most famous sight of Graz and you may see it from many places all over the city. A few years ago there was a 2nd black tower next to it, symbolizing the shadow of the tower, but it was removed again (some pages on VT have pics of that shadow)
At first the Uhrturm was part of the fortification and got it's characteristic clock and the wooden balconies not before the year 1712.
When you click on my picture you may see a small bell as well - it dates back to the year 1382.
you may not enter the tower - but there is a great terrace around it and on a sunny day plenty of people have a walk up there simply in order to relax and enjoy the view. You will NOT hear any noises at all from the busy town beneath !!
The Opera of Graz was built by the famous Viennese architects Helmer & Fellner (who are also well known for many buildings along the Wiener Ringstrasse like the Burgtheater, Votivkirche,Oper etc.)
The opera of Graz is close to Jakominiplatz, just about 300 meters outside the historic centre, surrounded by a nice park and next to it you may see a giant modern sculpture :
"Lichtschwert" is the name of it (sword of light). Behind the opera you will find the so-called Kaiser-Josef-Markt, a market with local culinary delights, from Monday till Friday .
The opera is beautifully lighted at night !
Der Dom, the cathedral of Graz looks rather like the church of a small village from outside, BUT it is really worth to go inside and you will be surprised by the many unique works of art there.
You may enter the Dom freely and withourt restrictions during the day, photography is no problem inside the cathedral !
Take your time to see all of the lovely details of the great baroque architecture.When you click on my last picture you may see a fresco showing holy Christopherus, who has the face of the emperor Friedrich III.
In Herrengasse,( the main shopping-street in Graz), you will see this building : the famous " Landhaus " It was built for the administration of the county Steiermark / Styria - and it was built in the special Renaissance-style that was already influenced a lot by the italian architecture.
The most beautiful part of Landhaus is not that great fassade, but the inner-court - look for the balconies - the entrance to the inner-court is just below the balcony.
You may enter the building and the court freely and without restrictions during the day.
Sporgasse Nr.3 might be another highlight for all fans of great Jugendstil / Art-Nouveau-facades. Opposite of this building you will find 2 lovely garden-cafes facing this facade !
Sporgasse is a small street going up the hill from Rathausplatz - this house is on the left just a few steps from Rathausplatz - and as the street is rather narrow there, you may easily miss it...
A tip for photographers : when you come in the afternoon, you might have the sun shining directely on the golden ornaments !
Also at night this facade is really perfectely lighted !
Luegghaus is the name of this beautiful building at Hauptplatz, at the corner to Sporgasse.
"Lueg ums Eck" is an ancient way to say in german :"look around the corner" and it is a good name for a building at such an important place. The best time to take photographs of the building is in the afternoon and even better at night, when the flood-light is shining on the facade and you will see all of the various decorations and stucco-works much better than during the day.
The Grazer Landhaus with these great arcades reminds me a lot of the great italian architecture of the Renaissance.
You may enter this innercourt during the day freely and without restrictions - no admission charge - maybe they close the gates at night - but during the day you may walk there freely !
Unfortunately all of stairs going to the top of the arcades will be locked - but I found a great place to take a pic of the whole innercourt, from the 4th floor of the " Landeszeughaus " !
Graz has grown and educated quite some important modern architects (unfortunately they did not build too much in Graz itself) and also attracted modern architects from elsewhere. Some interesting things were built for the "European Cultural Capital" which was Graz a few years ago. The most spectacular buildings are the Kunsthaus and the Murinsel (among some others, among them the Marienlift which apparently will be removed soon.
The original university in Graz was founded in 1585 by Archduke Karl — and then "refounded" in 1827 by Emperor Franz. That's how it came to be called the Karl-Franzens University. The Technical University had its origins in the Joanneum and achieved full University status around 1900. The new University of Music and Performing Arts was established 1998, but its roots go back almost 200 years...its Jazz Faculty is the only one of its kind in Europe, and places in it are highly sought after. There are around 40,000 students in Graz, and you'll find many of them out at the usual nightlife spots.
Although it was a regular working day in Austria, Graz had several live projects/performances going on. The most helpful lady at the Info center pointed out to several performances of interest, but they were all taking place outside of our planned route for the day.
We stumbled upon this sth at the main square. I have no idea what exactly was going on, but it did attract a decent crowd.
This cute kid was obviously much better informed than me - he seemed to know what exactly should be done! The only problem was that he lacked some skills and strenght... and as a consequence the first hit did not end at the head of the nail... That must have hurt, believe me, but he shed no tears!
After a brief instruction from one of the performers, he decided to give it another try... Wish we had more time to see how he progressed, but lol it was time to move on and discover the rest of Graz.
Despite Croatian invasion and the fact it was a working day, we easily found parking close to Kunsthaus, which is already very close to the center (at walking distance).
Our next concern was to find Mariahilferplatz because that's where Graz 2003 Info Center was housed.
I would like to pause here for a minute and say something about people working at the Info Center and people of Austria in general - they're tremendously nice and helpful . To quote famous VT personality Sabsi "Damn, I hate how nice they are!" (Innsbruck, Jan 2003).
I regret not having taken picture of the Info Center as it's a very interesting building painted in blue and green, the colors of the culture project (hence my blue and green tips).
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