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Graz is the capital of the Austrian province of Styria. Located at an altitude of 353 m above sea-level, the city is about 150km southwest of Vienna and lies in the norther Graz Basin. It is the second largest city in Austria and is home to more than 280,000 people. Graz covers an area of 127.48 km². From the north to the south, the River Mur crosses the city, which includes 17 districts. In the city centre right on the banks of the Mur, Schlossberg Mountain rises 123m high. Kalvarienberg Mountain is the landmark of the north-western district of Lend der Austein. Graz is both University City with more than 45,000 students, and diocesan town of Graz-Seckau.
Graz is uniquely positioned between the Mediterranean, the Alpine and Pannonian climate zone. Due to its position southeast of the Alps, Graz is shielded from the prevailing westerly winds and has, therefore, more than 2100 hours of sun and Mediterranean vegetation. The Schlossberg parks boast flowers and plants which are usually only found in the south of Europe. Average yearly temperature is 18.7°C. July is the hottest month with 18.7°C, January is coldest month of the year with an average temperature of -3.2 °C. .
The average yearly precipitation in Graz is 858 mm. It sees the most rain in July with 124mm, while January is the driest month of the year.
The Old Town of Graz and Eggenberg Castle have been a World Heritage since 1999 and 2010, respectively.
Grazer Schlossberg towers above the historic Old Town. The top of the mountain can be reached via modern panorama gondolas or a glass elevator taking visitors up inside the mountain. On the plateau there are the famous Uhrturm (clock tower), a park and several heritage buildings of the original castle (Kasematten, Bürger- and Stallbastei, Thomas Chapel and Türken Fountain), overlooking the city and the Styrian Hills in the south.
The buildings of “Grazer Stadtkrone” located at the foot of Schlossberg are worth visiting: the gothic cathedral, the imperial mausoleum, Catherine Church, the old Jesuit University and the seat of the Styrian provincial government, Graz Castle with double spiral staircase.
In the Old Town you also find the Main Square with the Town Hall as well as several town houses and mansions. The baroque Herrengasse features the Landhaus - famous for its impressive renaissance atrium , the Landeszeughaus with the biggest collection of arms and armour of the world, the Gemalten Haus (Painted House) with frescoes of the Greek-Roman mythology, and Graz Parish Church.
The Graz Carillion is also very popular: a wooden couple in traditional costume pirouette three times a day up in the gable of the building on Glockenspielplatz Square. The cityscape of Graz is very much shaped by churches of the various epochs.
Along with the Graz inner city, Eggenberg Castle with more than one million visitors per year is the most visited sight in Graz. It is the most important baroque castle complex of Styria and was constructed according to cosmic number symbolism. The four corner towers, for instance, represent the four cardinal directions and the four elements. The public palace garden is one of the few listed gardens in Austria.
The Castle Ruin of Gösting at the northern outskirts of Graz can be reached within a 20-minute climb on foot. The terrace of Burgtarverne offers a fantastic view of the city.
Located in the northwest of the city, Graz Calvary with Via Dolorosa, crucifixion group, several chapels and a church is mainly known among pilgrims.
Among the many museums in Graz, Universalmuseum Joanneum is the oldest and the second largest museum in Austria. The museum has a total of twelve locations including Alte Galerie in Eggenberg Castle, Neue Galerie, two other museums at Joanneumsviertel and Kunsthaus Graz, exhibiting contemporary art of the past 50 years. Also known as the “friendly alien”, it is the new architectural landmark of the city.
Murinsel (Island in the Mur) is a further architectural highlight. This shell-shaped steel construction is connected to the banks of Mur via small bridges and offers its visitors a café, an arena for outdoor events and a children’s play area.
Graz has a long cultural tradition. All over the year there are many events such as: operas, operettas, musicals and concerts at the Graz Opera; classical and modern theatre performances at Schauspielhaus; children’s and youth theatre at “Next Liberty”. Schlossbergbühne Kasematten organises open air concerts as well as numerous summer festivities. Orpheum is famous among the young people for it features local comedians as well as international pop and rock artists. The most inventive location in Graz is probably “Dom im Berg” used for all sorts of events such as concerts, theatre, balls and clubbings.
Graz “The Capital of Delight”: the Styrian capital is renowned for its ever growing culinary offer: many restaurants, cafés, bars and pubs. Taking regional produce as a basis, Graz’s chefs serve traditional as well as imaginative dishes with international accents.
Graz and its parks and gardens are excellent for recreation and fitness activities: Stadtpark – the green island in the centre of the city, the “hanging gardens” of Schlossberg, the romantic Burggarten behind the Graz Castle or Augarten boasting a big green space and children’s play area.
The local recreation areas are Hilmteich Pond and Leechwald Forest. The pond is great for relaxed walks, romantic boat rides in summer or ice skating in winter. Leechwald includes more than 20km of waymarked trails and an adventure and climbing garden.
Hikers and mountain bikers will find well developed trails and paths in the Graz Mountains: Schöckl Mountain, Plabutsch or Platte. Moreover, there are interesting caves and gorges, such as Bärenschützklamm, Kesselfallklamm or Lurgrotte to be discovered.
In summer the people of Graz love to take a dip in their open air swimming pools and swimming lakes.
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