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A recent European Capital of Culture, Graz is also capital of the Styria region. From the 15th century, it was a major bulwark against the Turks and, in the 17th century adopted the Baroque before the rest of the Austrian empire. The city is compact and most important sights are within walking distance of the market square of the Hauptplatz. The Landesmuseum Johanneum, a large complex of museums, is one of the world's oldest, and includes the Alte Galerie with its superb Gothic paintings. The Neue Galerie in the Herbenstrein Palace displays 19th- and 20th-century paintings, including some works by Schiele and Klimt.

Tourist Attractions in Graz

• Schlossberg  

What other city can boast a tree-clad mountain right in its centre - wonderful to wander? The Schlossberg. A castle standing on a rock ledge of this hill more than 1,000 years ago gave the city its name. From the Slavic word gradec, meaning "little castle", Graz derived. And the little castle was made a huge fortress. In 1809 it was blown up by Napoleon. The Bell Tower and the Clock Tower, the friendly landmark of the city, remain.

• The Clock Tower  

Although the clockworks in the tower have struck the hours accurately since 1712. Standing at the romantic landmark of Graz you could be forgetting time. The fortified medieval tower got its present shape around 1560. Three bells are ringing from the Clock Tower. Three coats of arms decorate the walls. People often come here in pairs.

• Kunsthaus Graz  

Something extra-terrestrial in the World Heritage site of Graz ? Like a huge bluish bubble the landmark of new Graz is hovering above the right bank of the river Mur . Since October 2003, Kunsthaus--affectionately called "a friendly alien" by its creators, Peter Cook and Colin Fournier--has attracted people with spectacular architecture and changing exhibitions of contemporary art. Moreover, Kunsthaus is a symbol of the harmonious co-existence of old and new in Graz . After all, it is growing out of the Eisernes Haus which in 1848 caused quite a stir as one of the first cast-iron buildings on the Continent.

• Mur Island  

What was meant to be a temporary project of the Cultural Capital of Europe, Graz 2003, has turned into an attraction - the island in the river Mur . The New York artist Vito Acconci designed a steel grid structure in the shape of a half-opened shell. The island also functions as a bridge between the two banks of the river Mur .

• Landeszeughaus / Armoury  

Incredible 32,000 historical arms and military equipment on five floors. The Landeszeughaus (Provincial Armoury) in Herrengasse is reputed to be the most outstanding historical weapons collection in the world. On the ground floor - an exhibition explaining the historical background. And above it, an impressive arsenal of rifles, armours, staff and bladed weapons dating mainly from the 16th and 17th centuries. And all that in the original building which was erected in the middle of the 17th century to serve as an armoury for the Styrian estates. Especially in their fight against the Ottoman Turks.

• The Opera House  

Second largest opera house in Austria . Springboard for music careers. "Opera House of the Year" in 2001. Remarkable attributes for the theatre on the ring road. It was erected in 1899 by the architects Fellner and Helmer, who planned buildings all over Europe . A fascinating contrast to the neo-Baroque building is the steel sculpture "light sword" by Hartmut Skerbisch (1992). In the Human Rights City of Graz it is a symbol of open-mindedness and tolerance.

• The Mausoleum  

Green domes, golden caps, monumental statues above the façade - the ensemble of Mausoleum and St. Catherine's Church bears witness to imperial greatness. After all, it is the final resting place of an emperor. It was Emperor Ferdinand II who - still prince of Inner Austria and residing in Graz then - erected the most important Hapsburg tomb, in terms of art. Giovanni Pietro de Pomis, Ferdinand's Italian court painter, was entrusted with the planning. The often praised Italian atmosphere of Graz especially manifests itself in the architecture of the Mausoleum.

• The Burg  

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.

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