Not too big, and not too small: Styrian regional capital Graz in Austria is the perfect mixture of modern, urban flair and Styrian comfort. Where else will you find a mountain, a highly modern island construction, and a ‘Friendly Alien’ in the middle of a city ?
Unique to Graz: Schlossberg and Murinsel
On 260 steps your feet shall land, before you atop the Schlossberg stand! 😉 There are numerous other ways of conquering Schlossberg, the prominent castle-topped hill in the centre of Graz, of course: you can take the Schlossberg funicular railway, the lift, or simply walk up one of the many other small paths. And once you’re up there, you can immediately enjoy the beautiful view across Graz : Schlossberg lies on the banks of the River Mur, and towers 123 metres over Hauptplatz, the city’s main square. Not for nothing is Schlossberg a favourite amongst new young lovers…
On Schlossberg is also where you’ll find the landmark of the City of Graz: the clock tower . The 28-metre-small tower frequently causes confusion amongst visitors: has someone mixed up the hands of the clock ? In fact, the long hand on the face at the top of the clock tower is the hour hand. In former times, it was important for residents to be able to see the hand properly from a great distance – the minute hand was only added later on, so the hour hand was made shorter to distinguish between the two.
Not far from Schlossberg, you can get a feeling for Graz’s next attraction: the Murinsel . The Murinsel is an unusual steel construction , is in the shape of a half-open mussel , and was planned by New York artist Vito Acconci. The open part of the mussel is similar to an arena, and is used to stage events or simply for locals to relax in the sun. You’ll also find a trendy café in the closed part.
Art and pumpkin seed oil
Next to the Murinsel in Graz, there’s another unusual structure: the Kunsthaus . The creators of the Kunsthaus in Graz, Peter Cook and Colin Fournier, also like to refer to it as the “ Friendly Alien” . The Kunsthaus is the new architectural landmark of the City of Graz, and its exhibition programme covers the contemporary art of the past five centuries. The best thing for you to do is to visit the “Friendly Alien” in Graz yourself and come to your own conclusion…
What do Styrians actually use their pumpkin seed oil for? That’s right: their vanilla ice cream! Pumpkin seed oil also tastes great on salad, of course… 😉 and the best oil you’ll find in the city is probably at Kaiser Josef Platz near Bauernmarkt . The market is open from 6.00 a.m. to midday every day apart from Sunday, and offers a vast – and most importantly, fresh – range of real Styrian products.
- Die Scherbe : breakfast at the weekend; very special
- Parkhouse: restaurant and music bar at the middle of Stadtpark; open-air in the summer
- Der Steirer: typically Styrian fare; traditional and unadulterated
- Das Aiola: outstanding cuisine at Schlossberg; chic
You can also find further info about Graz and its tourist attractions by clicking here . In the next redblog story , pianist Simon and animator Michael tell us exactly what life is like as an artist in Graz…