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Graz: Renaissance and Baroque city

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The city of Graz is located in an area of low hills, along the banks of the Mur river not far from the border with Slovenia and Hungary. Graz is the capital of Styria and the second largest urban center in Austria by number of inhabitants.

The area where Graz stands was heavily inhabited during the Roman Empire. In fact, in the imperial era, where the city is today there was a small fortified center. Later, in the sixth century the Avars, a Slavic population, built a castle there, which in the Slavic language was called Gradec, hence the current name of the city. Its geographical position made it a crucial hub for trade between the Danube area, the Balkans and the Adriatic.

In the 13th century the village received city rights and from the 14th century it became the residence of a branch of the Habsburgs, the Leopoldian, who ruled Inner Austria (Styria, Carinthia, Carniola, Istria, Friuli and Trieste), the Tyrol and the Anterior Austria (i.e. the possessions of the Habsburgs in southwestern Germany (Swabia), Alsace and Vorarlberg).


The city was the seat of a university since 1586. Then during the 16th century Graz developed Renaissance features in its architecture thanks to the work of numerous architects and artists from Italy. This aspect, combined with the Baroque-style buildings that were built later, makes the historic center of Graz a harmonious ensemble of buildings from different eras and different architectural styles ranging from Gothic to modern.

Due to the wealth of prestigious buildings in the city, the entire historic center of Graz was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999. Subsequently, in 2010, Schloss Eggenberg was also included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

This post is also available in: Italiano

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