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Graz

GRAZ [GRATZ], the capital of the Austrian duchy and crownland of Styria, 140 m. S.W. of Vienna by rail. Pop. (1900) 138,370. It is picturesquely situated on both banks of the Mur, just where this river enters a broad and fertile valley, and the beauty of its position has given rise to the punning French description, La Ville des grdces sur la riviere de I' amour. The main town lies on the left bank of the river at the foot of the Schlossberg (1545 ft.) which dominates the town. The beautiful valley traversed by the Mur, known as the Grazer Feld and bounded by the Wildonerberge, extends to the south; to the S.W. rise the Bacher Gebirge and the Koralpen; to the N. the Schockel (4745 ft.), and to the N.W. the Alps of Upper Styria. On the Schlossbcrg, which can be ascended by a cable tramway, beautiful parks have been laid out, and on its top is the bell-tower, 60 ft. high, and the quaint clock-tower, 52 ft. high, which bears a gigantic clock-dial. At the foot of the Schlossberg is the StadtPark.

Among the numerous churches of the city the most important is the cathedral of St Aegidius, a Gothic building erected by the emperor Frederick III. in 1450-1462 on the site of a previous church mentioned as early as 1157. It has been several times modified and redecorated, more particularly in 1718. The present copper spire dates from 1663. The interior is richly adorned with stained-glass windows of modern date, costly shrines, paintings and tombs. In the immediate neighbourhood of the cathedral is the mausoleum church erected by the emperor Ferdinand II. Worthy of mention also are the parish church, a Late Gothic building, finished in 1520, and restored in 1875, which possesses an altar piece by Tintoretto; the Augustinian church, appropriated to the service of the university since 1827; the small Leech Kirche, an interesting building in Early Gothic style, dating from the 13th century, and the Herz Jesu-Kirche, a building in Early Gothic style, finished in 1891, with a tower 360 ft. high. Of the secular buildings the most important is the Landhaus, where the local diet holds its sittings, erected in the 16th century in the Renaissance style. It possesses an interesting portal and a beautiful arcaded court, and amongst the curiosities preserved here is the Styrian hat. In its neighbourhood is the Zeughaus or arsenal, built in 1644, which contains a very rich collection of weapons of the isth-17th centuries, and which is maintained exactly in the same condition as it was 250 years ago. The town hall, built in 1807, and rebuilt in 1892 in the German Renaissance style, and the imperial castle, dating from the 11th century, now used as government offices, are also worth notice.

At the head of the educational institutions is the university founded in 1586 by the Austrian archduke Charles Francis, and restored in 1817 after an interruption of 45 years. It is now housed 'in a magnificent building, finished in 1895, and is endowed with numerous scientific laboratories and a rich library. It had in 1901 a teaching staff of 161 professors and lecturers, and 1652 students, including many Italians from the Kiistenland and Dalmatia. The Joanneum Museum, founded in 1811 by the archduke John Baptist, has become very rich in many departments, and an additional huge building in the rococo style was erected in 1895 for its accommodation. The technical college, founded in 1814 by the archduke John Baptist, had in 1901 about 400 pupils.

An active trade, fostered by abundant railway communications, is combined with manufactures of iron and steel wares, paper, chemicals, vinegar, physical and optical instruments, besides artistic printing and lithography. The extensive workshops of the Southern railway are at Graz, and since the opening of the railway to the rich coal-fields of Koflach the number of industrial establishments has greatly increased.

Amongst the numerous interesting places in the neighbourhood are: the Hilmteich, with the Hilmwarte, about 100 ft. high; and the Rosenberg (1570 ft.), whence the ascent of the Platte (2136 ft.) with extensive view is made. At the foot of the Rosenberg is Maria Griin, with a large sanatorium. All these places are situated to the N. of Graz. On the left bank of the Mur is the pilgrimage church of Maria Trost, built in 1714; on the right bank is the castle of Eggenberg, built in the 17th century. To the S.W. is the Buchkogel (2150 ft.), with a magnificent view, and a little farther south is the watering-place of Tobelbad.

History. Graz may possibly have been a Roman site, but the first mention of it under its present name is in a document of A.D. 881, after which it became the residence of the rulers of the surrounding district, known later as Styria. Its privileges were confirmed by King Rudolph I. in 1281. Surrounded with walls and fosses in 1435, it was able in 1481 to defend itself against the Hungarians under Matthias Corvinus, and in 1529 and 1532 the Turks attacked it with as little success. As early as 1530 the Lutheran doctrine was preached in Graz by Seifried and Jacob von Eggenberg, and in 1540 Eggenberg founded the Paradies or Lutheran school, in which Kepler afterwards taught. But the archduke Charles burned 20,000 Protestant books in the square of the present lunatic asylum, and succeeded by his oppressive measures in bringing the city again under the authority of Rome. From the earlier part of the 15th century Graz was the residence of one branch of the family of Habsburg, a branch which succeeded to the imperial throne in 1619 in the person of Ferdinand II. New fortifications were constructed in the end of the 16th century by Franz von Poppendorf, and in 1644 the town afforded an asylum to the family of Ferdinand III. The French were in possession of the place in 1797 and again in 1805 ; and in 1809 Marshal Macdonald having, in accordance with the terms of the peace of Vienna, entered the citadel which he had vainly besieged, blew it all up with the exception of the belltower and the citizens' or clock tower. It benefited greatly during the 19th century from the care of the archduke John and received extended civic privileges in 1860.

See Ilwof and Peters, Graz, Geschichte und Topographic der Stadt (Graz, 1875); G. Fels, Graz und seine Umgebung (Graz, 1898); L. Mayer, Die Stadt der Grazien (Graz, 1897), and Hofrichter, Riickblicke in die Vergangenheit von Graz (Graz, 1885).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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