Clock Tower in Graz, Austria

Photo by: Gerriet, Creative Commons

The mere mention of Graz, Austria to people with the slightest familiarity with bodybuilding and weight lifting will immediately associate this city with California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. After all, this is the place where the former bodybuilding champion spent his time as a young man before he achieved global fame as a bodybuilder, as an action star and as an American government official. On the other hand, more seasoned travelers who have spent time in Austria will probably recall the sights of old buildings and districts around the city and nothing else.

However, Graz, Austria cannot be simply dismissed as an old place. True, it’s been around for a long time but that gives the place a richer heritage and a grand historical background. These days, the city is home to the old and the new that incoming travelers can enjoy and admire. Consider these examples:

• Old Town – This area gained its major milestone when UNESCO granted its inclusion in the list of World Heritage Sites in 1999. This is to recognize the harmonious presence in the same spot of different structures from different historical periods and in different architectural movements. Among the buildings in the area are the Landhaus from the Renaissance period, the Dom Cathedral built in the Gothic style, Mausoleum of Emperor Ferdinand II constructed with the Mannerism style of architecture and the Basilica Mariatrost from the Baroque period.
• New structures – Some of the more recently built buildings in the Old Town and in the greater metropolitan area can also be found. These include Kunsthaus Museum of Modern Art, Stadtmuseum Graz, Camera Austria Museum of Photography, Kriminalmuseum, and Literaturhaus Museum of Contemporary Literature in German. Graz also has an artificial island that is made of steel, which is called Murinsel. This man-made island is located on the Mur River.

Like most of the major cities and towns around the country, Graz, Austria has a highly efficient and very interconnected system of public transportation. Tourists will surely have a convenient, easy and comfortable time visiting the old and the new in this city of fabulous contrasts.

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