City (pop., 2001: 226,424), capital of Steiermark (Styria) state, southeastern Austria. The country's second largest city, it lies on the Mur River at the foot of the Styrian Alps. It grew from a fortress settlement and received town rights circa AD 1240. It became the centre of Steiermark during the Middle Ages and was the residence of the Leopoldine Habsburgs after 1379. Its fortifications, built in the 15th and 16th centuries, successfully withstood numerous sieges by Hungarians and Turks; the fortifications were converted into parks in the 19th century. Astronomer Johannes Kepler taught at its university, founded in 1585. A rail and industrial centre, Graz has an active trade in agricultural products; tourism is also important.
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Graz [graːts] (etymologically from Slovene: Gradec IPA: /gra.deʦ/, "little castle"), with a population of around 290,000 as of 2008 (of which 252,852 have principal residence status), is the second-largest city in Austria after Vienna and the capital of the federal state of Styria (Steiermark [ˈʃtaɪ̯ɐmaʁk] in German).
Graz has a long tradition as a student city: its six universities have over 44,000 students. Graz's "Old Town" is one of the best-preserved city centers in Central Europe. In 1999, it was added to the UNESCO list of World Cultural Heritage Sites. Graz was sole Cultural Capital of Europe for 2003.
I. Innere Stadt (3,302)
II. St. Leonhard (12,377)
III. Geidorf (19,119)
IV. Lend (22,369)
V. Gries (22,658)
VI. Jakomini (25,808)
VII. Liebenau (11,556)
VIII. St. Peter (12,809)
IX. Waltendorf (10,782)
X. Ries (5,789)
XI. Mariatrost (7,403)
XII. Andritz (16,316)
XIII. Gösting (9,227)
XIV. Eggenberg (16,467)
XV. Wetzelsdorf (12,225)
XVI. Straßgang (12,212)
XVII. Puntigam (6,248)
The more recent population figures do not give the whole picture as only people with principal residence status are counted and people with secondary residence status are not. Most of the people with secondary residence status in Graz are students. At the end of 2006 there were 37,624 people with secondary residence status in Graz.
Population (with principal residence status) in the agglomeration was approx. 320,000 at the end of 2006.
The oldest settlement on the ground of the modern city of Graz dates back to the Copper Age. However, there is no historical continuity of a settlement before the Middle Ages.
The name of the city, and some archaeological finds point to the erection of a small castle by South Slavic people (namely Slovenes), which in time became a heavily defended fortification. In Slovene, 'gradec' literally means "small castle". The German name 'Graz' was first used in 1128, and during this time dukes under Babenberg rule made the town into an important commercial center. Later Graz came under the rule of the Habsburgs, and in 1281 gained special privileges from King Rudolph I.
In the 14th century Graz became the city of residence of the Inner Austrian line of the Habsburgs. The royalty lived in the Schloßberg castle and from there ruled Styria, Carinthia, and parts of today's Italy and Slovenia (Carniola, Gorizia and Gradisca). In the 16th century, the city's design and planning were primarily controlled by Italian Renaissance architects and artists. One of the most famous buildings built in this style is the Landhaus. It was designed by Domenico dell'Allio, and was used by the local rulers as a governmental headquarters.
Graz was also a city that famous astronomer Johannes Kepler lived in for a short part of his life. There, he worked as a math teacher, but found time to study astronomy. He left Graz to go to Prague when Lutheran people were banned from the city.
Karl-Franzens Universität, also referred to as the University of Graz, is the city's oldest university, founded in 1585 by Archduke Charles II. For most of its existence it was controlled by the Catholic church, and was closed in 1782 by Joseph II in an attempt to gain state control over educational institutions. Joseph II transformed it into a lyceum where civil servants and medical personnel were trained. In 1827 it was re-instituted as a university by Emperor Franz I, thus gaining the name 'Karl-Franzens Universität,' meaning 'Charles-Francis University.' Over 30,000 students currently study at this university.
Nikola Tesla studied electrical engineering at the Polytechnic in Graz in 1875. Nobel Laureate Otto Loewi taught at the University of Graz from 1909 until 1938. Johannes Kepler was a professor of mathematics at the University of Graz. Erwin Schrödinger was briefly chancellor of the University of Graz in 1936.
Adolf Hitler was given a warm welcome when he visited in 1938, the year Austria was annexed by Nazi Germany. The thriving Jewish community was destroyed by the Nazis and their grand synagogue was burnt. A small group of Graz Jews returned despite everything after the war. In 2000, on the anniversary of the Reichskristallnacht, Graz city council presented the Jewish community with a new synagogue as a gesture of reconciliation. Hitler promised the people of Graz 1,000 years of prosperity and an end to mass unemployment: only 7 years later the Graz resistance surrendered the city to Soviet troops sparing Graz any further destruction. By then about 16% of buildings had been destroyed by Allied bombing - luckily the Old Town was not seriously hit.
Graz lies in Styria, or Steiermark in German. Mark is an old German word indicating a large area of land used as a defensive border, in which the peasantry are taught how to organize and fight in the case of an invasion. With a strategic location at the head of the open and fertile Mur valley, Graz was often assaulted (unsuccessfully), e.g. by the Hungarians under Matthias Corvinus in 1481, and by the Ottoman Turks in 1529 and 1532. Apart from the Riegersburg, the Schloßberg was the only fortification in the region that never fell to the Ottoman Turks. Graz is home to the region's provincial armory, which is the world's largest historical collection of Baroque weaponry. It has been preserved since 1551, and displays over 30,000 items.
From the earlier part of the 15th century Graz was the residence of the younger branch of the Habsburgs, which succeeded to the imperial throne in 1619 in the person of Emperor Ferdinand II, who moved the capital to Vienna. New fortifications were constructed on the Schlossberg at the end of the 16th century. Napoleon's army occupied Graz in 1797. In 1809 the city had to withstand another assault by the French army. During the course of this attack, the commanding officer in the fortress was ordered to defend it with his men against Napoleon's army, which numbered about 900 and 3,000 respectively. He successfully defended the Schloßberg against 8 attacks, but they were forced to give up since the Grande Armee conquered Vienna and the Emperor ordered to surrender. Following the defeat of Austria by Napoleonic forces at the Battle of Wagram in 1809, the fortifications were demolished using explosives, as stipulated in the Peace of Schönbrunn of the same year. The belltower and the civic clock tower, often used as the symbol of Graz, were allowed to survive this fate after the people of Graz paid a ransom for their preservation.
Archduke Charles II of Inner Austria had 20,000 Protestant books burned in the square of what is now a mental hospital, and succeeded in returning Styria to the authority of the Holy See. Archduke Franz Ferdinand was born in Graz, in what is now the Stadtmuseum (city museum).
The most important museums in Graz are:
There are currently 228 buildings in Graz that are classified as highrise buildings. In Graz a building is classified as being highrise if the floor of at least one room is 22 metres above ground level. Buildings that are classified as highrise have to adhere to much more stringent fire safety regulations because the ladders of the majority of fire appliances used by Graz Fire Brigade cannot reach higher than 22 metres.
|Name or Address||Completion||Usage||Height / Storeys|
|2.||Elisabeth Hochhaus||1964||residential||75 metres / 25 storeys|
|3.||Kärntnerstrasse 212, Liebenauer Hauptstrasse||1968 & 1955||residential||69 metres / 21 storeys|
|5.||Hafnerriegel||1960||residential||61 metres / 19 storeys|
|6.||St. Peter Pfarrweg, Kindermanngasse, Hanuschgasse||1970s||residential||55 metres / 17 storeys|
|7.||Vinzenz Muchitschstrasse, Ungergasse, Kärntnerstrasse 216, Eggenbergergürtel||1970s||residential||52 metres / 16 storeys|
In Graz there are a some new high rise buildings in the pipeline, the only one that currently (July 2007) is looking certain to be build is a 15 storey officeblock opposite the "Stadthalle" on the southern edge of the city centre. The construction of this officeblock is to commence in June 2008.
From the main train station (Hauptbahnhof), regional trains link to most of Styria. Direct trains also run to most major cities nearby including Vienna, Salzburg, Innsbruck, Maribor and Ljubljana in Slovenia, Zagreb in Croatia, Prague in the Czech Republic, Budapest in Hungary and Zurich in Switzerland. Trains for Vienna leave every hour.
Graz Airport is about 10 kilometres south of the city centre and has a railway station within walking distance (east of the airport).
Other forms of cooperation and city friendship similar to the twin city programmes: