A city where old meets new
Graz has a unique ability to juggle both modernity and tradition, cleverly connecting clean modern architecture with historic charm.
How would you like to travel back to the 13th century? It couldn’t be easier with the Graz clock tower. But watch out: the clock face of this Graz landmark is a little confusing at first glance, with the unexpected size difference between its hour and minute hands. Eggenberg Palace is another of Graz’s historical gems. The Baroque building has been part of the Graz scenery since 1625. It’s the largest and most significant palace complex in Styria. Now let’s move on to the Glockenspielplatz square, where you can see a couple dressed in traditional clothing pirouette three times a day. The colourful figures have been dancing to enchanting melodies high above the square since 1905 – from traditional Austrian Alpine music to modern compositions and even Christmas carols! The idea behind the carillon is not just entertainment. For a long time, it was also used as a marketing gag. The entrepreneurial spirits producer Gottfried Maurer set up the little dance scene to entice customers into his shop on what was then known as Fliegelplatz.
That’s enough history – it’s now time to take a wander through modern Graz. The ‘Kunsthaus Graz’ art museum is just a short walk from the historical old town. The purist city landmark makes a striking impression even from far off. And no wonder – the vibrant blue construction paints a vivid contrast to the traditional red tiled roofs. It’s really earned its affectionate nickname of the ‘Friendly Alien’. The contemporary art museum has been showcasing key artistic milestones from the last four decades since 2003. Looking for an architectural masterpiece surrounded by greenery? Then you need to visit the ‘Murinsel’. The 47-metre-long steel construction is really something special. It’s made itself comfortable in the middle of the Mur river. And the US artist Vito Acconci didn't stop with the location – the design is also impressive. The organic silhouette with its curved glass roof is consciously designed to look like the sensual shape of a mussel. It’s no surprise that the modern glass and steel construction has been a popular location for concerts, performances and exhibitions since 2003.