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Once a place to be avoided for its plague of locusts, Black Death incidences and continual haranguing by aggressive Hungarian and Turkish armies, Graz is today a much more attractive proposition for the discerning visitor!. Who would have thought back in the fifteenth century that individuals would actually seek out Graz as a source of pleasure? That more incredible still, Graz with its centre being awarded the status of UNESCO world heritage site has become a popular Austrian holiday destination.
A recently elected European Capital of Culture, Graz is capital also to the Styria region. It was here in Graz that during the 17th century Baroque took a hold prior to any of its Austrian neighbours. With a close knit layout, Graz� city centre is easily tackled on foot. Much of the top tourist attractions are within easy reach of the central market square otherwise known as the Hauptplatz.
Visitors to Graz are attracted to the superb and long established museums and galleries in the city as well as to the breathtaking and elegant architecture. The Landesmuseum Joanneum is a large collection of museums and one of the world�s veterans. If gothic painting is sought, the best place in the whole of Austria to check out is the Alte Galerie. For nineteenth and twentieth century paintings, the Herbenstrein Palace�s Neue Galerie should be sought out and indulged.
With so many attractions on offer where should one begin? The city centre is probably the obvious choice where an easy walk brings you to some of the city�s architectural jewels. Additionally a good choice of place to begin and end your sight seeing because like many other cities, Graz shares the coffee adoration culture. The old �kaffeehaus� tradition where you can watch the world go by while leisurely sipping strong coffee is alive and well in Graz.
Popular attractions in the area are the Uhrturm, the Schlossberg and the Glockenturm otherwise known as the Clock Tower, Castle Hill and the Bell Tower respectively. Other popular attractions are the cathedral, Emperor Ferdinand II�s mausoleum and especially the old Quarter.
One of the most significant of the city landmarks is that of the Uhrturm. The oldest bell in the country the sixteenth century Uhrturm or Watchtower once had a sinister function. It chimed in expectation of an execution that was about to take place in the city. It is unusual in that the long arm represents the hours and the small ones the minutes enabling reading the time much easier (if not more confusing!)
Downtown Graz in the area known as the Calf�s Quarter (Kalbernes Viertel) is characterized by enigmatically narrow streets and corridors as well as engaging squares. Butchers have been operating in the quarter for centuries hence its unusual name. A particularly good place for seeking out refreshment, the Calf�s Quarter is generously endowed with restaurants and cafes.
Whilst in Graz, there are a number of interesting sights and attraction that exist a short excursion away. The sixteenth century Schloss Eggenberg palace opens up to the public to reveal magnificent staterooms as well as museums. The castle at Riegersburg sits atop a dormant volcano and stands out from the crowd of spectacular castles in the Steirische Schlosserstrase. Once described as �Christendom�s mightiest fort�, in these days where fortification is no longer necessary, the Riegersburg has to be viewed, if for no other reason, because you can.
The western Steiermark region is where the famous Spanish Riding School Lippizzaner horses are bred and have been so since the sixteenth century. A much loved experience and surprising too as the Lippizaner foals are born black, and not white as you would expect. In addition, Steiermark is a popular destination for wine lovers because of its mile upon glorious mile of vineyards.
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The airport is 12km from the city of Graz.
If travelling from the south take the A9 and turn off at the Kalsdorf exit then follow the signs for the airport. When travelling from the north, take the A9 and turn off onto the A2 at the Graz junction and head west toward Wien. Turn off the A2 at the Flughafen Graz-Feldkirchen. If driving along the B67 (Triester Strase) from the north head out of town toward Feldkirchen and follow signs for the airport.
If travelling by bus or train, there is a public bus service that takes you from Graz Airport train station to Graz Central Station. The bus stop is situated outside of the terminal. Trains running from the main station in Graz arrive every hour at the airport. There is a five minute walk from the bus stop to the main terminal.The airport offers a free shuttle service into Graz city centre.
Passenger Facilities: Annual Capacity 750,000, 12 check-in desks, 9 gates, 94 short term parking spaces, 1,430 long term parking spaces, Bank, Restaurants, Cafeterias, Bars, VIP Lounge, Duty Free Shop, Newsagent/Tobacconist, Gift Shop, Travel Agent, Tourist Help Desk, Car Rental, Taxi Service/Rank, Baby/Parent Room