Graz, Austria’s second largest city, is an ideal setting for successful meetings, international conventions, conferences, incentives and corporate teambuilding activities.
Following the record-breaking year as the European Cultural Capital 2003, Graz has positioned itself as a top location for all kinds of events. There are many reasons for holding an event in Graz. However, all event organisers are highly enthusiastic about the charm of the Old Town, the attractive cultural programme, the quality and diversity of the cuisine and the excellent infrastructure of the conference venues.
Old town exuding southern charm
Since the Middle Ages, a friendly and prosperous town has been growing around the Schlossberg hill; a town cherished by its inhabitants. In fact, it was the unique ensemble of architectural styles spanning from Gothic, Baroque, Renaissance, Art Nouveau to modernity that made UNESCO add Graz to its World Cultural Heritage list. In the narrow lanes, on the bustling plazas and in the tranquil inner courtyards: the relaxed Mediterranean atmosphere can be felt everywhere in this charming city.
CULTURAL CAPITAL OF EUROPE
Graz is full of contrasts. This is particularly true of its cultural life. The „steirische herbst”, one of Europe‘s most prestigious festivals of contemporary art, has enriched the cultural scene as much as the classical culture: opera, theatre and the “styriarte”, the festival of classical music that has gained an international reputation under star conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt. In 2003, Graz was a celebrated and hugely successful Cultural Capital of Europe. That year also saw the landing of a “friendly alien” in the city, the striking art centre designed by the British architects Peter Cook and Colin Fournier. Beside the Kunsthaus, other high-ranking projects include the Island in the Mur by Vito Acconci, the acoustic wonder venue Helmut-List-Halle, the Graz Stadthalle and the House of Literature, all of which contribute to Graz’s lasting attraction as a cultural city and event venue.
GRAZ – AN INNOVATIVE BUSINESS LOCATION
Of all the high-tech products developed in Austria, a third can be traced back to Graz. Just to mention a few examples: Germany’s high-speed trains roll along on undercarriages constructed in Graz. Chinese paper factories work with technology developed in Graz. The largest film studios in Hollywood use precision parts made in Graz for particularly low-noise cameras. Scientists from Graz participate in more than ten international space travel projects. The Graz automobile cluster employs 30,000 people; more than 40 vehicle manufacturers have chosen Graz as a site of production, development or research.
UNIVERSITY TOWN WITH AN INTERNATIONAL REPUTATION
The largest and oldest of Graz’s four universities is the Karl-Franzens-University, founded in 1585. The University of Technology (1811) dates back to the days of Archduke Johann. At the University of Music and Dramatic Arts, students of orchestra conducting, chamber music, lied and concert singing, choir, opera, jazz and drama are taught. The ‘youngest’ of the four universities is the Medical University Graz, which only recently achieved independent status. A total of approx. 35,000 students attend courses at twelve faculties and with several new universities of applied science and academic and scientific research institutions, Graz can be considered an academic centre of international repute.
PLACES OF INTEREST
A castle standing on a rock ledge of this hill more than 1,000 years ago gave the city its name. The Bell Tower and the Clock Tower remain.
Kunsthaus Graz (museum of contemporary arts)
Something extra-terrestrial in the World Heritage site of Graz? Like a huge bluish bubble this museum has become the landmark of new Graz since October 2003.
The Provincial Armoury is reputed to be the most outstanding historical weapons collection in the world comprising an incredible 32,000 historical arms and military equipment from 16th to 17th centuries.
The Opera House
Graz Opera House is the second largest opera house in Austria and a springboard for musical careers. It is a fascinating neo Baroque building dating from 1899.
What was meant to be a temporary project during Graz’s year as the Cultural Capital of Europe 2003, has turned into an attraction – the island in the river Mur.
A journey into the Cosmos… A building that reflects time gone by. That is how one could describe Schloss Eggenberg, erected in 1625-56. It is Styria’s most splendid palace, located in a huge landscaped garden.