Graz In Your Pocket

Austria’s second-largest city may well be the country's first most awesome, if you’ll allow the somewhat relaxed approach to grammar. Home to nearly 300,000 people and just as many stories, Graz brings together everything that makes Austria magical and presents it in its own inimitable sort of way, bridging the gap between Imperial and Republic with grace and charm. Also, Arnold Schwarzenegger was born here, and we’re yet to meet anyone who can’t bust out an Arnie impression. Now that is global appeal.

The old centre of Graz makes for an obvious starting point, with its crimson roofs offering the visitor all the historic charm that one should expect from such a city. The centre of town was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1999, and you have to wonder what took them so long. That listing was extended to in 2010 to include Eggenberg Palace, another accolade on a shelf that includes a stint as Cultural Capital of Europe (2003), as City of Culinary Delights (2008) and its standing as a City of Design (2011)

It might be easy to list off all the things that people say about Graz, but the real value lies in what Graz knows about itself. This is an Austrian city that was a hub for Slovenes and Croats back in the Empire days, a cultural centre that inspired books, art, music and all the rest, although most visitors will be happy enough to sit on the audience side of that exchange today. Also, that Kunsthaus is some heck of a building, right?
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