Graz | © Steiermark Tourismus | Harry Schiffer Graz | © Steiermark Tourismus | Harry Schiffer

UNESCO World Heritage in Styria

What do the Semmering Railway and the historic centre of Graz have in common? And how do basket-making in winter or the breeding of Lipizzan horses fit into the picture? Without giving too much away: If you're looking for cultural treasures worthy of protection, you will find plenty of them in Styria.

Styrian UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Styria's cultural heritage at close quarters: Who knew that there are two places in Styria that were awarded the title of UNESCO Word Heritage Sites? One of them is the area along the Semmering Railway and the surrounding Upper Styria region. The other one is the historic centre of Graz and Schloss Eggenberg located in Styria's capital.

Semmering Railway

The Semmering Railway was inaugurated in 1854 as the world's first mountain railway line. It connects the towns of Gloggnitz and Mürzzuschlag and covers a distance of 41 kilometres as well as a total of 457 metres of difference in altitude. It received the title of UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998. In its heyday, the historic Semmering Railway was a state-of-the-art technical innovation that overcame the challenges of physics. Nowadays, it's an extremely popular excursion destination for nature lovers and history buffs.

Good to know: This UNESCO World Heritage Site was built by Austrian engineer Carl Ritter von Ghega. His monument can still be admired today at Semmering railway station. The latter is also the starting point of the famous railway hiking trail, which invites visitors on an exciting journey of discovery.

Graz Old Town

Picturesque alleys, fascinating parks such as the Planet Garden, and buildings steeped in history: The UNESCO World Heritage Site Graz Historic Centre and Schloss Eggenberg is unique in Austria. Hardly any other place manages to unite the artistic and architectural movements of past decades quite as harmoniously.

The best example of this is Schloss Eggenberg itself: Luxuriant rooms can be admired amidst the remarkable architecture of the baroque palace. Well-preserved original furnishings, valuable collections of Universalmuseum Joanneum and the lavish gardens all make Schloss Eggenberg a cultural treasure worthy of protection.

Tip: The best way to experience the extraordinary atmosphere at the palace is to attend one of the cultural events or to take a guided tour of the premises. 

Where history meets modernity: Graz, the Capital of Culture and Culinary Delights, also holds the title of "UNESCO City of Design". In 2011, it was accepted into the international network of Creative Cities.

Handed down from generation to generation

UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage

Traditions that are kept alive, unique festivities, precious knowledge: The value of some things is difficult to express in numbers. However, this does not make the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage any less significant – rather the opposite is the case. It is clear that many cultural treasures can be found in the various customs of Styria ...

Examples of Styrian cultural heritage:

  • The Carnival Run in Murau
  • Festive practices of the civic guards and militias of the district of Murau
  • Krampus Play in Öblarn
  • Samsontragen in Murau
  • Basket making – weaving with willow, straw and split wood
  • Knowledge concerning the breeding of Lipizzan horses
  • Ratschen during Holy Week
  • Laßnitz Folk Plays
  • Carnival in the Ausseerland region
  • Taubenschießen in Altaussee
  • "Zur Gnadenmutter" pharmacy in Mariazell with the pharmacy's own specialities

The UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage beautifully manages to combine the past, the present and the future. Because one thing is for certain: Customs and traditions will continue to play an important role in Styria.