UNESCO World Heritage in Styria
The UNESCO World Heritage Sites include the Semmering railway and its surrounding landscape in Upper Styria and Graz's old city with Eggenberg Palace in the cultural and culinary capital of Graz.
On the one hand, the Semmering railway, which is the first mountain railway in the world, is on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Inaugurated in 1854 and declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986, the 41 km long mountain railway connects Gloggnitz and Mürzzuschlag. The Semmering railway overcomes an altitude difference of 457 m. At the time, the railway was considered a great technical and innovative solution to physical problems. Today, the Semmering railway is a popular excursion destination, which skilfully combines a natural experience with history. There is a monument at the Semmering railway station in memory of Carl Ritter von Ghega, an Austrian engineer and builder of the Semmering railway. This is also the starting point of the railway hiking path.
On the other hand, Graz's old town with its historical buildings as well as Eggenberg Palace bear this title, because they harmoniously link artistic and architectural movements from the past with each other. A popular excursion destination, Graz's old town has special historical features and invites you to stroll and discover. In addition to its exquisite rooms and its remarkable architecture, Eggenberg Palace also presents exciting exhibitions as well as a wonderful park in which to linger. As part of the universal museum Joanneum, the entire Eggenberg Palace is regularly a venue for extraordinary cultural events. It's definitely worth a visit! Tip: A special highlight is the guides through the staterooms of the palace.
The Cultural Capital of Graz bears another UNESCO title, namely UNESCO City of Design. In 2011, UNESCO declared the admission of the city of Graz into the international network of Creative Cities.
In addition to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, UNESCO also defined an intangible cultural heritage. This designation recognises handed-down traditions and highlights special traditions, unique knowledge or representations.
How well do you know Styrian cultural heritage? Did you know, for example, that some Styrian customs already contain cultural heritage? If you draw some traditions from this diversity, among others the Murau carnival race, the Öblarner Krampus play or the Samson-carrying are designated as intangible cultural heritage. The intangible cultural heritage in Styria also includes basket-making, wicker work with meadow grass, straw and split wood or also the extensive knowledge about raising Lipizzaners on a stud farm or about Piber Castle and also the customs of the citizens' and guardian guards of the district of Murau. Ratcheting during Holy Week during Easter and the Laßnitzer folk theatre are also counted as intangible cultural heritage.
The Ausseer carnival and pigeon shooting in Altaussee have also been an intangible cultural heritage since 2016. The Ausseer carnival takes place from Sunday to Tuesday during carnival with several figures who are the centre of attention: The Trommelweiber, the Flinserl and the Pless. If you would like to learn more about these special characters, read about the customs of carnival. Pigeon shooting in Altaussee, a social sport, has been in existence since 1925. A wooden projectile in the form of a pigeon is shot at a target.
The Styrian cultural heritage can be discovered in many places. The event calendar for example, lists the dates of the Murau carnival race, the Öblarner Krampus play or the Samson-carrying. The Lipizzaner breeding in Piber can also be visited during opening hours.
Would you like to learn more about Styrian customs? You will find details about the customs in Styria during the different seasons here.