The federal state Styria (German: Steiermark) is located in the southeast of Austria. The population (as of 2011) was 1.21 Million. Styria is a green and heavily forested area; called “Green Heart of Austria”.
Graz (German pronunciation: [ˈɡʁaːts]) is the second-largest city in Austria after Vienna and the capital of the federal state of Styria. On 1 Jan 2018 it had a population of 286 292. Graz has a long tradition as a student city: its six universities have more than 44 000 students.
Its “Old Town” is one of the best-preserved city centers in Central Europe. The old town was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1999 due to the harmonious co-existence of typical buildings from different epochs and in different architectural styles. Situated in a cultural borderland between Central Europe, Italy and the Balkan States, Graz absorbed various influences from the neighbouring regions and thus received its exceptional townscape. Today the old town consists of over 1000 buildings, their age ranging from Gothic to Contemporary.
An extensive public transportation network makes Graz an easy city to navigate without a car. The city has a comprehensive bus network, complementing the Graz tram network consisting of six lines, two of which run from the main train station (Hauptbahnhof) to the old town before branching out. Furthermore, there are seven night-time bus routes, although these run only at weekends and on evenings preceding public holidays. The tram is also called “Bim”.
Due to its position in the southeast of the Alps, Graz is shielded from the prevailing westerly winds that bring weather fronts in from the north of (Austria) Styria. The weather in Graz is influenced by the Mediterranean. Graz lies in a basin that is only open to the south, causing the climate to be warmer than would be expected at that latitude. Plants are found in Graz that normally grow much further south.
Austria’s cuisine is derived from that of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Austrian cuisine is mainly the tradition of Royal-Cuisine (“Hofküche”) delivered over centuries. It is famous for its well-balanced variations of beef and pork and countless variations of vegetables. There is also the “Mehlspeisen” Bakery, which created particular delicacies such as Sachertorte (a cake), “Krapfen” which are like doughnuts usually filled with apricot marmalade or custard, and “Strudel” such as “Apfelstrudel” filled with apple, “Topfenstrudel” filled with a type of cheese curd called “Topfen”, and “Millirahmstrudel” (milk-cream strudel).
In addition to native regional traditions, the cuisine has been influenced by Hungarian, Bohemia Czech, Jewish, Italian, Balkan and French cuisine, from which both dishes and methods of food preparation have often been borrowed. The Austrian cuisine is therefore one of the most multicultural and transcultural in Europe.
Typical Austrian dishes include Wiener Schnitzel, Schweinsbraten, Kaiserschmarren, Knödel, Sachertorte and Tafelspitz. Eierschwammerl dishes are also popular. The “Eierschwammerl”, also known as “Pfifferling”, are native yellow, tan mushrooms. Austria is also famous for its Mozartkugeln and its coffee tradition.
Styria is famous for its white wine. If you get a chance be sure to stop at a wine yard (“Buschenschank”) near the border to Slovenia. There you’ll also get great food – order a “Brettljause”, but not if you’re vegetarian, or fond of small portions, because what you’ll receive is a circular wooden tray stacked high with an enormous range of cold meats, and perhaps garnished with horseradish shavings (Kren).