I noticed some furends being interested in those old buildings and other historical facts of my city, Graz. So I thought I’d post some pictures about the history of the buildings you often see in my photos.
What is known for sure is that the area of Graz was settled from about 3000 before common Era, which was in the Copper age. It had probably people living here for much longer than that though. Of course back then it wasn’t called Graz. Graz started being a city in the early middle ages, and from then on it grew. In 1379 it became the capital of inner Austria, during the long reign of the Habsgurgers. In 1619 a new Habsburg emperor decided to move the court to Vienna, which became the capital city from that point on. If anyone is interested, there is a timeline on wikipedia about Graz.
The castle hill (Schlossberg) was part of a massive fortification of the city. On the hill itself was a huge fortress, which goes back to the 10th century and grew from then on. The castle was never conquered, but unfortunately, after the Napoleonic wars, the fortress was largely demolished, as part of the Treaty of Schönbrunn of 1809. The parts that are still visible today where simply to massive and strong to be demolished back then. They would have removed every single thing up there if they would have been able to. The clock tower and the bell tower were only spared because the city paid a ransom basically.
Thanks to this, those two towers still stand and still have their original old bells in them. Most other bells in church steeples for example, were taken down and destroyed under the treaty (the Napoleonic forces had them molten and made into new cannons, since it was the same kind of metal needed for cannons).
The fortified city (For the larger version click HERE)
The closest view that I could find, looking towards the castle hill today, HERE.
And the same buildings that the arrows are pointing to, today:
The clock tower has 3 bells. One rings at every full hour, and is the oldest bell in the city. It’s from 1382 and I recorded it’s sound this Friday:
Then there is the bell from 1645, which was rung in old times to warn people, every time a fire broke out in the city. It rung the number of the district the fire was in. For example for my district, which is the forth, it would have rung 4 times. It was rung not just once, but with a break in between those 4 times.
The 3rd clock, from 1450, rung every time a person was executed… In the 19th century, it rung when the gates of the city walls were closed and locked.
The Liesl bell rings 101 times at 7am, 12pm und 19pm. The bell tower was build 1588.
Then there is the old steeple, at the church near my home. It’s visible on that old map, and it’s this one that one of the arrows points at. It’s the old steeple of the church called Mariahilfer Kirche. The two high steeples came much later and weren’t visible yet on that old map.
There are many beautiful old buildings throughout the old city center, like the city hall, which looks like a castle really.
On special holidays, like christmas, every church in the city will ring their bells for mass. I recorded a bit of it on Christmas morning in 2016:
I think I’ve made this post long enough lol.
Here are the sources to the images that are not mine:
The fortress on castle hill. Looking towards the North.
Source: Festung Kupferstich Matthäus
Von Matthäus Merian der Ältere – File:Topographia Austriacarum (Merian) 200.jpg, Gemeinfrei, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=46412714
The castle hill with fortress, looking towards the North. (Arrows and text added by me, the original image can be found through the following Source)
Source: Österreichischer Städteatlas http://mapire.eu/oesterreichischer-staedteatlas/graz/#OV_17_2
The castle hill clock tower
Source: Von Andreas E. Neuhold – Eigenes Werk, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16708923
The Liesl bell tower
Source: Von Marion Schneider and Christoph Aistleitner – Eigenes Werk (own photography), Gemeinfrei, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1468029
The huge bell in the Liesl bell tower
Source: Von Uoaei1 – Eigenes Werk, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15965814
Man with the huge bell in the Liesl bell tower
City Hall building
Source: Von Taxiarchos228 – Eigenes Werk, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=13128328
City hall seen from castle hill
Von Marion Schneider and Christoph Aistleitner – Eigenes Werk, Gemeinfrei, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5066608