Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Graz: Schlossberg


We started our second walk of the day at the pretty Schlossbergplatz. At the far end of the platz is the staircase carved by First World War prisoners. We decided to resist the temptation of climbing the stairs and instead walked along the road parallel to the river and took the funicular to almost the top of Schlossberg. This helpfully means you can have a more or less linear walk from the top of Schlossberg down to the city centre.

You emerge by the imposing Bell Tower of 1588.

 Continuing uphill you pass the Casemate Stage. A casemate was a storeroom which was also used as a cell for prisoners.

Soon you reach the flattish area at the top – 467m. There are pleasant views over the newer parts of the city towards the surrounding wooded hills. We wondered if a ridge walk was possible.

There is a wonderfully vivid statue of a lion which commemorates Major Hackher who successfully led the last military defence of the fortress from attack by Napoleon's army in 1809. No likeness of him was available, so the lion stood in.

Just behind the statue is a nice art nouveau balustrade.

It was remarkably quiet and calm on the top, but much to my dismay although there were trees and flowers, there were no butterflies – and this continued throughout our exploration of the Schlossberg. Why I wonder?

We headed downhill to explore the terrace in front of the Stable Bastion. Its massive walls are 6m thick and 20m high. On the right of the entrance was this splendid art deco mural. I haven't as yet discovered its significance.

At the base of the bastion there was a fine entrance portico.

And lower down there was a sweet Chinese Pavilion built around 1900. From there there was a good view of the Kunsthaus revealing the curious nodules on its roof.

Now we followed the path downhill to approach the famous Clock Tower. It is a handsome and worthy emblem of the city and dates from 1712.

Now we followed a winding path downhill towards the city centre, passing an entrance to one of the numerous tunnels which were dug during the war as air raid shelters. We emerged onto Karmeliteplatz and enjoyed the renovated Carmelite convent with its beautifully painted facade.

Conditions: a beautiful sunny day.

Distance: maybe 3 miles.

Rating: 5 stars. Such as lovely place to explore or do nothing much.

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