Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Gratz
GRATZ, or Graz,1 the capital of the Austrian crownland of Styria, is situated in the broad and fertile valley of the Mur, and the beauty of its position has given rise to the punning French description, La ville des Graces sur la riviere de rAmotir. From Vienna it is distant about 90 miles as the crow flies, and about 139 miles by rail. Its latitude is 47 49 N., its longitude 15 27 E., and its height above the sea 1499 feet. The main town lies on the left bank of the river, at the foot of the Schlossberg or castle-hill, but two of the principal suburbs, Lend and Gries, occupy an extensive area on the right bank, and communication is maintained by four bridges besides the railway bridge. Among the numerous churches of the city the most im portant is the Gothic cathedral of St yEgidius, founded by the emperor Frederick III. in 1450-1462, on the site of a previous church mentioned as early as 1157. It has been several times modified and redecorated, more particularly
1 The name was frequently written Gratz, Gretz, or Grez, but in 1843 it was decided, through the influence mainly of Hammer-Purg- stall, that the official form should be Graz, in accordance at once with the local pronunciation and the derivation of the word, which was originally, it is believed, the Slavonic for "little castle," Gradats or Gratsa in Servian, and Hradek in Bohemian. in 1718. The present copper spire dates from 1663. The interior, which measures 200 feet in length by 92 feet in breadth, is richly adorned with stained glass windows of modern date, costly shrines, paintings, and tombs. In the immediate neighbourhood of the cathedral is the mausoleum church of St Catherine's, erected by Ferdinand II. as a burial-place for himself and his family. It has an imposing façade with Corinthian columns, two cupolas, and a tower. Worthy of mention also are the church of the Sacred Blood, which has been the municipal church since 1585, and which possesses an altar-piece by Tintoretto; the Augustinian church, commonly called Stiegenkirche, appropriated to the service of the university since 1827; and the church of St Anthony of Padua, connected with the lunatic asylum, and popularly known as the Narrenthurmkirche. Besides the old imperial castle, formerly the residence of the Styrian princes, and now the seat of the statthalterei, Gratz contains the palace of the prince-bishop of Seckau, the palace of Count Attem, with a fine picture-gallery, and the old palace of the archduke John, now in possession of the counts of Meran.
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[ Plan of Gratz. ]
The landhaus, where the estates hold their sittings, was erected in the 16th century; among its curiosities are the Styrian hat and the great silver cup called the Landschadenbund. The rathhaus, built by Stadler between 1802 and 1807, is of interest mainly for its collection of instruments of torture. At the head of the educational institutions is the university, founded in 1586 by Charles Francis, and restored in 1817 after an interruption of forty-five years. The old buildings dating from between 1573 and 1609 are being replaced by a fine modern erection. Of greater celebrity than the university is the Joanneum, originally instituted in 1811 by the archduke John Baptist as a national museum, but now developed into a complex organization for the higher education, with a regular professorate, a library of 50,000 volumes, archives peculiarly rich in Oriental MSS., a botanical garden, and other auxiliary departments. Mohs, Schrotten, and Unger are among the eminent names associated with its chairs. The Styrian hospital, founded in 1788, the town hospital, the civic hospital, the military hospital, the children's hospital, and the lunatic asylum are among the principal benevolent institutions. An official money-lending establishment has been in existence since 1755. Of the minor institutions of various kinds which prove the prosperity of the town the list would be a long one. An active trade, fostered by abundant railway communication both with north and south, is combined with no small manufacturing industry in the departments of iron and steel wares, paper, chemicals, sugar, vinegar, liqueurs, watches, and mathematical instruments. Few towns are better supplied with public pleasure grounds and holiday resorts. The Schlossberg, which rises 380 feet above the valley, was laid out by General Welden shortly after the destruction of the castle; and a great park of 42 acres has been made almost to encompass the inner city. The Calvarienberg lies in the north-west of the town; and not far off is the castle of Eggenberg. The population of Gratz, in spite of a high rate of mortality which prevailed for some time, amounted in 1869 to 81,119, exclusive of the garrison of 4000 men. In 1875 the total, civil and military, was estimated at 90,000.
History.—Gratz may possibly have been a Roman site, but the first mention of it under its present name is in a document of 881 A.D. Ottocar V. of Traungau chose it as his residence in 1056, and in 1163 it is designated for the first time the Landesfürstliche Stadt. Its privileges were confirmed by King Rudolf in 1281. Surrounded with walls and fosses in 1435, it was able in 1481 to defend itself against the Hungarians under Matthias Corvinus, who attempted to get possession of his promised bride at refuge within. In 1529 and 1532 the Turks attacked it with as little success. As early as 1530 the Lutheran doctrine was preached in Gratz by Seifried and Jacob von Eggenberg, and in 1540 Eggenberg founded the Paradies or Lutheran school in which Kepler afterwards taught. But Charles II. burned 20,000 Protestant books in the square of the present lunatic asylum, and succeeded by his oppres sive measures in bringing the city again under the authority of Rome. New fortifications were constructed in the end of the 16th century by Franz von Poppendorf, and in 1644 the town afforded an asylum to the family of Ferdinand III. The French were in possession of the place in 1797 and again in 1805; and in 1809 Marshal Macdonald, having in terms of the peace of Vienna entered the citadel which he had vainly besieged, blew it all up with the exception of the bell-tower and the citizens' or clock tower.
See Benditsch, Thopographische Kunde der Hauptstadt Grätz, Grätz, 1808; Polsterer, Gräz und seine Umgebungen, Grätz, 1827; Baldauf, Geschichte der merkwürdigsten Begebenheiten in Grätz, Grätz, 1843; Schreiner, Histor.-statist.-topogr. Gemälde der Stadt Gratz und seine Ummgebung, Grätz, 1843; Weidmann, Illust. Fremdenführer durch Grätz, 1856; Ilwof and Peters, Gräz: Geschichte und Topographie, Grätz, 1876