Weiz in Styria (Steiermark):
Industrial Town in Austria′s Agricultural South
Weiz is a small town in Styria (Steiermark), approximately 25 kilometres north-east of the provincial capital Graz. Weiz has a population of approximately 9,000; due to several manufacturing companies that have their production facilities in Weiz, it is considered an industrial town. Beyond that, it is a county town and thus administrative, educational and economic centre for the region around the town as such. Weiz is by no means a touristy place, but does have a few attractions worth noticing if you pass through.
The origins of Weiz are usually tracked back to the year 1188, when a church and settlement around it was first mentioned under the name "Vides". Proto-Weiz soon developed into a small town, but it remained insignificant until well into the 19th century. Until then, trade with iron ore and iron products were already important features of the economy of Weiz - but probably not more than in other towns and villages in the area.
With the rise of industrialisation, Weiz gained economic importance. In the 19th century, it became a county town and developed a prospering industry working on engineering and iron tool manufacturing. The population increased steadily and during WWI, a railway link was built to enable Weiz to contribute to arms manufacturing. In 1932, Weiz was elevated to the rank of a city.
Sightseeing Attractions of Weiz
In terms of sightseeing, a short stroll around Weiz will give you the highlights: The Taborkirche church can be tracked back to 1188 - it is the church mentioned in the document mentioned above. Sadly, it was "improved” according to the taste of a 17th century parish community and now comes with a Baroque façade from 1644. The organ was built by Ferdinand Schwarz in 1769. More impressive is the Weizbergkirche, to be found on an exposed hill. A church on this site was first mentioned in the 12th century, but here the entire church was built in Baroque style in 1757. It is a popular church of pilgrimage and dedicated to the Holy Virgin. Once a year, there is a festival held in the attractive old town of Weiz (Altstadtfest).
Schloss Thannhausen is an impressive Renaissance palace built in 1585 and supplemented with a chapel in 1606. From 1806 to 1850, Schloss Thannhausen was the headquarter of the county′s administration. It is considered to be one of Styria's most significant Renaissance buildings; today, it is private property. Another Renaissance palace is Schloss Radmannsdorf, built in 1550; it is now home to the county court. The city hall (Rathaus) was built in 1910 and resembles a Baroque palace.
Attractions around Weiz offer more opportunities to explore this off-the-beaten-track chunk of Styria: Note the Feistritztalbahn, a railway that dates back to 1911 and combines picturesque landscape with viaducts, traces of Austria′s imperial past. The narrow-gauge railway links Weiz and Birkfeld, but is used for the transportation of goods only. The Steirische Apfelstraße is a theme road dedicated to one of Styria′s most highly regarded goods: The apple.
Note the Katerloch, a stalactite cave that makes a popular day-trip destination for locals of the area. The Grasslhöhle is another extensive stalactite cave, known since 1816 and open to the public. For attractive hikes with daylight, note the two gorgeous gorges of Weiz, the Weizklamm and the Raabklamm. In terms of local culinary specialities, try the Mulbratl (pork).
Back to: "Styria Sightseeing Guide"