Graz is the capital of the Austrian province of Styria and has a population of about 250,000. This link was established in 1957.
Links between the two cities under the aegis of the Educational Interchange Council went back as early as 1944. A civic visit in 1957 formalised the link. Councillor J D Berry supported the link at civic level since his visit to Graz in 1975 as Lord Mayor (he also participated in the 1957 visit as a Councillor), again visiting Graz in 1986.
Graz, the capital of Styria Province, lies on the River Mura, surrounded on three sides by the Alps. Steel, railway equipment, automobiles, chemicals, leather goods, and precision instruments are among the products manufactured in the city, which is the centre of a considerable trade in wine, fruit, and cereal grains.
The old town, on the west bank of the river, is connected with the new town, on the east bank, by seven bridges. The old town is built around the Schlossberg Park, which until 1809, when its fortifications were destroyed by the French, was a strongly fortified hill.
Important buildings in Graz include an 11th-century castle, the 13th-century church of the Teutonic Knights, the 15th-century Gothic Domkirche, and a 16th-century parish church with an altarpiece by the Venetian artist Tintoretto. Among educational institutions in the city are Graz University, founded in 1585, and Graz Technical University, founded in 1811. These traditional buildings are also complemented by more modern architecture such as the new 'Kunsthaus' art gallery, which is in stark contrast to its more traditional surrounds. This particular building has been internationally acclaimed and was recently nominated for the prestigious RIBA Stirling Prize.
Graz is known to have existed in the 9th century AD and is thought to occupy the site of a Roman town. In the 15th century it was a residence of the Holy Roman emperors.