Snapshots of Europe: Graz, Austria – The Styrian Armoury

Graz in the Styria region of southern Austria is a city full of ye olde world charm. It goes way back and became the capital of the Duchy of Styria in 1180. There are plenty of impressive old buildings and structures including cathedrals and castles.

Graz, Austria by Georg Matthäus Vischer (1670)
Graz, Austria by Georg Matthäus Vischer in 1670

The Clock Tower of Graz, high on the overlooking hill is one of the cities oldest structures with the tower itself first being mentioned in 1265. The Wooden gallery was added in 1560 and the clock works date back to 1712. The 3 bells inside are from 1382, 1450 and 1645! Old indeed! Along with the clock tower, the Graz Cathedral dates back to 1462, and Eggenberg Palace is from 1635 just to name a few.

Graz Clock Tower
Graz Clock Tower
Graz Town Hall, city panorama and Cathedral
Graz Town Hall, city panorama and Cathedral
Schloss Eggenburg Graz Austria
Schloss Eggenburg

The true jewel in the crown of Graz to me, is the amazing Styrian Armoury (Landeszeughaus). Imagine 32,000 original pieces of shining armour and weaponry (yes 32,000 pieces!) dating back to the late 15th through to the early 19th century, all stored on four floors of the same building where they have always been. Armour and weaponry is placed in row after row, on the floor, walls, shelves and even hanging from the ceiling. From the armour of foot soldiers to cavalry and knights, it is impressive to say the least!

Styrian Armoury Graz Austria
32,000 pieces of armour and weaponry!
armour and helmets Styrian Armoury (Landeszeughaus) Graz Austria
Row upon row of armour and helmets
armour and helmets Styrian Armoury (Landeszeughaus) Graz Austria
More armour
armour and helmets Styrian Armoury (Landeszeughaus) Graz Austria
Even more armour!
armour and helmets Styrian Armoury (Landeszeughaus) Graz Austria
It just keeps coming!
armour and helmets Styrian Armoury (Landeszeughaus) Graz Austria
A knights tale
Styrian Knights armour and helmets Styrian Armoury (Landeszeughaus) Graz Austria
Styrian Knights
armour and helmets Styrian Armoury (Landeszeughaus) Graz Austria
It is truly impressive the number of immaculate pieces of armour within the armoury
Weapons Styrian Armoury (Landeszeughaus) Graz Austria
Pikes, spears and more!
Weapons Styrian Armoury (Landeszeughaus) Graz Austria
Swords, shields, pikes and more!
weapons Styrian Armoury (Landeszeughaus) Graz Austria
Seemingly endless weaponry!
Muskets Weapons Styrian Armoury (Landeszeughaus) Graz Austria
Muskets in staggering numbers!
flintlock pistols Weapons Styrian Armoury (Landeszeughaus) Graz Austria
Amazingly artistic flintlock pistols in droves!
cannons mortars Weapons Styrian Armoury (Landeszeughaus) Graz Austria
Cannons and siege mortars

The 16th century horse armour is alone worth the entry price. One impressive piece of craftsmanship! Can you imagine a group of valiant knights charging down upon you, riding a steed bedecked in such dazzling heavy armour?

16th century horse armour styrian armoury graz austria
16th century horse armour
16th century horse armour styrian armoury graz austria
Cue the Excalibur music!

Given its strategic position Graz was integral in the defence against invaders from the east such as the Ottoman Turks. From the end of the 15th century the Styrian leaders had to build up their stockpile of weapons and armour. They sought the services of the best armourers and gunsmiths from the Germanic world such as Augsburg, Innsbruck and Nuremberg to build this arsenal.

The armoury was erected in 1642 and fortunately even when no longer required the Styrian’s kept it as a historical tribute to the bravery of their armies and has survived the test of time. So today it is a piece of history like no other and is the oldest original preserved armoury in the world (it is rich in wood and this is a bonus as it absorbs moisture and this along with the excellent skills of the curators helps to keep all that armour rust free).

Styrian Armoury Landeszeughaus armoury of Graz Austria
The exterior of the Styrian Armoury with Baroque statues by Giovanni Mamolo representing Mars (god of war) and Minerva (goddess of wisdom and the arts)

The Styrian Armoury is stunning and not to be missed if visiting Graz! Please note, unlike most museums in central Europe it is closed on Tuesdays, not Mondays.

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