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Graz is a city in Austria in the region of Styria, of which it is the capital. It is the second largest city in the country after its capital Vienna. Traditionally it is considered as a student city with more than 44,000 students on its six universities. Graz was sole Cultural Capital of Europe for 2003 and has got the title of a City of Culinary Delights in 2008.

Graz is situated on the river Mur, in the southeast of Austria. The area of the city is 127.56 square kilometers and it is divided into 17 districts. Due to its position its weather is influenced by Mediterranean. Graz lies in a basin that only opens to the south, causing the climate to be warmer than would be expected at that latitude. However, this makes the city prone to smog in winter. The population is more than 290,000 people with the density 2,027 inhabitants per square kilometer.

The oldest settlement on the ground of the modern city of Graz dates back to the Copper Age. However, there is no historical continuity of a settlement before the Middle Ages. The name of the city, Graz and some archaeological finds point to the erection of a small castle by South Slavic people (Grad was the Slavic settlement). The German name 'Graz' was first used in 1128, and during this time dukes under Babenberg rule made the town into an important commercial center. Later Graz came under the rule of the Habsburg.

The “Old Town” of Graz has been a part of UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1999. It was extended by Schloss Eggenberg in 2010. Today the old town consists of over 1000 buildings, their age ranging from Gothic to Contemporary. The most important sights in the old town are: Rathaus (Town Hall); Schloßberg, hill dominating the old town, site of demolished fortress; Uhrturm clocktower, symbol of Graz on the top of Schloßberg; Neue Galerie (Museum of art); Schloßbergbahn, a funicular railway up the Schloßberg; The Landhaus, the building where the federal state parliament of Styria resides; The Landeszeughaus, armoury, the largest of its kind in the world; The Schauspielhaus – the principal theatre; Dom (cathedral); Mausoleum of Emperor Ferdinand II; Burg -- castle complex, today it serves as residence of the government of Styria; Gemaltes Haus - painted house; Kunsthaus (museum of modern art); Murinsel, an artificial island in the Mur.

To the most famous landmarks outside the Old Town belong Schloss Eggenberg, a Baroque palace on the western edge of Graz with State rooms and museum; Basilika Mariatrost, a late Baroque church; or the Herz Jesu Kirche, the largest church in Graz.

There have been many notable people connected to the city of Graz, lets mention at least some of them: Nikola Tesla (studied electrical engineering in Graz), Otto Loewi (Nobel prize winning psychologist), Robert Stolz (Austrian composer and conductor) or Arnold Schwarzenegger (body building champion, actor and a governor of California).

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