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Hartberg – Slowness in historic surroundings

© by Ana Lucia Marcos

Hartberg in eastern Styria is one of Austria’s cosiest small historic towns. Here you can simply relax in one of the cafes on the square, or stroll around and admire the historic streets.

Many old buildings have been preserved, creating a great atmosphere. The historic centre of Hartberg lies within the partially preserved city wall from the Middle Ages (12th and 13th centuries), which once surrounded the entire town. Today, visitors and residents enjoy a place where you can relax and enjoy life – in historic surroundings.

The slow city

Hartberg was the second city in Austria to receive the internationally recognized “Città Slow” certification. This special award stands for the joy of life in the slow lane. We took this literally and had a cup of coffee in the Hauptplatz (city square), before strolling…slowly away. Here, car parks have partly had to give way to outdoor seating, playgrounds and art. Moreover, the historic centre of Hartberg is fairly small. Hence you don’t need to plan too much, but get an overview on Google Maps before you start your sightseeing. Already around the square itself, there is much to see.

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Historic buildings

The first building most people notice is the Stadtpfarrkirche St. Martin (parish church), which dominates the city’s skyline and not least the main square, with its 54-meter-high church tower. The first church building was erected in 1128 and stands on top of the remains of a Roman villa from around 200 AD. Perhaps just as interesting is what is found behind the church.

Here stands a round tower that sticks out. The so-called Hartberger Karner (ossuary) dates from the second half of the 12th century and was extensively renovated between 1889 and 1894. Moreover, the renovations revealed the frescoes inside (from around 1200), which you absolutely should see. No worries, the bones of the dead are long gone.

Another eye-catching building is the yellow house just across the main square, in Kirchengasse 2, which today still houses a pharmacy, which is also impressive. Furthermore, the core of the former house of the pharmacist J. D. Rahmann dates from 1668. At the end of the 19th century, it received its elaborate neo-baroque facade.

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When you stroll down the pedestrian street from the square, you soon notice a so-called Bürgerhaus, in Wiener Strasse 7. The house has just been refurbished and appears in all its glory. The white facade with details in red and gold testifies that there were wealthy people who lived here once upon a time. We could have continued the list of noteworthy, historic buildings, but we leave the rest for you to discover so we have space to mention other sights.

Schloss Hartberg (Palace)

In the northwest corner of the old town, you will find Schloss Hartberg. The castle’s history goes back to the year 1147, to the deepest Middle Ages, when the castle was first mentioned in a The castle was bought in 1572 by the family of the later Princes Paar and rebuilt in Renaissance style. In the 17th century, it was extended to include an arcade wing. The castle today belongs to the city and is used for cultural events. You can freely stroll around the castle park, and perhaps enjoy some goodies you bought at the farmers’ market.

Bauernmarkt (Farmers’ market)

At Europaplatz (Grazer Strasse) you will find a small market along the pavement. Here you can shop for a small picnic basket with for example cheese, bread, local apple or grape juice and fruit. In addition, there are also delicious, handmade sweet pastry for sale. In addition, you will also find a couple of other parks where you can enjoy your treats.

Rochuspark

In the southeast corner of Hartberg, the Schölbingerturm stands out. The white medieval tower is located next to a small but lovely park (Rochuspark) including a pond with a fountain. There is also a small playground here. It is 4-500 meters / 5 minutes on foot through the pedestrian street here from the main square, or via Michaeligasse and Europaplatz. By the way, you will find the Stadtpark (City park) just around the corner from the market, with quiet places to relax. Here you can also see a preserved section of the city wall and return to the centre through the gate at the Reckturm. Wherever you stroll, you always have a historical backdrop.

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Sights outside Hartberg

The town’s settlement history is well over 2,000 years long and has left numerous archaeological traces, which tell exciting stories. Hartberg is an ancient settlement area, and settlements can be traced back to the Celts and later to Roman times. Henceforth, only about 3 km outside the centre of Hartberg you find the remains of “Villa Rustika”. These well-preserved foundations of a large Roman country estate from the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD gives you an idea of ​​the luxury of that era. In the palatial peristyle villa, you will find among others, the remains of a Roman bath, a large representation hall and extensive living quarters.

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Written by Ana Lucia Marcos

Ana Lucia has traveled the world, but fell completely in love with Austria. She loves the dramatic mountain landscape, the phototastiske lakes and the captivating castles. Moreover, a real Wienerschnitzel is always on the menu when she explores the alpine country.