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April 2, 2019

Austria: Graz, the Styrian Armory

Filed under: Austria, Europe, Photography, Travel, Travel, Writing — Tags: , , , , , — anotherheader @ 8:13 am

Inside the armory

One of the truly unique things to see in Graz is the Styrian Armory. Accessible through a door in the city’s tourist office, the structure holds 32,000 pieces of weaponry, tools, and suits of armor carefully organized and displayed over three floors. It is said to be the largest intact historic armory in the world. The collection of armor, enough to outfit 5,000 soldiers, was brought together between the 15th and 17th centuries.

Graz lies in Styria, or Steiermark in German. Mark is an old German word indicating a large area of land used as a defensive perimeter. Inside the border the peasantry are taught how to organize and fight in the case of an invasion. Graz is strategically located at the head of the fertile Mur valley and was often assaulted unsuccessfully. The threat of invasion by the Ottoman Turks in the 16th Century motivated the assembly of a large mass of weapons so the peasants could be armed on short notice. Remarkably Graz’s collection of weapons has stayed intact over the centuries. It is still stored in its original building.

There are replicas available to try on for fit.

The size of the armory is notable. It is not uncommon to see any armory in Europe; many castles have them. But the Styrian Armory is much, much larger than what one normally sees. The size of Graz’s collection means that there are many repeat copies of some weapons, which seems realistic. Elsewhere in Europe museums often have small collections of swords, guns, armor and other weapons of war assembled piecemeal by purchasing from armories like the one in Graz.

For various reasons, Graz did not sell off its armor collection. And today there’s a great opportunity for those visiting Graz to see what a true armory looks like. Where else can you go to see in one place all the armor needed to outfit an army?

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We visited the Styrian Armory in Graz in October of 2018. The tourist office downstairs will arrange for a guide.

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1 Comment »

  1. Great post 😁

    Comment by the #1 Itinerary — April 2, 2019 @ 11:10 am


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