Graz has one of the most well-preserved historic old towns in Austria. At the heart of it lies the main square, a perfect starting point for a tour of the city.

In Graz, all roads lead to the Hauptplatz. Quite literally, since the Hauptplatz was conceived as a central market square in the early Middle Ages and has remained the focal point of the city ever since. All major streets in the city center, the Herrengasse, Schmiedgasse, Sackstrasse, Sporgasse and the Murgasse radiate outwards from the main square. Apart from the Jakominiplatz, the Hauptplatz is also the only square in Graz which is a stop on all tram lines and that is part of the reason why the Hauptplatz is also the favorite meeting spot for people living in different parts of town.

A group of food stalls and a market on the north side of the Hauptplatz are lively reminders of the square’s original purpose as a market. 

The dominant building on the Hauptplatz is the Rathaus, or city hall. The 19th-century building received a historic facade around 1890 and has been little altered since. Most other buildings surrounding the main square are from much earlier periods and many feature colorful facades, intricate stucco ornaments, and sculptures. Most prominent among them is the 15th-century Luegg Haus, with its arcaded walkway and splendid baroque stucco work. Another is the 16th-century building housing the Adler Apotheke. Founded in 1535, it is the oldest pharmacy in Graz.

The centerpiece of the Hauptplatz is the Erzherzog Johann fountain, from the 19th century. Admire its its larger-than-life statue of the Habsburg archduke whose many reforms greatly benefited the city of Graz and the province of Styria. 

Apart from the historic sights, the Hauptplatz also features a wide variety of shops and several restaurants and cafés with terraces. Linger with a cup of coffee and observe the comings and goings in the heart of old-town Graz. In summer, Hauptplatz is used as venue for many festivals and events, while a Christmas Market and Christmas Tree draw crowds in December.

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