Eastern Styria: Feldbach,
Schloss Kornberg, Riegersburg & Blumau
The three destinations that I will describe in this article are loosely connected geographically: They are all situated in a rather unexciting part of eastern Styria. Feldbach is a small village known for two things: The local Zwieback, sort of a sweet bread that is baked twice to make it thoroughly dry; and the historic town centre. The latter consists in its core of several houses with thick walls that are connected to something like an inhabitable fortress, called "Tabor".
This fortress was built in the early 16th century around the parish church of Feldbach. However, it was not really needed until some hundred years later, when hordes of Hungarian bandits invaded the area and plagued the region with the obligatory rape and plunder. Things have changed a lot since then and the hills of eastern Styria are now among the least eventful areas of Austria. Thus, the Tabor is somewhat redundant for defence purposes and used for a series of small museums.
The Tabor-Museums of Feldbach & Riegersburg
This includes an old blacksmith, a museum for historic fire fighters, a proper town museum and other exhibits of mostly regional interest. If this fails to focus your attention for a long time, think about moving on to Schloss Kornberg Castle. It is a small Renaissance palace in the middle of nowhere (something like two kilometres north of Feldbach) and famous…well, known to some for its octagonal courtyard. It is open to visitors during the summer season and used as a venue for temporary exhibitions.
Most tourists of the area come for the mighty Riegersburg Castle, though. It is situated some ten kilometres north of Feldbach on the remains of a volcano - a cliff in the middle of otherwise gentle hills, which by itself makes the fortress an impressive sight. The oldest foundations of the Riegersburg date back to 1120, although most of the current buildings was erected over the course of the 17th century. In 1822, it was bought by the Princes of Liechtenstein, who still own it and occupy some of the rooms. I have covered the Riegersburg in some more detail in my article on the "Road of the Castles". Therefore, let′s move on to the final sight of the area.
Blumau: Thermal Spa with Artstic Appeal
The town of Blumau has again fairly little to offer to the sightseeing-savvy crowds, apart from the thermal spas and associated buildings. They were designed by hippie-hero Friedensreich Hundertwasser, who is sometimes considered a one-man side-branch of the Wiener Schule des Phantastischen Realismus. He designed the spa shortly after the discovery of the springs in the 1990ies. This was done on the peak of the spa and wellness-tourism hype, which has long ceased - as many spas are struggling with serious financial difficulties and could not survive without public support.
The spa of Blumau is at least unique in its outlay: More a theme park than a swimming pool, it shows all features of proper Hundertwasser art: Colourful tiles, living plants that are incorporated into the buildings, spirals, and, most importantly, no straight lines. The master considered these to be godless. Blumau is the perfect place to spend a relaxing day in hot water after some sightseeing. Not too far away places to see would be Hartberg some 30 kilometres north of Blumau or Bad Radkersburg some 30 kilometres south of it.
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