Eisenerz, Leoben & Göss - Part II
The village of Eisenerz has some of the usual sights to offer: A fortified 13th century parish church originally meant to offer protection against the advancing Turks. They never got that far, but the protestant Eisenerz people once had to seek shelter in the church when the Catholic bishop of nearby Seckau led an army against them.
The main square is most originally called "Bergmannsplatz" or "miner′s square". Here you will find the 16th-century Rathaus or Town Hall as well as the Krippenhaus, a museum of nativity scenes. As mentioned in the article of traditions and customs of Austria, it is a big deal all over the country to have a nicely carved nativity scene in your house around Christmas. This museum gives a good introduction to the custom.
For proper sightseeing, you will find more to do and places to go in Leoben itself. The town has clearly evolved around the iron industry and is the home of Austria′s only university entirely dedicated to "mountainistics", founded by Archduke Johann. It offers courses that are a mix of mining, geology and geography, technical subjects and economics. It has a good reputation in the World of international mining and an image of being somewhat conservative - if not chauvinist - in the social sense.
The students of Leoben tend to have a sense of community and self-confidence that can also be found at US or British universities, but it is very unusual in the academic tradition of Austria (or Germany). This is also expressed in the many rites and rituals (again, nothing compared to ceremonies in Oxbridge or rituals around American Football matches, but unusual in Austria) that are often derived from medieval miner′s traditions.
Bizarre Traditions at Leoben′s University
You can learn some things about this as well as the history of Leoben in the Stadtmuseum or Town Museum. It is housed in a former Jesuit convent and a good introduction to the town and its surroundings. Nearby you will find the parish church dedicated to St Xaver and formerly part of the monastery. It is well-known for its elaborate Baroque interiors, particularly the beautifully arranged altars depicting scenes from the life of St Franz Xaver.
More or less just outside of the church you can find the Hauptplatz or Main Square with the expected ensemble of burgher houses. This includes the late-17th century Hacklhaus with elaborate stucco works and decorations on its fašade. In an attempt to re-vive the area, Leoben also built a new exhibition and events hall, which infrequently used as a museum with changing exhibitions. Typically, they will be more interesting for Austrian folks than for non-German-speaking visitors.
Just outside of Leoben you will find the village of Göss with two attractions: One of Austria′s biggest breweries, Gösser with a beer museum of mediocre interest. And the former nunnery of Göss with remarkable Romanesque architecture that will be more gratifying for the sightseeing oriented visitor. The nunnery, where Napoleonic France and the Holy Roman Empire of German Nation signed a peace treaty, is covered in the separate article on the monasteries of Styria.
Return to "Eisenerz, Leoben & Göss - Part I"
Back to: "Styria Sightseeing Guide"