Fürstenfeld: Rural charms in Eastern Styria
Fürstenfeld is a town with approximately 6,000 residents in the East of Styria (Steiermark). It is a charming and rural place, a county town (Bezirkshauptstadt) and thus, an important centre for education, trade and traffic - as well as regional administration.
Beyond Styria, Fürstenfeld is mostly known from a song by the Austrian pop band STS; the song features a young musician performing in traditional costume in Vienna; seriously pissed off by the Viennese and his failure to impress them with his music, he sings about how much he misses Fürstenfeld and how badly he wants to go back home to Styria. The song is pretty funny and has the status of being a 1980ies-song-legend in Austria.
Fürstenfeld itself is known for its location: It offers great access to the spa area of Styria (Steirisches Thermenland), the vineyards with many Buschenschank inns and other rural delights of south-eastern Austria. In terms of sightseeing attractions, Fürstenfeld has several interesting historic buildings; the city centre offers a great opportunity for a relaxed stroll, and there are the remains of a fortress.
Parish Church of Fürstenfeld
Note the parish church, dedicated to St. John the Baptist. Built between 1773 and 1779, the architect in charge was Leopold Ainspinner. A previous building dated back to 1170 and was a foundation of the Knights of St. John, later known as the Maltese Knights (see also below in the history section). Another church of Fürstenfeld is the Augustiner Eremiten Kirche, it was built between 1365 and 1368. The Augustinian monks shaped Medieval Fürstenfeld significantly (again: see below).
A very important building is the Pfeilburg, a "castle" that is considered to be the oldest non-religious building of Fürstenfeld. In fact, the core of the Pfeilburg ranks among the oldest Medieval buildings in all of Styria. Fürstenfeld has an unusual city hall: The Fürstenfeld Rathaus can be found in a tower from 1565, called Grazer Tor. The old city hall or Altes Rathaus is now used as a school; it was built in 1569 by Jonas von Wilfersdorf, a local nobleman. In 1651, the city of Fürstenfeld bought the property and used it as administrative building ever since.
Attractions of Fürstenfeld
The other two main attractions are the Landesfürstliche Burg Schloss am Stein, a castle with origins that date back to 1170. It was built by Margrave Ottokar IV. The Pfeilburg is associated with a Tobacco Museum, which shows how important tobacco was for the local agriculture. The Ungarbastei is a 16th century fortress; it was built according to designs by the Italian military engineer Domenico dell′Allio after 1596.
Smaller attractions include the Mariensäule, a trinity column on the market square of Fürstenfeld; and a pedestrian zone on the former main street. In the surroundings of Fürstenfeld, you will find the Kräuterdorf Söchau - and of course the three thermal spas of Blumau, Bad Waltersdorf and Loipersdorf. Other spas are within reach. Note that the surroundings of Fürstenfeld are also famous for scenery and the Buschenschanken, the traditional, usually family-run inns of Southern Austria.
Continue with "Fürstenfeld, Part II - History"
Back to: "Styria Sightseeing Guide"