Knittelfeld in Styria:
Railways, Industries & Transportation
Knittelfeld is a town in Styria with more than 12,000 residents. Knittelfeld is a county town (Bezirkshauptstadt) and therefore, an important administrative, economic and educational centre for the region. Within Austria, Knittelfeld is mostly known for the former formula-1 race course in nearby Spielberg (which is a separate community, but it has effectively merged with Knittelfeld years ago). Knittelfeld is a very industrial place and transportation, especially through the railway, is a key-industry of the town. This was brought to wide recognition through the annual Styrian exhibition on transportation that was held in Knittelfeld in 1999.
As of 2009, the wikipedia article on Knittelfeld praises the town for being the home to Styria′s second crematory after Graz since 1975. Well, there are not many, but some more exciting attractions than that. For starters, Knittelfeld has a nice parish church (Stadtpfarrkirche). This is not the only attraction one would expect from any decent Austrian town - there is also a Pestsäule (Plague Column or Trinity Column) on the market square, commemorating the bubonic plague, which troubled all of Styria very badly in the 17th and 18th century.
There is the mentioned market square with some nice town houses; the Kapuzinerkirche or Capuchin Church of Knittelfeld (the monastery was demolished in 1976); the Wehrturm is a bastion that was once part of the Medieval city walls; and the Forum Rathaus, an art gallery at the city hall of Knittelfeld. Note the park of the city and the main attraction, the Eisenbahnmuseum ("Railway Museum"). The latter one contains the largest collection of hats of railway employees - not just in Austria, but in the entire World! Have I already mentioned that Knittelfeld is home to Styria′s second crematory after Graz since 1975?
The Mind-Blowing Sights of Knittelfeld, Styria
If the hat collection fails to excite you, go to the station of Knittelfeld to check out the basement. Austrian basements are often good for a laugh, but this one is particularly remarkable: For 40 years, the diligent people of Knittelfeld built a model railway into an artificial landscape of 160 square metres that copies the town and landmarks from its surroundings. But wait, there′s more - see the marvellous church of St. Johann im Felde with an ancient wooden tower. There are Gothic arcades called Turnergasse with a pulpit, dating back to 1480. The parish church is not overly exciting, as it was destroyed in WWII and rebuilt in 1956.
Note also the chateaux of Schloss Arbesser in Spielberg. This castle was originally called "Schloss Spielberg", was built in the 16th century and gave its name to the community that grew around it. The Counts of Spielberg also owned a territory in which ancestors of the American directory Steven Spielberg lived in the early 17th century. The people of modern Spielberg were cheap enough to name their central market square after Steven Spielberg. Spielberg is now a town and an independent community and parish, which comes with a neat parish church.
In 2002, Knittelfeld made international headlines because of a party conference of the Freedom Party. It led to a split in the right-wing populist movement and divided it into the old Freedom Party and the BZÖ, which weakened the right-wing in Austria significantly. The "rebels" of the Freedom Party were later called "Knittelfelders" in Austria.
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