Leibnitz & the Styrian Countryside
There are a couple of reasons why one might want to go to Leibnitz: Deep feelings for philosophy and a passion for the cookie of the same name are not among them. Visitors rather come because they use this sleepy town in the heart of the Eastern-Styrian countryside as a stop-over destination between Graz and the historic town of Bad Radkersburg. Some might come to explore the many Roman foundations of the city. Most tourists that come, however, make Leibnitz a base from where to dive into the remote and rural region surrounding the town, where vineyards, pumpkin fields and friendly people are the biggest attraction.
For the few attractions in the town itself, go for a walk around the centre. Start at the Hauptplatz or Main Square with the usual array of pretty town houses and churches. Outside the town centre, you will find the hill Seggauberg which I advise you to climb. On top of the hill, there is a castle called Schloss Seggau, built by the Prince Archbishop of Salzburg in the 13th century. Later, it was used by the Bishops of Seckau. Looking at the walls of the castle, you will find several stones that bear relief carvings.
These are Roman stones, mostly tomb stones, that were used as a cheap and pretty material at the construction of Schloss Seggau castle. There is a small exhibitions inside of the castle that also features the private apartments of the Bishop of Seckau and parts of his art collection, but it is not open at fixed times. Check with the excellent tourist information centre of Leibnitz in advance if you want to go inside the castle.
Roman Roots outside of Leibnitz′ Centre
Another hill of interest is the Frauenberg ("Women′s mountain"), with a Baroque church of pilgrimage and a museum built on the foundation of a Roman temple. The museum is thus dedicated to the Roman period. However, religious use of the site even pre-dates the Romans. It was Celtic people who first worshipped their gods in this place, later the area became a temple district under Roman rule. It was dedicated to Isis and serving as the religious centre for the people of the town Flavia Solva, some three kilometres south-east of today′s Leibnitz. In Flavia Solva you can still see some minor excavations of roads and walls.
If you are interested in archaeological findings, you might be happier at Großklein, a village some 12 kilometres southwest of Leibnitz. Here you will find a Celtic museum dedicated to the period of the Hallstatt Culture and Bronze Age. It houses an interesting array of local findings from this time, mostly dug out from graves of what archaeologists think were the children of chieftains from this area.
Back to Leibnitz, you should watch out for the wine festival. It usually takes place on the second weekend of October, when the harvesting is still in progress and the first young wine can be tasted to anticipate the quality of the year. This is also the season of the lightly alcoholic "Sturm" ("Tempest"), grape juice just kissed by the fermentation fairy.
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