St Kanzian by Lake Klopeiner See:
Among Carinthia′s most Favourite
The town of St Kanzian by the scenic Lake Klopeiner See is not only one of Carinthia′s most popular destinations for summer holidays, but also among the most-visited municipalities in Austria. Visitors who want to enjoy Austria′s rural charm off the beaten track will not be happy in St Kanzian. The community has almost 4,500 residents and access to three lakes: Lake Klopeiner See, Lake Turnersee and Lake Kleinsee. These are accompanied by the mountain Georgiberg.
Apart from the beautiful landscape, St Kanzian is blessed with a long and culturally rich history: In the surroundings of the modern town, graves were found that date back to the neo-lithic period of the Hallstatt Age. Items were dated to a period from 900 to 300 BC. Some archaeologists believe, that later findings in the area indicate the position of Noreia, the capital of the Celtic kingdom Noricum - it existed from 300 to 15 BC. Further findings from throughout antiquity and early Middle Ages indicate that people lived near or at modern St Kanzian with no significant interruption.
Sightseeing in St Kanzian: Local Churches
The parish church is dedicated to the siblings Kanzius, Kanzian and Kanzianilla - martyrs that were executed in Aquileia in 290. The oldest record of the parish church dates back to the 12th century. However, it is likely to be a fair chunk older. It ranks among the main attractions in terms of classic sightseeing: The core of the church is Romanesque, the choir is late Gothic and dates back to 1518. The second floor was built in a way that the church could also be used for defence purposes. The main nave is Historicist and was built between 1849 and 1860.
Another church worth noting is the cemetery church "Hl. Margareta in Stein". Nearby you find an ancient "Bildstock", a religious memorial that was built in commemoration of Countess Hildegard von Stein, a medieval woman that is locally worshipped as a saint. The tower of "Hl. Margareta in Stein" contains a bell that is called "Wunschglöcklein" ("little bell of wishes"). According to a local legend, young and unmarried women (virgins, of course) used to go to the church and ring this bell in order to receive blessings for finding a man. St. George himself was said to be in charge of the business of finding an appropriate spouse for them.
The village of St Kanzian became a separate municipality only in 1866. At around this time, Carinthia became a popular destination with Viennese aristocrats that spent a few weeks every summer by the lakes of this province. Lake Klopeiner See is considered the warmest of all lakes in Austria, and so St. Kanzian soon developed a strong tradition as a summer holiday destination. After WWII, the town became one of the most popular destinations in Austria.
Things to do in St Kanzian
In 2001, St Kanzian has made big news mostly through the constant conflict between the German-Austrian majority and the Slovene-Austrian minority - some 12.8 percent of the town′s population. The constitutional court of justice decided that the name-plate of the town (which was only German) violated the minority rights that the Austrian constitution grants to Slovenian-Austrians (along with some other ethnic minorities). The struggle between the constitutional court and the predominantly right-wing province of Carinthia has since then turned into something between iconic and comic - depending on your standpoint.
For a relatively small town, St. Kanzian offers quite a lot in terms of sightseeing. The best approach to the combination of landscape and history is probably the "Kulturwanderweg Gracara". It is a theme hiking path derived from the Slovene word for "castle" and takes hikers to some view points, as well as the most important sites of archaeological excavation. At the Gracara itself, you can visit the "Keltenmuseum" (Museum of Celtic Culture) for further information on the local findings.
Attractions nearby are not fundamentally different from St Kanzian itself - mostly consisting of pretty little villages and towns by scenic lakes and mountains. Within reach you can find St. Veit an der Glan and the fortress Burg Hochosterwitz. Carinthia′s capital Klagenfurt is not far, either.