Landeszeughaus (Styrian Armory), Graz, Austria 1

Landeszeughaus (Styrian Armory), Landhaus, Graz, Austria 1

The Landeszeughaus is a 10-year-old boy’s version of the rapture. As the world’s largest historic armory, it contains 32,000 exhibits on 4 packed floors. Anyone who has seen the Substitutiary Locomotion Battle in Bedknobs and Broomsticks will have some idea of its scope.

Along with pikes, swords, and gruesome weapons of destruction, keep an eye out for the rare (and complete) armored horse and a child’s ceremonial suit of armor.

The Styrian Armory’s collection of 15th-18th century work is particularly fine. Graz held a key defensive position during the Empire’s struggle with Ottoman Turks and Hungarian rebels, and did not hesitate to build up its arsenal.

In 1642, the city decided it needed a permanent home for its stockpile and asked the Tyrolean architect, Antonio Solar, to create a practical solution. The resulting building – floors, ceilings, and wall panels – was sheathed in wood to protect the iron from rusting. It still has the distinctive smell of war-lust.

When Maria Theresa tried to close the Landeszeughaus 100-odd years later, Styria protested. The armory was preserved, but decommissioned. It now stands as a monument to those who fought the “age-old enemy of Christendom” (i.e. the Turks).

Tips for Visiting

The Landeszeughaus can be accessed from the main tourism office on the Herrengasse, next door to the Landhaus. Look for the yellow and white statues of Mars and Minerva.

From April to October, opening hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday and Wednesday-Sunday. From November to March, admission is only through a guided tour. There aren’t many informative panels, so you should probably try a guided tour anyway. Photography (without flash) is allowed.