European cities have a habit of secreting the best places behind innocuous walls. There is the Vrtbov Garden in Prague, the Sebastiansfriedhof in Salzburg, and this peaceful oasis near the Hauptplatz.
Founded by Minorites in A.D. 1239, the Franziskaner Klosterkirche is the oldest monastery in Graz. When the Franciscan order split in the 16th century, those who stayed loyal to the Minorite ideals had to move out. They eventually found a new place, the Mariahilferkirche, to the west of the river. But the remaining Franciscans friars pray in the monastery to this day.
Tips for Visiting
The Franziskanerkloster and the Franziskanerkirche are located at the end of Neutorgasse, on the other side of the river from the Kunsthaus and right in the heart of the Franziskanerviertel. The church, the original Gothic cloisters, and the monastery’s small garden are open to the public. Around the walls of the cloister, look for the names and professions of distinguished city residents who were buried here.