S T A D T S C H L A I N I N G
This quote of legendary Andreas Baumkircher, medieval leader of mercenaries, marks the beginning of the changeable history of Stadtschlaining , the smallest town of the Austrian province of Burgenland and – with approx. 2.000 inhabitants in its municipality – the second smallest town of Austria. It is located 120 km south of Vienna, 100 km north of Graz and just half an hour by car from the nearest town in Hungary, Szombathely. Stadtschlaining with its medieval city centre is embedded in a beautiful hilly countryside, and therefore offers possibilities for soft tourism and recreation like walking and riding bicycles.
The first mention of Stadtschlaining castle , the core of the small city, was in a document dating from 1271. However, it received its historical importance only when the knight Andreas Baumkircher purchased the castle from the emperor Friedrich III. in 1446. Baumkircher created himself a lasting memorial by founding “his town”, which was passed on to the Hungarian aristocrat family Batthyány after the knight’s family died out. However, the picturesque rows of medieval houses and the whole historical ensemble of the town came into being as a result of the intensive building activities in Baumkircher’s days and are until today impressive ambassadors of Schlaining’s golden days.
Like the whole region of Burgenland, Stadtschlaining became part of Austria only after the Treaty of Staint Germain 1919. In 1991 Stadtschlaining regained the status of a city!
In Stadtschlaining, there are two major Christian denominations, the Roman Catholics and the Protestants with their respective churches marking the sky-line. Until the beginning of the 20th century there was a Jewish community living here too but due to economic reasons they moved from Schlaining to the close-by capitals Graz and Szombathely. The beautifully restored former Synagogue is nowadays hosting the local peace library.
Indeed, peace is key in Stadtschlaining.
In 1982 the Study Centre for Peace and Conflict Resolution (ASPR) was founded in Stadtschlaining as an independent, non-profit and non-partisan organisation. The ASPR aims to contribute to the promotion of peace and peaceful conflict resolution and to the dissemination of practical ideas for peace. In order to carry out these tasks, the ASPR conducts and evaluates research in line with its objectives, engages in training and education, and conducts scientific courses. It also publishes several periodicals dealing with peace issues. Several major conferences are organised each year, including a summer academy and an annual international meeting of peace researchers on "The State of Peace." ASPR was the founder of the University Center for Peace Studies (EPU) . In order to help to facilitate ASPR activities, ASPR set up an unique infrastructure including the Peace Library in a former synagogue, a Conference Center in Schlaining Castle , the Hotel Burg Schlaining , and Haus International , which is a student hostel. For these and other efforts, the ASPR was awarded the UN "Peace Messenger" status in 1987, and, together with the EPU, the UNESCO-Price for Peace Education 1995.
Since its beginning, the ASPR is based in the beautifully-preserved fortress which has been restored with modern facilities providing classrooms, conference space, administrative offices, and a café. A major part of the castle houses the European Peace Museum with its permanent and special exhibitions.
Stadtschlaining and its facilities frequently serve as the venue for meetings of international organizations, such as the UN, UNESCO, or the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Stadtschlaining has also hosted a number of high-level peace negotiations related to conflicts in Bosnia, East Timor, and Sri Lanka.
The province of South Burgenland, with Stadtschlaining in its heart, is a territory with a changing history. At a crossroads of peoples and cultures, peace was a rather unsteady guest. In today’s Burgenland a particular spirit of tolerance and mutual respect has developed, making harmonious coexistence of the various ethnic groups possible including the Croats, the Hungarians, and the Roma who live together with majority of German speaking inhabitants.
Peace can also be measured by the little things in every-day life, like for example in Stadtschlaining: The smallest University Town in the world lives in union with other villages, each of them having its very particular history and background, character and inhabitants with their idiosyncrasies:
Neumarkt im Tauchental
However, all of these diverse communities form a harmonious unity called Stadtschlaining.
Stadtschlaining and the surrounding province of " Südburgenland " (Southburgenland) are not exactly what we mean by the “great wide world”. For tourists, visiting Schlaining means a travel through time into a region where people still live in peace and harmony with nature. Even in the region’s capital and biggest city Oberwart there is no real industry, thus the nature is well preserved all around.
Beautiful trails for bikers and hikers invite you to discover this natural landscape step by step. In the neighbouring Bad Tatzmannsdorf visitors can enjoy a unique spa and relaxing thermal bath as well as gorgeous golf courses.
Stadtschlaining is also the starting point for excursions into the idyllic “Weinstrasse” (wine route) of the Südburgenland where one can discover charming vineyards with “Heurigen” (taverns of wine) and cider producing farmers, natural parks, museums, as well as more ancient castles and magical palaces, all waiting to be wakened by a kiss.
The tourist office is ready to assist you with further information about Stadtschlaining as well as the region in which’s heart the medieval town is beating...