Graz. Arsenal of privates


View of the city of Graz and Mount Schlossberg. The city is old, very beautiful, there are few tourists in it, and you can also ride it on a free municipal tram!

Where our favorite city stands
Amid the green of Moore, like a dress, satin,
Where the spirit of art and knowledge reigns

There in the true temple of beautiful nature -
Beautiful land - Styria land,
Earth is dear, my homeland!
Hymn of Styria. Dachstein Song 1844 Translation by Arkady Kuznetsov


Military museums of Europe. The city referred to in the epigraph is Graz, which is today the capital of Styria, and in the past even the capital of Austria. The city is old and very beautiful. In any case, those who visited it say so. I personally did not happen, just drove by and admired it from afar. But those who have been there report that the center of Graz is quite small in size. It is quite possible to get around it all in a day, with simultaneous visits to museums. True, this is only if you just walk and watch. “Sell your eyes” ... Visiting some museums for some “visitors” would require much more time. One of them is the Arsenal Museum (Landeszeughaus). And someone who, and I certainly would not have quickly left him. Fortunately, we live in the information society today. You find the site of the museum or organization you need and apply there with a letter. An answer comes with permission to use their photographic materials, after which you take and use. Usually answers of this kind come from the West: “Oh, how good it is that you turned to us. Here’s your password, access code for all information - use it. ” An answer came from our Armory in the Kremlin too, but there I was asked for 6500 rubles for the right to publish one image of a museum item on the site. Just lovely, isn't it? Well, let’s do without them. But about this very Arsenal in Graz on the pages of "VO" very many wanted to know in more detail, and now I can talk about it.


View of the city of Graz from Mount Schlossberg. The strange building on the left resembling holoturia is Kunsthaus. It’s also a museum, or rather a gallery of modern art, opened as part of the Cultural Capital of Europe program in 2003. The concept of this very strange building was developed by famous London architects Peter Cook and Colin Fournier

Well, it will be necessary to start with the fact that the main street of Graz is Central Street, or Herrengasse. Along are the most beautiful buildings of this city. And if you go down this street, you will surely stumble upon a five-story house painted in bright yellow and decorated with baroque sculptures of warlike Mars and the warrior of Minerva, but also a patroness of arts. Above the entrance to the building is the coat of arms of Graz, which adorns the image of the heraldic panther.


Entrance to Arsenal


And this is a view of the building itself

This is the Arsenal and the most amazing thing that is stored in this building ... the largest collection of ancient weapons in Europe. It is clear that the inhabitants of Graz are very proud of their weapons museum and are always ready to ask the tourist, but did he see them Landeszeughaus? Wendalen Beheim, the chief curator of the Imperial Arsenal in Vienna, also once visited here and wrote that this Zeichhaus with all its intact equipment of the first half of the 17th century is a completely unique phenomenon in the world. Moreover, he wrote this in his Encyclopedia of Arms and ... turned out to be not quite right, since there are earlier examples. However, he also reports that some information about this house, standing here since the XIV century, was already in the 1547 year. That is, in the middle of the XVI century there was already an arsenal, and weapons were stored in it.


The guns, let’s say, are the most common here, but look at the wall. What an amazing amount of heavy fortress muskets of tremendous range are exhibited there

However, the building of the workshop was built in 1642 year. And the most interesting thing is that it is filled with armor and weapons that were not assembled here for the sake of the amusement of someone who, like the same emperor Maximilian I (and even more so Maximilian II), decided to collect for his own pleasure. Almost all of the local exhibits, except for a few artifacts from the 15th century, are the real weapons that belonged to the inhabitants of the city.


Here they are, “iron guys”, leaving in rows in the dark. And then there are helmets and cuirasses, cuirasses and helmets, and for the poorest - chain mail. The last even riders at that time often wore a Morion helmet or a bourguignot with a helmet



And these are typical armor of that troubled time: a bourguignot helmet, a breastplate with legguards, and shoulder pads to the elbows. Behind the halberds, with which you could easily chop and chop. The favorite weapon of the Swiss, which brought them more than one victory

Graz. Arsenal of privates

Halberd, the first half of the XVI century. Length 258,8 cm

The museum building is five-story, but it itself occupies the four upper floors, and on the first there is a tourist information center. And now, rising from floor to floor, you will see for yourself that you are in a real weapons warehouse, which contains 32000 of various exhibits from knightly, cuirassier and pikiner armor, including rush, halberds and drums, inclusive. And when the city was in danger of war, its inhabitants came here, armed themselves and went to defend it.

Cavalry sabers and infantry shields of the Rondash type. They came up with arming infantrymen with round metal shields in the Netherlands, and then this fashion was adopted in Spain. Warriors with shields and swords - roundshakers, could confidently act against pikemen and destroy their ranks


The foot soldiers acted with such a weapon: two-handed swords. This sword was made in Styria in the 1575-1600 years. Its length is 171 cm, weight 3,51 kg

But I must say that the threat of attack for a long time hung over Graz constantly. The fact is that the city lies south of the Alps and is located in such a way that it is the “gateway” to the very heart of Austria. Therefore, already in the XV Graz becomes an important outpost, whose task was to repel the Turkish threat.


A very simple and harsh wheeled horseman pistol. South Germany Germany, late 16th century Length 74 cm, Weight 1,73 kg, Caliber 13 mm

In order for the Ottomans to be not unfair to storm the city, a powerful Schlossberg fortress was built in it. But the fortress would not have helped its inhabitants, if not for their courage, thanks to which Graz became famous as a city that has never been captured by the enemy. And when once again the Turks approached the city, the inhabitants of the city dismantled all the weapons stored in its arsenal, and thus were able to arm ... 16 thousand soldiers. Moreover, not anyhow, but to put it in iron armor, hand in hand shields and powerful muskets and pistols with wheel and wick locks.

True, then, in the 1749 year, Empress Maria Theresa ordered this arsenal to be destroyed. But the inhabitants of Styria defended the right to preserve it as a historical monument, and although such arsenals were destroyed throughout the country, an exception was made for the citizens of Graz. They asked the Empress to save him as a monument to their courage and valor in battles with the eternal enemies of Christianity. Then no one had any idea of ​​tolerance towards Gentiles, and such an appeal worked!


Fine leather-lined Raitar armor. Made by Hans Prenner (1645), a gunsmith in Graz. This armor is one of the heaviest in the Arsenal collection. It has a dark gray color of iron and shiny metal at the edges of the plates. The cuirass plates on the chest, back, and helmet were polished smoothly and then black-burnished. To achieve good color contrast, all rivets, tongues for the belt, as well as the nose plate, its holder, screw heads, and hinges were gilded. The helmet has a quilted thick lining, which is sewn to the metal with linen threads, and inside also has a silk satin liner. On earphones and a neck guard of a helmet the inserts with semicircular petals are strengthened. They go along all edges of the gorget, on the front and back of the shoulder pads, as well as on the edges of the plates of the leggings. They are made of leather, which is covered with dark red velvet and edged with a gold border. In the XVII century, such armor was worn mainly by army commanders. The massive, often clumsy form was fully consistent with the image of the body in the Baroque style. Very wide leggings were supposed to hide cotton-filled pants and attached directly to the breastplate of the cuirass. It is believed that such a style in armor could have arisen in the Netherlands, which had a strong influence on European weapons of the first half of the 17th century. By the way, the weight of this armor in “three quarters” is 41,4 kg. That is, they are heavier than ordinary full knightly armor!


Another absolutely amazing Raitarian armor by Michael Witz the Younger, who worked in Innsbruck, around 1550. The client for whom they were made remained unknown. The armor is very simple in design, but this is no less luxurious. All patterns on it are chased from the inside, that is, they stand out in relief against the general background of a metal surface. Then the gaps between the details of the relief were blackened, and the relief surfaces were polished to a shine


Side view of this armor

The weapon is located in the arsenal as follows: on the ground floor (for us it is the second) there is a collection of firearms with wheel and flint locks. Armor and weapons, including tournament ones, are stored on the second and third floors. But again, the most important thing is that knightly armament is here, a lot of armor and weapons, simple armored men - soldiers of ignoble estates. Although there is even horse armor at the beginning of the 16th century, it is clear that this is purely knightly equipment. On the fourth floor, musical instruments are collected, without which then they also did not fight: regimental drums, timpani, flutes, various trumpets and horns.

The horse armor from Konrad Zeusenhofer’s workshop, created at the beginning of the 16th century, is one of the collection’s very valuable exhibits, as it is the only complete horse armor in the Arsenal’s collection, which only emphasizes the rarity of the equipment. Until January 1614, the armor belonged to the Upper Austrian noble family of Lozenstein. Unfortunately, it was not possible to find out whether this armor was ordered on behalf of the Lozenstein or was inherited by them. Then the armor turned out to be Georg von Steinberg-Würnberg, who in 1814 presented them with an arsenal in Graz. It is believed that the beautiful engraving made on these horse armor was made by the Augsburg artist, graphic artist and engraver Daniel Hopfer. The coat of arms engraved on them belongs to Georg von Stubenberg-Würnberg

Unfortunately, the combination of letters “IEVVDHH” engraved on the armor does not provide any specific information about its first owner or customer. Armor weight - 42,2 kg.


Rear view of this armor. Pay attention to the details of the tournament armor hung on the walls behind the horse. First of all, it is a shteh-tarchi on the left shoulder with a grid for fights in combat armor through the barrier

But how much is stored there:
2414 swords, swords and sabers;
5395 units of pole arms - peak, spears, halberds, protazans, etc .;
3844 armor sets? Breastplates, helmets, chain mail, shields, and knightly armor;
3867 rifles and 4259 pistols, as well as powder flasks, natruzki and bandelery;
704 guns, including falconets, scolopendras, stone cores, three organ guns, shuffles and all that jazz, starting from 1500.
50 heavy guns were removed from the first floor of the Arsenal when Napoleon’s troops approached Graz in order not to give rise to reprisals. But then they were not returned to their place, but the bells were cast from them.


Polished armor for the “new” Italian tournament through the barrier, Augsburg, 1570-158

Now here is the question that constantly pops up in the comments on VO: why doesn’t such a mass of old iron rust? After all, it is clear that such an amount of second-rate weapons cannot be remodels. His fake would simply not have recouped the costs, not to mention the entries in the documents of the arsenal. First, we note that the exhibits of the museum are well looked after, and the masters of their craft. Secondly, the fact is that the Arsenalo building was built in the technology traditional for those years: that is, it only has stone walls, and the ceilings, floors and wall panels are wooden. And not just wood - oak. And the tree absorbs moisture well, therefore, a special atmosphere is created inside the premises of the Arsenal, in which its exhibits feel very good.


"Field Armor" of Archduke Charles II of Inner Austria. Work of the gunsmith Conrad Richter, Augsburg, circa 1565


Caspar's armor of Baron Wols-Schenberg, Work of the gunsmith Michael Witz Jr., Innsbruck 1560

An interesting fact, in the 30 years - and our Pravda reported this for some reason, Adolf Hitler came to Graz as "Chancellor of the German nation." According to a newspaper article, one cannot judge whether he was in the Arsenal or not. But he could not know about him. What else could the residents of the city boast about before? However, when during the war years Germany experienced a catastrophic shortage of metal, so that even metal grilles were removed from the balconies of the houses, no one touched Graz’s “metal reserves”. Not surprisingly, the precious armor of the Vienna Imperial Arms Collection and the collection of knightly armor of Ambras Castle were not turned into metal. But Grace’s arsenal? This is on 90% mass consumer goods, which is what it is, what is not, in any way, in general, on history does not affect. But they didn’t let him into scrap metal and today we can admire the slender rows of “iron guys” and halberds, which go tens of meters into the darkened rooms of the arsenal. I myself have not seen this, but judging by the photographs, the picture is really impressive!


Arsenal facade and ... tram tracks of a free tram in front of it

This completes our tour of Graz's arsenal. But we will still get acquainted with its exhibits in the materials of the series “Military Affairs at the Turn of the Epochs”.

PS The administration of the VO site and the author personally express heartfelt gratitude to the Director of the Museum of the Arsenal (Landeszeughaus) in Graz, Dr. Bettina Habsburg-Loringen for the permission to use photographs of the museum’s artifacts.
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