Carinthia has a rich cultural and religious heritage as many different civilisations resided in the region since Prehistory.
Here are some examples of historically significant places, sites and artefacts:
- Prehistory and Proto-history: Figures made out of led and Celtic weapons from Frög and Förk; Venetian Inscriptions found in the Upper Gailtal.
- The Romans: Jüngling from Magdalensberg (a copy can be found in the Kunsthistorische Museum in Vienna); Statues und Mosaics from Virunum, Juenna, Teurnia.
- Early-Christianity: Teurnia, Hemmaberg, Duel and others.
- The Early Middle Age: Molzbichl, Karnburg.
Some architectonic treasures and famous monuments include:
- Romantic: the Gurker Dom, Abbey St. Paul / Lavanttal and Millstatt
- Gothic: Maria Saal, Wolfsberg, St. Andrä/Lavanttal, Friesach, Ossiach, Villach, St. Veit/Glan, Heiligenblut) and
- Renaissance: Schloss Porcia in Spittal an der Drau.
Next to castles and palaces dating back to the Middle Ages you find much religious art in Carinthia. Examples are:
- Romanic and gothic mural paintings (Master Thomas Artula, Villach) decorate churches.
- Painted lent veils („Fastentücher“) - A feature that is not so common elsewhere.
- Many church-grounds host ossuary’s and on rural pathways you come across numerous waysight shrines („Bildstöcke“).
Austria has a very rich and old cultural tradition, foremost in the fields of music and literature. One of the most important yearly events that celebrate this tradition is the Carinthian Summer Music Festival in Villach, the most mediterranean town of Carinthia. This festival was first organised in 1969, in the Abbey of Ossiach. Linked to world famous artists since its beginnings, this event continues to celebrate Austria's long-standing engagement with the arts and music with the best international musicians and performers (click the link).
One of the best-known German-Language Literature Festivals is the Ingeborg Bachmann Preis in Klagenfurt (please look here). Famous Carinthian writers include Christine Lavant, Ingeborg Bachmann, Gert Jonke, Peter Handke, Peter Turrini, Josef Winkler, and Maja Haderlap (Bachmann winner 2011) among others.
Local writers, such as for instance Anton Martin Slomšek and Matija Majar Ziljski have, in conjunction with the association Hermagoras, also opened doors for like-wise recognition of literature in Slovenian language. Celebrated writers include Milka Hartman, Florian Lipuš, Janko Mesner, Karell Smolle, Janko Ferk, and Maja Haderlap.
You may also explore cultural events and theatre of smaller production houses inspired to enrich the region's diversity in the expression of art. Klagenfurt's main theatre offers a programme that includes classical theatre, opera, and musicals (please follow the link). Contemporary theatre, world premieres, and first releases of foreign-language plays in German are put on stage by the much smaller Neue Bühne in Villach (look here).
"Music weeks" in the Abbey of Millstatt or the "Music Forum" in the Abbey of Viktring are only two examples of excellent musical escapes in Carinthia.
Another well-known feature of Carinthia's music landscape are local choruses. There are hundreds of them and of anyone can join.
To contact any of them you may access the choir register on www.chormusik.at.
Carinthia is also the birthplace and/or place of residence of several contemporary artists. The list includes painters Maria Lassnig, Cornelius Kolig, Valentin Oman, Hans Staudacher, Angelika Kaufmann, Giselbert Hoke as well as Anton Kolig, Franz Wiegele, Sebastian Isepp, Herbert Boeckl, Anton Mahringer, A. J. Clementschitsch, Giselbert Hoke, Hans Bischoffshausen, Kiki Kogelnik among others.
Much information about museums, galleries, architecture, sculpting, painting and other cultural offers you find here.
The "Kärntner Freilichtmuseum" in Maria Saal shows typical farms, houses and stables.
Cultivation of folkloric tradition is as much a priority as the protection of nature in Austria (Nationalpark Hohe Tauern, Nockgebiet).
Another tourist attraction is the "Minimundus" in Klagenfurt, where miniature models of world-famous buildings are exhibited.
Traditional rites that are still alive in Charinthia include
- the four-mountain pilgrimage (Vierberge-Wallfahrt),
- a two-hour dance that miners of the 15th century performed at the end of spring (Reiftanz),
- and two events that celebrate horse-riding skills. One is a horse race inspired by a local legend where-by the fastest gets the girl (Kranzelreiten).
- The other probably finds its origins in knighthood jousts. Young men, armed with an iron-cudgel, aim to dismantle a wooden barrel while riding bareback horses (Kufenstechen).
- There are also traditional fairs such as the one in St. Veit an der Glan and Bleiburg, or the Villacher Kirchtag, where festivities and tradition takes over the city for a whole week.