Austrian Open-Air Museum,
Piber Stud & Bärnbach

The famous Lipizzaner horses on an over-exposed photo.

A "Freilichtmuseum" or Open-Air Museum is an array of various old houses, typically farms and other rural buildings, that were taken apart and re-built in their original shape in a museum-like park. There are several Freilichtmuseen in Austria, see this list of Austrian open-air museums.

The biggest one in the country with some 90 buildings is just outside of Graz and a popular day-trip destination from Styria′s capital. Here you can learn about rural architecture from the entire country, whereas other Freilichtmuseen often specialise on certain regions or provinces. The museum is located a bit outside of the village Stübing.

Not far from here, the Austrian stud for the Lipica horses (Lippizaner) can be found. The "original" stud is located in the town of Lippiza (surprise). However, when the this part of Austria suddenly became part of a whole different country and Lippiza turned into Lipica following the collapse of the empire in 1919, the stud moved to the Styrian village of Piber. The Lippizaner are now bred in two studs: The one in Lipica, which is now in Slovenia, and the one in Piber. It is the Austrian one that supplies the Spanish Riding School with horses, though.

The Lippizaner Stud of Piber

Horse-aficionados have to sign up for a tour in order to get into the stud. There you will get a little introduction to the history of the breed and the stud and then you can marvel at the Lippizaners themselves. Whilst only adult animals can be seen in the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, Piber will probably provide you with an opportunity to see some young ones: Lippizaner are born with a black fur and slowly lighten up when they become older.

Most visitors of Piber combine their trip with a stay in nearby Bärnbach. Similar to Piber, this village is known for a single attraction: A parish church that used to be quite unattractive - until Friedensreich Hundertwasser extensively refurbished it. Hundertwasser is often considered an artist of the Wiener Schule des Phantastischen Realismus, although he has his own distinct style.

More Hundertwasser & Nearby Attractions

One of his key-believes was that straight lines lack god. Therefore, you will find corners, edges and walls bending into all sorts of directions at Bärnbach parish church. This comes with twelve gates representing eleven important religions plus faithless people. The designs have all the ingredients of Hundertwasser′s hippie-trippie architecture: Stained glass, colourful tiles, spirals and more spirals. For more of Hundertwasser, go to nearby Blumau or see the Hundertwasser Haus or KunsthausWien in Vienna.

Other nearby attractions include Deutschlandsberg, Ehrenhausen and Leibnitz to the south; the capital Graz to the West; and Judenburg to the West. Note that public transportation in this part of Styria might be time-consuming compared to travelling by your own mean of transport.

Back to: "Styria Sightseeing Guide"

Sightseeing by Austrian Province

Bregenz and Vorarlberg - Innsbruck and Tyrol - Salzburg - Salzkammergut - Graz and Styria - Klagenfurt and Carinthia - Wachau and Lower Austria - Vienna - Burgenland

Further Reading

Official Website of Styria

The Lippizaner Stud of Piber

Official Website of Bärnbach

Photographs of Bärnbach Parish Church