Thal & Jakobus Church
Thalersee and Jakobus Church
A famous son, green forest and a romantic lake – more than enough reasons to visit the pretty market town of Thal bei Graz. A visit to the Ernst Fuchs church, or St. Jakob parish church, rounds off your trip. Designed by that well-known Austrian artist, the church glitters with crystal glass, iridesces in the colours of the rainbow and is packed with mystical symbols. Whether summer or winter, Thalersee lake offers welcome opportunities for relaxation and happiness.
Close to the city but in the countryside makes Thal an ideal place to live. Starting in the mid-20th century, increasing numbers of people moved here and the parish church, erected in 1739, became too small for them. In 1992, architect Manfred Fuchsbichler planned a large-scale extension to the building and was able to recruit a renowned Austrian artist to make the design: Ernst Fuchs, probably the most famous representative of the "Vienna School of Fantastic Realism", created a place of sensory experience. A pilgrim's trail paved with gravel leads around and into the church which is dedicated to the patron saint of pilgrims, St. James (Jakobus). The scallop, the symbol of St. James, is reflected in the shape of the seats and the holy water font. The mirrors framing the floor symbolise the Sea of Galilee. The altar, the cross above it, the ambon and the flambeaux - everything is made of glittering crystal glass. Massive murals, intensive colours - Ernst Fuchs has created a universal work of art to bring us closer to "Heavenly Jerusalem". The church is not everyone's taste - but without doubt, it is one of the most unconventional churches in Styria.
If you would like to learn more about Arnold Schwarzenegger, you should follow the Arnold Schwarzenegger trail. It starts at the church and describes important stages in his life. You have a choice of three routes, each one varying in length. The trail also passes Thalersee lake, a favourite recreation area for the people of Graz. In summer you can ride a boat or fish on the lake. In winter, sports fans are attracted by its frozen surface and a cross-country skiing trail. Golfers can indulge in their sports at Thal on a demanding 18-hole championship course or a 9-hole pitch course which is also open to beginners.