Arnold Schwarzenegger may have left Graz, Austria, far behind in his climb from muscle man to movie star and governor-elect of California, but the city and its region, Styria...
Arnold Schwarzenegger may have left Graz, Austria, far behind in his climb from muscle man to movie star and governor-elect of California, but the city and its region, Styria, haven’t forgotten their local hero.
“Here in Styria, we are all behind him all the way,” said Styrian governor Waltraud Klasnic.
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The Graz gym where he built his body is a monument to his development, and a soccer stadium is named after the city’s most famous native son.
Recent plans for a massive 82-foot-tall steel statue of Schwarzenegger were “terminated,” as the local media liked to say, by the movie star’s assertion that the estimated $5 million cost would have been better spent on local charities and services.
Born in Thal, a suburb of Graz, Schwarzenegger moved to the United States in 1969 and took the oath to become a U.S. citizen in 1984. However, his youthful ties to Austria have spawned a small tourism industry back home.
In Graz, travelers can visit the Arnold Schwarzenegger Museum, in the Fitnessparadies gym, with photo displays of Schwarzenegger’s bodybuilding victories alongside his old metal barbells. Or they can take in an event at the 15,350-seat Arnold Schwarzenegger Soccer Stadium, dedicated to the local boy on his 50th birthday in 1997.
The Grand Hotel Wiesler Graz is Schwarzenegger’s top choice when in town, according to Frommer’s Austria guidebook.
Romantics can head out to the Thaler See, a lake north of Graz where Schwarzenegger proposed to his wife, NBC newswoman Maria Shriver.
Schwarzenegger’s contributions to his hometown were recognized in 1997 when the city bestowed its Ring of Honor upon the movie star.