The district town of Hartberg is one of Styria’s best preserved Old Towns and looks back on a very stormy past. The first settlement was at Ringkogel as early as in the Young Stone Age, continuously followed by others in the following cultural epochs.
Hartberg was founded by Margrave Leopold I von Steyr soon after 1122, as the first Traungauer Palatinate on Styrian soil. At first it only comprised the castle, the Johannes chapel, one estate and a mill. The market, which was first mentioned in records in 1128, extended south-eastwards with the church consecrated to the Holy Martin. Due to its political position, Hartberg became the central location in the county – only to be replaced by Graz later on. Many cultural monuments have been preserved from this rich and changeful past. The Hartberg Charnel House is the best known monument, which is thought to originate from the second half of the 12th century.
In 1469, the Imperial mercenary headsman Andreas Baumkirchner conquered Hartberg; a few years later troops of the Hungarian King Matthias Corvinus devastated the town. In 1532 the Turks passed by the town, which was only detrimental to the town’s suburbs. The Haiduci attacked the town in vain in 1605, pillaging only outside the safe town walls.
Hartberg town remained in the possession of the sovereign until 1529, and in this year it was sold to the then governor Siegmund von Dietrichstein. Later on, the town was owned by the Paar dynasty for a longer period of time. This dynasty resided in Hartberg Castle and made a name for themselves as the court postmasters in the 17th century.
The Hartberg Municipal Coat of Arms
A town with a long tradition
In a red bar crossed by a silvery blazon the figure of the Holy Martin sits on a left-striding brown, grey-bridled horse on green ground.
His white, fully-bearded head is covered with a peaked brown hat with an ermelin flap surrounded by a golden gloriole. His clothes consist of a red jerkin as is his hose, a green, yellow-lined coat and brown boots with ermelin bootstrapping.
The saint turns to a white-bearded beggar with white hair who kneels on his right knee beside his horse, holding his hand aloft. The beggar is wrapped only into a brown coat and a grey apron. The blazon is girded by an ornamented steel-coloured surround.