Graz Grunderzeit - Graz in the Gründerzeit, the Era of Industrial Development Graz was an important military stronghold and commercial center in the mining basin of Styria. Archduke Johann of Hapsburg promoted the building of its first railway line in 1844, which was linked to the Vienna-Trieste line in 1857. Members of the rich industrial bourgeoisie were able to make investments that helped expand the city outside the walls, beginning with the 1830s. Graz’s urban development plans were guided by criteria modeled after those of the Ring in Vienna. In the latter 1800s, Graz’s projects for dealing with its increasing population reinforced this tendency, exemplified in the headquarters buildings of local political and economic powers, which give its outer rings its characteristic stately elegance.