Located between Salzburg and Vienna in Upper Austria, Steyr contains an industrial centre side-by-side natural landscapes and an old town square which contains the most well-preserved medieval urban complex in Austria as well as also accommodating other styles of the past with gothic, renaissance, baroque and rococo buildings.
Steyr is also famous for both its iron industry and its infant Jesus culture. In 1844, the largest European weapon factor was established there which ensured Steyr's industrial importance in Austria and the wider continent. Meanwhile, the town also hosts internationally renowned Christmas traditions and is located 3km from Christkindl in Unterhimmel. Christkindl is a popular destination among religious pilgrims for being a church built around a pine tree, containing a small wax figure of the infant Jesus which was given credit for healing an epileptic bandmaster called Ferdinand Serti who prayed there several times a week.
To demonstrate the strong cultural solidarity between the two Christmas towns, the Mayor of Steyr, Hermann Leithenmayr and the Mayor of Bethlehem, Hanna Nasser signed a twinship agreement. After this decision to establish an official and friendly relationship, Austria's official mint was commissioned by both of the municipalities to coin a medal in silver which commemorates this town partnership.
This remains a lived partnership that finds expression in a spiritual, historical and cultural attachment and a want to provide support in development work. Club Steyr, a branch of one of the world's largest service organizations for professional women Soroptimist International, coordinated a peace project in 2005 to raise support from corporate and private sponsors for Caritas Baby Hospital in Bethlehem.