Lech (Vorarlberg)

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Lech
Lech village 2005.jpg
Lech is located in Austria
Lech
Lech
Location within Austria
Coordinates: 47°12′00″N 10°09′00″E / 47.20000°N 10.15000°E / 47.20000; 10.15000Coordinates: 47°12′00″N 10°09′00″E / 47.20000°N 10.15000°E / 47.20000; 10.15000
Country Austria
State Vorarlberg
District Bludenz
Government
 • Mayor Ludwig Muxel
Area
 • Total 90 km2 (30 sq mi)
Elevation 1,444 m (4,738 ft)
Population (1 January 2014)[1]
 • Total 1,507
 • Density 17/km2 (43/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 6764
Area code 05583
Vehicle registration BZ
Website www.gemeinde.lech.at

Lech am Arlberg is a mountain village and an exclusive ski resort in the Bludenz district in the Austrian state of Vorarlberg on the banks of the river Lech. In terms of both geography and history, Lech belongs to the Tannberg district. In tourist terms, however, it is part of the Arlberg region. Lech is administered together with the neighbouring villages of Zürs, Zug, Oberlech and Stubenbach.

History[edit]

Lech was founded in the fourteenth century by Walser migrants from the canton of Wallis in Switzerland.

Until the nineteenth century it was known as Tannberg, but subsequently the full name "Tannberg am Lech" gave rise to the present name Lech.

The church of St Nicholas in Lech, which is thought to have been built in approximately 1390, was the parish church of the Tannberg administrative district, and there was also a Tannberg district court in Lech until the dissolution of the Tannberg district in 1806.

Population[edit]

Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1869 436 —    
1880 410 −6.0%
1890 371 −9.5%
1900 339 −8.6%
1910 352 +3.8%
1923 373 +6.0%
1934 751 +101.3%
1939 606 −19.3%
1951 681 +12.4%
1961 931 +36.7%
1971 1,223 +31.4%
1981 1,270 +3.8%
1991 1,234 −2.8%
2001 1,466 +18.8%
2011 1,627 +11.0%

Ski centre[edit]

In recent years Lech has grown to become one of the world's premier ski destinations and the home of a number of world and Olympic ski champions.

Lech is best known for its skiing (both on-piste and off-piste). It is well connected via mechanical lifts and groomed pistes with the neighbouring villages of Zürs, St Christof, St. Anton, Stuben and, with effect from the 2013/2014 winter, Warth and Schröcken - together they form the Arlberg region, the birthplace of the modern Alpine skiing technique and the seat of the Ski Club Arlberg. Lech is also the starting and finishing point for "Der Weisse Ring" ("The White Ring"), a circle of runs and lifts that is a popular tour and the scene of an annual race involving both experts and others.

Lech is a popular holiday destination for Royal families and celebrities, for example Tom Cruise, Diana, Princess of Wales, and the former Queen Beatrix and the Dutch Royal family. In February 2012, Beatrix's son Prince Johan Friso died from complications after a serious injury in an avalanche while skiing in Lech.[2]

The mountain holiday in the movie Bridget Jones' Diary 2 was shot in Lech.

Other attractions[edit]

Although not as well frequented in the summer as it is in the winter, Lech nevertheless has much to offer the summer visitor, in terms of sporting, cultural, culinary and other activities. There are many premier hotels in Lech, as well as numerous top class restaurants.

One former well-known visitor was the writer Ludwig Bemelmans (author of the Madeline books), whose 1949 novel "The Eye of God" was set in a fictionalised Lech.

Lech has a number of points of cultural interest, including:

  • the church of St Nicholas, which was built in the gothic style in approximately 1390 and was extensively renovated in 1987. Particular features are the rococo interior dating from 1791 (although some earlier romanesque frescoes can also be seen); the 33 metre high tower with its distinctive onion-shaped dome; and bronze bells of which the oldest dates from the beginning of the sixteenth century
  • the historic Huber House, now a museum, which was built in 1590 and shows examples of the earlier way of life and work, including the original kitchen and workshop
  • one hundred life sized human sculptures by the sculptor Antony Gormley, which have recently been placed in the mountains surrounding Lech, at an altitude of 2039 metres. They will be displayed on the mountain until April 2012.
Panorama of Lech am Arlberg.

Notable residents[edit]

Sister cities[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Media related to Lech (Vorarlberg) at Wikimedia Commons