Villach

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Villach
Drava riverside
Drava riverside
Coat of arms of Villach
Coat of arms
Villach is located in Austria
Villach
Villach
Location within Austria
Coordinates: 46°37′N 13°51′E / 46.617°N 13.850°E / 46.617; 13.850Coordinates: 46°37′N 13°51′E / 46.617°N 13.850°E / 46.617; 13.850
Country Austria
State Carinthia
District Statutory city
Government
 • Mayor Helmut Manzenreiter (SPÖ)
Area
 • Total 134.89 km2 (52.08 sq mi)
Elevation 501 m (1,644 ft)
Population (1 January 2013)[1]
 • Total 59,646
 • Density 440/km2 (1,100/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 9500
Area code 04242
Vehicle registration VI
Website villach.at

Villach (German pronunciation: About this sound /ˈfɪlax/ ; Slovene: Beljak, Italian: Villaco, Friulian: Vilac) is the seventh-largest city in Austria and the second-largest in the federal state of Carinthia. It represents an important traffic junction for southern Austria and the whole Alpe-Adria region. As of December 2006, the population is 58,480.[2]

Together with other Alpine towns Villach engages in the Alpine Town of the Year Association for the implementation of the Alpine Convention to achieve sustainable development in the Alpine Arc. In 1997, Villach was the first town to be awarded Alpine Town of the Year.

Geography[edit]

Main square

Villach, a statutory city, is located on the Drava (Drau) River near the confluence with the Gail tributary. Situated at the western rim of the Klagenfurt basin, the municipal area stretches from the slopes of the Gailtal Alps (Mt. Dobratsch) down to Lake Ossiach in the northeast.

The Villach city limits comprise the following districts and villages:

  • Bogenfeld (slov. Vognje Polje)
  • Dobrova (Dobrova)
  • Drautschen (Dravče)
  • Drobollach am Faaker See (Drobolje ob Baškem jezeru)
  • Duel (Dole)
  • Egg am Faaker See (Brdo ob Baškem jezeru)
  • Goritschach (Goriče)
  • Graschitz (Krošče)
  • Gratschach (Grače pri Šentrupertu)
  • Greuth (Rute pri Beljaku)
  • Gritschach (Griče)
  • Großsattel (Sedlo)
  • Großvassach (Velike Laze pri Beljaku)
  • Heiligen Gestade
  • Heiligengeist (Sveti Duh)
  • Kleinsattel (Malo Sedlo)
  • Kleinvassach (Male Laze pri Beljaku)
  • Kratschach (Hrašče pri Mariji na Zilji)
  • Kumitz
  • Landskron (Vajškra)
  • Maria Gail (Marija na Zilji)
  • Mittewald ober dem Faaker See (Na Dobrovi)
  • Mittewald ob Villach
  • Neufellach (Nova Bela)
  • Neulandskron (Nova Vajškra)
  • Obere Fellach (Gornja Bela)
  • Oberfederaun (Gornji Vetrov)
  • Oberschütt (Rogaje pod Dobračem)
  • Oberwollanig
  • Pogöriach (Pogorje)
  • Prossowitsch (Prosoviče)
  • Rennstein
  • Serai (Seraje)
  • St. Andrä
  • St. Georgen
  • St. Leonhard
  • St. Magdalen
  • St. Michael
  • St. Niklas an der Drau (Miklavž na Dravi)
  • St. Ruprecht
  • St. Ulrich
  • Tschinowitsch (Činoviče)
  • Turdanitsch (Trdaniče pri Mariji na Zilji)
  • Untere Fellach (Spodnja Bela)
  • Unterfederaun (Pod Vetrovom)
  • Unterschütt (Zabuče pri Brnci)
  • Unterwollanig
  • Urlaken
  • Villach-Auen (Log pri Beljaku)
  • Villach-Innere Stadt (Beljak - Mesto)
  • Villach-Lind (Beljak - Lipa)
  • Villach-Seebach-Wasenboden
  • Villach-St. Agathen und Perau
  • Villach-St. Martin
  • Villach-Völkendorf
  • Villach-Warmbad-Judendorf (Beljaške Toplice)
  • Weißenbach
  • Zauchen (Suha pri Vernberku)

In 1905 a part of the municipal area St. Martin was incorporated. In 1973 the city area was further enlarged through the incorporation of Landskron, Maria Gail and Fellach.

History[edit]

Drava bridge near the city centre

The oldest human traces found in Villach date back to the Neolithic. Many Roman artifacts have been discovered in the city, as it was near an important Roman road (today called Römerweg) from Italy into the Noricum province established in 15 BC. A mansio named Sanctium was probably located at the hot spring in Warmbad south of the city centre. After the Slavic settlement of the Eastern Alps about 600, the area was part of the Carantania principality, and under Bavarian overlordship from about 740.

An 878 deed of donation, issued by the Carolingian ruler Carloman of Bavaria, mentions a bridge in what is today Villach.[citation needed] In 979 Emperor Otto II enfeoffed Bishop Albuin of Brixen with the Villach manor. The adjacent settlement was given to the Bishopric of Bamberg in 1007 and received market town status in 1060, though Villach was not mentioned as a town in records until 1240. The first mayor took office in the 16th century.

The 1348 Friuli earthquake destroyed a large parts of the town, another devastating earthquake occurred in 1690. There were also several fires in Villach, which destroyed many buildings.

From 1526 onwards, many citizens turned Protestant, which entailed harsh Counter-Reformation measures by the ecclesiastical rulers, forcing numerous residents to leave the town and precipitating the economic decline. In 1759 the Habsburg empress Maria Theresa formally purchased the Bamberg territories in Carinthia for a price of one million guldens. Villach was incorporated into the lands of the Habsburg Monarchy and became the administrative seat of a Carinthian district. During the Napoleonic Wars, the city was part of the French Illyrian provinces from 1809, until it was re-conquered by the forces of the Austrian Empire in 1813.

The city's economy was decisively promoted by the Südbahn railway, which finally reached Villach in 1864, providing growth and expansion. In World War I, the town near the Italian front was the seat of the 10th Army command of the Austro-Hungarian Army.

During the period of the Austrian Anschluss to Nazi Germany (1938–45), the mayor of Villach was Oskar Kraus, an enthusiastic Nazi.[3] A memorial for the 1919 border conflict that led to the Carinthian Plebiscite caused controversy when it was inaugurated in 2002, as Kraus, who had not been especially prominent in the conflict, was the only person named.[4]

During World War II, allied forces bombed Villach 37 times. About 42,500 bombs killed 300 people and damaged 85% of the buildings. Nevertheless the city quickly recovered.[5] Today, Villach is a bustling city with commerce and recreation, yet it retains its historic background.

Population[edit]

Historical population
Year Pop.   ±%  
1910 27,451 —    
1923 30,883 +12.5%
1934 34,085 +10.4%
1939 36,012 +5.7%
1951 43,358 +20.4%
1961 47,170 +8.8%
1971 51,112 +8.4%
1981 52,692 +3.1%
1991 54,640 +3.7%
2001 57,497 +5.2%
2011 59,285 +3.1%
2014 60,004 +1.2%

Politics[edit]

Town hall

Municipal council[edit]

The municipal council (Gemeinderat) consists of 45 members, with the mayor as president, and following the 2009 elections is composed of:[6]

City government[edit]

The city government of Villach (Stadtsenat) consists of seven members. It is chaired by the mayor, who is directly elected by the people. The other members—two vice-mayors and four town councillors—are appointed by the municipal council, with party affiliations according to the election results.

  • Mayor Helmut Manzenreiter, SPÖ
  • First vice-mayor Richard Pfeiler, SPÖ
  • Second vice-mayor Wally Rettl, FPK
  • Councillor Mag. Gerda Sandriesser, SPÖ
  • Councillor Mag. Peter F. Weidinger, ÖVP
  • Councillor Mag. Hilde Schaumberger, SPÖ
  • Councillor Mag. Dr. Josef Zauchner, FPK

In the March 2009 elections, Helmut Manzenreiter, mayor since 1987,[7] was reelected with 56.89 per cent of the votes cast.[6]

Largest groups of foreign residents[8]
Nationality Population (2010)
 Bosnia and Herzegovina 1,549
 Germany 1,309
 Croatia 1,163
 Russia 358
 Italy 337
 Slovenia 299

Twin towns — Sister cities[edit]

Villach is twinned with:

Festivals[edit]

There are several festivals throughout the year:

  • The carnival in Villach (which starts on November 11 and ends on March 4)
  • The arts and crafts festival (with self made goods)
  • Villacher Fasching or Mardi Gras
  • The streets-art festival (displays performances of artists and singers)
  • The "Villacher Kirchtag" (a festival spanning a whole week in summer and ends on August's first Saturday.)
  • Performances on a floating stage on the Drau River

Notable citizens[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Statistik Austria - Bevölkerung zu Jahres- und Quartalsanfang, 2013-01-01.
  2. ^ "Einwohnerzahl und Komponenten der Bevölkerungsentwicklung (Population and Components of Population Growth)" (pdf) (in German). Statistik Österreich (English Version). 2007-11-29. Retrieved 2007-12-27. 
  3. ^ Lisa Rettl, Werner Koroschitz, "Ein korrekter Nazi: Oskar Kraus, ns-oberbürgermeister von Villach", Drava (2006), ISBN 3-85435-501-7
  4. ^ ORF Kärnten, "Oskar Kraus - ein korrekter Nazi" (German)
  5. ^ "Luftkrieg (aerial warfare) "Ostmark"". www.airpower.at (in German). Martin Rosenkranz. 2003-08-13. Retrieved 2007-12-18. 
  6. ^ a b Wahlergebnisse 2009
  7. ^ Unser Bürgermeister - Helmut Manzenreiter personal website (in German)
  8. ^ "Statistisches Jahrbuch 2011". www.villach.at. Stadt Villach - Melde- und Standesamt, Statistik. Retrieved 2014-07-23. 

External links[edit]