Riverside and Wolfsberg Castle
|• Mayor||Hans-Peter Schlagholz (SPÖ)|
|• Total||278.63 km2 (107.58 sq mi)|
|Elevation||463 m (1,519 ft)|
|Population (1 January 2013)|
|• Density||90/km2 (230/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
The town is situated within the Lavanttal Alps, west of the Koralpe range in the valley of the Lavant River, a left tributary of the Drava. In the northeast, the road up to the Packsattel mountain pass connects Wolfsberg with Voitsberg in Styria. Wolfsberg's municipal area of 279 km2 (108 sq mi) is the fourth largest in Austria.
The municipality comprises the cadastral communities Aichberg, Auen, Forst, Gräbern-Prebl, Gries, Hartelsberg, Hattendorf, Hintertheißenegg, Kleinedling, Kleinwinklern, Lading, Leiwald, Michaelsdorf, Oberleidenberg, Priel, Reding, Reideben, Reisberg, Rieding, Ritzing, Schoßbach, Schwemmtratten, Sankt Jakob, Sankt Johann, Sankt Marein, Sankt Margarethen, Sankt Michael, Sankt Stefan, Thürn, Unterleidenberg, Vordergumitsch, Vordertheißenegg, Waldenstein, Weißenbach, Witra, Wolfsberg Obere Stadt, and Wolfsberg Untere Stadt.
The area of Wolfsberg belonged to the estates within the medieval Duchy of Carinthia that were ceded to the Prince-Bishopric of Bamberg, probably already by Emperor Henry II in 1007. The castle above the town was first mentioned as Wolfsperch in an 1178 deed of St. Paul's Abbey in the Lavanttal. The adjacent settlement became the administrative centre of Bamberg's Carinthian territories and in 1331 received town privileges by Prince-Bishop Werntho Schenk von Reicheneck.
During the Protestant Reformation the Bayerhofen Castle residence, first mentioned in 1239 and rebuilt in the 16th century, became a centre of Lutheranism, which nevertheless was suppressed by the Counter-Reformation. In 1759 the Habsburg empress Maria Theresa acquired all Bamberg lands in Carinthia. Wolfsberg Castle was purchased by Count Hugo Henckel von Donnersmarck in 1846 and rebuilt in a Tudorbethan style.
In World War II the village of Priel south of the town centre was the site of the Stalag XVIII-A prisoner-of-war camp with about 7,000 inmates. After the war it served as a detention camp run by the British occupation forces.
Seats in the municipal council (Gemeinderat) as of 2009 local elections:
- Social Democratic Party of Austria (SPÖ): 15
- Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ): 14
- Austrian People's Party (ÖVP): 5
- The Greens – The Green Alternative: 1
Wolfsberg is twinned with:
- Walter Kogler (born 1967), football player
- Heinz Arzberger (born 1972), football player
- Elisabeth Köstinger (born 1978), politician
- Patrick Friesacher (born 1980), racing driver
- Kai Schoppitsch (born 1980), football player
- Christian Prawda (born 1982), football player
The poet Christine Lavant (1915–1973) died in the Wolfsberg state hospital.
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