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 2016)[1]
 • Total 1,503
 • 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. The municipality is an internationally known winter sports resort on the mountain range Arlberg.

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.

In the last decades, the small town has developed into a flourishing municipality by the influence of winter tourism and increasingly, also by summer tourism.

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, Warth and Schröcken, not least as a result of new lifts introduced for the 2013/14 and 2016/17 seasons, creating the largest connected ski area in Austria and one of the largest in Europe.

Together these villages 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.

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

Other attractions[edit]

Church St Nicholas of Lech

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[3]
  • "Horizon-Fields": life sized human sculptures by the sculptor Antony Gormley, which were placed in the mountains surrounding Lech, at an altitude of 2039 metres. Originally numbering 100, most were removed in April 2012, although some few still remain remain.[4]
  • The green ring: a three-day tour around Lech-Zürs in Vorarlberg, where a literary hiking guide serves as a guide. Along the trail are 35 art-installations about local people, culture and stories. It was a LEADER-Project, done by the two artists: Daniela Egger and Daniel Kocher. The art and literature project "The Green Ring" is to be continuously and sustainably expanded and extended in the coming years.[5]

Regular events[edit]

There are numerous events happening in Lech.

  • The white ring (DE: weißer Ring) is the longest ski race in the world, according to Guinness Book of Records. 5.500 meters of altitude, 22 km of ski runs. Skipionier Sepp Bildstein is the inventor of the White Ring, the ski resort that has been connecting the villages of Lech, Zürs, Zug and Oberlech for over 50 years.[6] In 1940, the first ski lift was built on the White Ring, thus laying the foundations for a legendary skiing holiday. In addition to 22 km of ski runs, the Wintersporters have a unique mountain backdrop, which invites visitors to the sightseeingtour thanks to viewing platforms and art installations. The race at the White Ring was held in 2006 for the 50th anniversary of the ski resort. The track record has been maintained since the beginning of the former ski racer Patrick Ortlieb with a time of 44:35:07 minutes.[7]
  • Medicinicum Lech: A public health event that deals with topics related to health and nutrition.[8]
  • Arlberg Classic Car Rally: In 2017, for the 8th time, 120 classic cars from 1908 to 1973 are on tour between Arlberg and Zugspitze for three days as a rolling museum. In memory of the great achievements of the former road builders, the beginning of the really leads from Lech down through the Flexenpassgalerie to Stuben and finally to Wald am Arlberg. The route between Lech and Zürs was opened in 1897 and is regarded as a technical masterpiece.[9]

Notable residents[edit]

Sister cities[edit]

In fiction[edit]

Lech is at the center of the thriller "An Exchange of Eagles" by Own Sela, in which a group of German and American conspirators in 1940 tries to assassinate Adolf Hitler during the dictator's stay at the resort.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Statistik Austria - Bevölkerung zu Jahresbeginn 2002-2016 nach Gemeinden (Gebietsstand 1.1.2016) for Lech.
  2. ^ Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004), retrieved 2017-05-22 
  3. ^ "Lechmuseum – Huber-Hus". Lechmuseum (in German). Retrieved 2017-05-22. 
  4. ^ "KUNSTHAUS BREGENZ - HORIZON FIELD". www.kunsthaus-bregenz.at. Retrieved 2017-05-22. 
  5. ^ Arlberg, Lech Zürs am. "The Green Ring - Der Grüne Ring". www.dergruenering.at (in German). Retrieved 2017-05-24. 
  6. ^ "Der Weiße Ring". www.derweissering.at (in German). Retrieved 2017-05-22. 
  7. ^ "The white ring - table of winners". 
  8. ^ Arlberg, Lech Zürs am. "Medicinicum Lech". www.lech-zuers.at. Retrieved 2017-05-22. 
  9. ^ GmbH, Lech Zür Toursimus. "- Der Grüne Ring". www.arlbergclassic-car-rally.at (in German). Retrieved 2017-05-22. 

External links[edit]