Location within Austria
|• Mayor||Günther Albel (SPÖ)|
|• Total||134.98 km2 (52.12 sq mi)|
|Elevation||501 m (1,644 ft)|
|• Density||460/km2 (1,200/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+1 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+2 (CEST)|
Villach (German pronunciation: [ˈfɪlax] (listen); Slovene: Beljak, Italian: Villaco, Friulian: Vilac) is the seventh-largest city in Austria and the second-largest in the federal state of Carinthia. It is an important traffic junction for southern Austria and the whole Alpe-Adria region. As of January 2018[update], the population is 61,887.
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.
Villach is a statutory city, on the Drau River near its confluence with the Gail tributary, 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:
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.
Villach has a cool summer humid continental climate (Köppen Dfb).
|Climate data for Villach 1971-2000|
|Average high °C (°F)||1.4
|Daily mean °C (°F)||−3.2
|Average low °C (°F)||−6.4
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||46.8
|Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm)||5.9||5.3||7.1||9.0||10.4||12.0||11.9||10.1||8.2||8.3||7.7||6.3||102.2|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||84.4||120.3||160.6||167.7||208.4||214.3||245.2||227.2||190.3||142.0||85.9||73.2||1,919.5|
The oldest human traces found in Villach date back to the late Neolithic. Many Roman artifacts have been discovered in the city and its vicinity, as it was near an important Roman road (today called Römerweg) leading from Italy into the Noricum province established in 15 BC. At the time, a mansio named Sanctium was probably located at the hot spring in the present-day Warmbad quarter south of the city centre. After the Migration Period and the Slavic settlement of the Eastern Alps about 600 AD, the area became part of the Carantania principality.
When about 740 Prince Boruth enlisted the aid of Duke Odilo of Bavaria against the invading Avars, he had to accept Bavarian overlordship. An 878 deed of donation, issued by the Carolingian ruler Carloman of Bavaria, mentioned a bridge (ad pontem Uillach) near the royal court of Treffen, in what is today Villach. In 979 Emperor Otto II enfeoffed Bishop Albuin of Brixen with the Villach manor. After his death, King Henry II in 1007 ceded the settlement to the newly established Bishopric of Bamberg. The bishops also held the adjacent estates along the strategically important route to Italy up to Pontafel, which they retained until 1759 while the surrounding Carinthian ducal lands passed to the Austrian House of Habsburg in 1335.
Villach received market rights in 1060, though it was not mentioned as a town in records until about 1240. The parish church dedicated to St. James was first documented in 1136. Emperor Frederick II conferred the citizens the right to hold an annual fair on the feast of 25 July (Jakobitag) in 1222. The 1348 Friuli earthquake devastated large parts of the town; another devastating earthquake occurred in 1690. There were also several fires in Villach, which destroyed many buildings. The first documented mayor took office in the 16th century.
From 1526 onwards, many citizens turned Protestant and the Villach parish became a centre of the new faith within the Carinthian estates, which entailed harsh Counter-Reformation measures by the ecclesiastical rulers. From about 1600, numerous residents were forced to leave the town, precipitating an 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 "hereditary lands" of the Habsburg monarchy and became the administrative seat of a Carinthian district.
During the Napoleonic Wars, the city was occupied by French troops and became part of the short-lived Illyrian Provinces from 1809, until it was re-conquered by the forces of the Austrian Empire in 1813 and incorporated into the Austrian Kingdom of Illyria by 1816. The city's economy was decisively promoted by a western branch of the Southern Railway line, which finally reached Villach in 1864, providing growth and expansion. By 1880, the town had a population of 6,104. In World War I, Villach near the Italian front was the seat of the 10th Army command of the Austro-Hungarian Army.
The town obtained statutory city status during the interwar period on 1 January 1932. After the Austrian Anschluss to Nazi Germany in 1938, the mayor of Villach was Oskar Kraus, an enthusiastic Nazi. On 9 November 1938 Villach was a site of the nationwide Kristallnacht pogroms with violent attacks on the Jewish population. 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.
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. Today, Villach is a bustling city with commerce and recreation, yet it retains its historic background.
The municipal council (Gemeinderat) consists of 45 members, with the mayor as president, and following the 2015 elections:
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.
In the March 2015 elections, Günther Albel was elected with 55.46 per cent of the votes cast.
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||1,549|
Villach is twinned with:
There are several festivals throughout the year: