Villach (ˈfɪlax; , ) is the second largest city in the Carinthia
Carinthia (state)
Carinthia is the southernmost Austrian state or Land. Situated within the Eastern Alps it is chiefly noted for its mountains and lakes.The main language is German. Its regional dialects belong to the Southern Austro-Bavarian group...

 state in the southern Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

, at the Drava
Drava or Drave is a river in southern Central Europe, a tributary of the Danube. It sources in Toblach/Dobbiaco, Italy, and flows east through East Tirol and Carinthia in Austria, into Slovenia , and then southeast, passing through Croatia and forming most of the border between Croatia and...

 River and represents an important traffic junction
Junction (traffic)
A junction, when discussed in the context of transport, is a location where traffic can change between different routes, directions, or sometimes modes, of travel.-Historical significance:...

 for Austria and the whole Alpe-Adria
Alpe-Adria is a bioregion in Central Europe, embracing all of Slovenia, the Austrian states of Carinthia and Styria, and the Italian regions of Friuli-Venezia-Giulia and Veneto. , it is the subject of a proposal to create the world's first organic bioregion....

 region. , the population is 58,480.


The oldest human traces found in Villach date back to 3500 BC. Many Roman
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 artifacts have been discovered in the city, as it was near an important Roman road called the Römerweg. A document mentions a bridge in what is today Villach in 878, and the settlement across the bridge was given market town status in 1060, though Villach is first mentioned in records in 1240. Villach's first mayor took office in the 16th century.

On January 25, 1348, an earthquake destroyed a large part of Villach, followed by another earthquake in 1690. There were also several fires in Villach, which destroyed many buildings.

In 1759 Empress Maria Theresa of Austria
Maria Theresa of Austria
Maria Theresa Walburga Amalia Christina was the only female ruler of the Habsburg dominions and the last of the House of Habsburg. She was the sovereign of Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Bohemia, Mantua, Milan, Lodomeria and Galicia, the Austrian Netherlands and Parma...

 formally purchased Villach, as well as much of Carinthia. During the Napoleonic Wars, Villach was part of the Illyrian provinces
Illyrian provinces
The Illyrian Provinces was an autonomous province of the Napoleonic French Empire on the north and east coasts of the Adriatic Sea between 1809 and 1816. Its capital was established at Laybach...

 of the French Empire from 1809 until 1813.

The Südbahn railway finally reached Villach in 1864, providing growth and expansion.

During the period of the German Anschluss
The Anschluss , also known as the ', was the occupation and annexation of Austria into Nazi Germany in 1938....

 (1938-45) when Austria was annexed to Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

, the mayor of Villach was Oskar Kraus, an enthusiastic Nazi. A memorial for the 1919 border conflict
Carinthian Plebiscite
The Carinthian Plebiscite on 10 October 1920 determined the final southern border between the Republic of Austria and the newly formed Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes after World War I.- History :...

 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
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, 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 following sections belong to Villach:
  • Bogenfeld, Dobrova, Drautschen, Drobollach am Faaker See, Duel, Egg am Faaker See, Goritschach, Graschitz, Gratschach, Greuth, Gritschach, Großsattel, Großvassach, Heiligen Gestade, Heiligengeist, Kleinsattel, Kleinvassach, Kratschach, Kumitz, Landskron, Maria Gail, Mittewald ober dem Faaker See, Mittewald ob Villach, Neufellach, Neulandskron, Obere Fellach, Oberfederaun, Oberschütt, Oberwollanig, Pogöriach, Prossowitsch, Rennstein, Serai, St. Andrä, St. Georgen, St. Leonhard, St. Magdalen, St. Michael, St. Niklas an der Drau, St. Ruprecht, St. Ulrich, Tschinowitsch, Turdanitsch, Untere Fellach, Unterfederaun, Unterschütt, Unterwollanig, Urlaken, Villach-Auen, Villach-Innere Stadt, Villach-Lind, Villach-Seebach-Wasenboden, Villach-St. Agathen und Perau, Villach-St. Martin, Villach-Völkendorf, Villach-Warmbad-Judendorf, Weißenbach, Zauchen

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.

Municipal council

The municipal council (Gemeinderat) consists of 45 members, with the mayor as president, and following the 2009 elections is composed of:
  • SPÖ
    - Technology :SPO: Microsoft SharePoint Online, Microsoft Cloud Computing, Office 365. See Microsoft Online Services-Economics:* Secondary Public Offering, an equity capital market instrument...

    : 21 seats
  • BZÖ
    BZO can mean:* Bolzano Airport, with IATA code BZO* Alliance for the Future of Austria, abbreviated BZÖ...

    : 12 seats
  • ÖVP
    OVP is a three-letter abbreviation that may refer to:*The Office of the Vice President of the United States*The Office of the Vice President of the Philippines*OVP , a light sub-machine gun developed in Italy...

    : 9 seats
  • Die Grünen
    Austrian Green Party
    The Greens – The Green Alternative is a political party in the Austrian parliament.The party was formed in 1986 with the name Grüne Alternative, following the merger of the more conservative Green party Vereinte Grüne Österreichs and the more progressive party Alternative Liste Österreichs The...

    : 2 seats
  • FPÖ
    FPO may refer to:*Fleet Post Office, a "city" designation in military mail *Field post office, a term for military post offices in military mail systems *For position only, a designation for placeholder graphics...

    : 1 seat

City government

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, was reelected with 56.89 per cent of the votes cast.

Twin towns — Sister cities

Villach is twinned
Town twinning
Twin towns and sister cities are two of many terms used to describe the cooperative agreements between towns, cities, and even counties in geographically and politically distinct areas to promote cultural and commercial ties.- Terminology :...

Bamberg is a city in Bavaria, Germany. It is located in Upper Franconia on the river Regnitz, close to its confluence with the river Main. Bamberg is one of the few cities in Germany that was not destroyed by World War II bombings because of a nearby Artillery Factory that prevented planes from...

Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

) Udine
Udine is a city and comune in northeastern Italy, in the middle of Friuli-Venezia Giulia region, between the Adriatic sea and the Alps , less than 40 km from the Slovenian border. Its population was 99,439 in 2009, and that of its urban area was 175,000.- History :Udine is the historical...

Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

) Suresnes
Suresnes is a commune in the western suburbs of Paris, France. It is located from the center of Paris. The nearest communes are Neuilly-sur-Seine, Puteaux, Rueil-Malmaison, Saint-Cloud and Boulogne-Billancourt...

The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

) Springfield, Illinois
Springfield, Illinois
Springfield is the third and current capital of the US state of Illinois and the county seat of Sangamon County with a population of 117,400 , making it the sixth most populated city in the state and the second most populated Illinois city outside of the Chicago Metropolitan Area...



There are several festival
A festival or gala is an event, usually and ordinarily staged by a local community, which centers on and celebrates some unique aspect of that community and the Festival....

s 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)
  • The New Orleans festival
  • The streets-art festival (displays performances of artists and singers)
  • The "Villacher Kirchtag" (a kermis spanning a whole week in summer and ends on August's first Saturday with a notorious fireworks
    Fireworks are a class of explosive pyrotechnic devices used for aesthetic and entertainment purposes. The most common use of a firework is as part of a fireworks display. A fireworks event is a display of the effects produced by firework devices...

  • Performances on a stage beside the Drau

Notable citizens

  • Alex Antonitsch
    Alex Antonitsch
    Alex Antonitsch is a former tennis player from Austria, who turned professional in 1988.Antonitsch won one singles title and four doubles titles during his career...

    , tennis player
  • Peter Brabeck-Letmathe
    Peter Brabeck-Letmathe
    Peter Brabeck-Letmathe is an Austrian businessman. He is the Chairman and former CEO of the Nestlé Group.-Early life:Brabeck-Letmathe was born in a family with its origins in Iserlohn-Letmathe in North West Germany....

    , former CEO of the Nestlé
    Nestlé S.A. is the world's largest food and nutrition company. Founded and headquartered in Vevey, Switzerland, Nestlé originated in a 1905 merger of the Anglo-Swiss Milk Company, established in 1867 by brothers George Page and Charles Page, and Farine Lactée Henri Nestlé, founded in 1866 by Henri...

  • Kurt Diemberger
    Kurt Diemberger
    Kurt Diemberger is an accomplished Austrian mountaineer and author of several books.-Career:As of 2008, Kurt Diemberger is the only remaining person alive that made the first ascents on two mountains over 8,000 metres. In 1957, he made the first ascent of Broad Peak and in 1960, the first ascent...

    , mountaineer and author
  • Anton Ghon
    Anton Ghon
    Anton Ghon was an Austrian pathologist who was a native of Villach. In 1890 he earned his medical degree in Graz, and afterwards spent several years at the pathological institute in Vienna, where he worked with Anton Weichselbaum...

    , pathologist
  • Bruno Gironcoli
    Bruno Gironcoli
    Bruno Gironcoli was one of Austria's most famous modern artists.Born in Villach, Gironcoli began training as a goldsmith in 1951 in Innsbruck, completing his apprenticeship in 1956. Between 1957 and 1962 he studied in the University of Applied Arts Vienna...

    , modern artist
  • Eva Glawischnig-Piesczek
    Eva Glawischnig
    Eva Glawischnig-Piesczek is an Austrian politician of the Austrian Green Party and its federal spokeswoman....

    , Green politician
  • Michael Grabner
    Michael Grabner
    Michael René Grabner is an Austrian professional ice hockey player playing for the New York Islanders of the National Hockey League . Grabner grew up playing for the local team in Villach, EC VSV. He moved to North America at the age of 17 and joined the Spokane Chiefs of the major junior Western...

    , ice hockey player
  • Heidemarie Hatheyer
    Heidemarie Hatheyer
    Heidemarie Hatheyer was an Austrian film actress. She appeared in 43 films between 1938 and 1988.-Selected filmography:* Dr. Holl * Desires * Sauerbruch – Das war mein Leben...

    , actress
  • Herbert Hohenberger, ice hockey player
  • Florian Hufsky
    Florian Hufsky
    Florian Hufsky was an Austrian new media artist, political activist, founder and former board member of the Pirate Party of Austria...

    , new media artist and political activist
  • Martin Koch
    Martin Koch (ski jumper)
    Martin "Mascht" Koch is a ski jumper from Austria.A competitor since 1999, he has finished in the Top 3 in all ski jumping events eighteen times, including two victories with the first being on January 8, 2011 in Harrachov...

    , ski jumper
  • Roland Kollmann, footballer
  • Joahim Košutnik, mathematician
  • Peter Löscher
    Peter Löscher
    Peter Löscher is an Austrian manager and former President, Global Human Health at global pharmaceutical company Merck & Co. He was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Siemens AG on May 20, 2007 as the successor of Klaus Kleinfeld, and was selected to take on the new position on July 1, 2007...

    , President and CEO of Siemens AG
    Siemens AG
    Siemens AG is a German multinational conglomerate company headquartered in Munich, Germany. It is the largest Europe-based electronics and electrical engineering company....

  • Ernst Melchior
    Ernst Melchior
    Ernst Melchior was an Austrian football player.-Club career:He played seven years for Austrian giants Austria Wien before moving to France where he played for FC Rouen and FC Nantes....

    , footballer
  • Valentin Oman, artist
  • Hubert Petschnigg
    Hubert Petschnigg
    Hubert Petschnigg was an Austrian architect.-Life:Petschnigg was born in Klagenfurt, and went to school in Villach. In 1934 he began to study architecture at the Vienna University of Technology, where he entered the Hansea Vienna branch of the Kösener Corps student society...

    , architect
  • Joseph
    -Media:* YosepH, album by Luke Vibert* Josef , a Croatian television movie from 2011*Various works based on the life of Joseph in the Hebrew Bible:** Joseph and his Brethren, oratorio by George Frideric Handel...

    Terlicher, designer of the railway
  • Paul Watzlawick
    Paul Watzlawick
    Paul Watzlawick was an Austrian-American psychologist and philosopher. A theoretician in communication theory and radical constructivism, he has commented in the fields of family therapy and general psychotherapy...

    , psychologist and philosopher

External links

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