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Bregenz pano 1.jpg
Coat of Bregenz.png
Coat of arms
Bregenz im Bezirk B.png
Location in the district
Austria adm location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Location within Austria
Coordinates: 47°30′18″N09°44′57″E / 47.50500°N 9.74917°E / 47.50500; 9.74917 Coordinates: 47°30′18″N09°44′57″E / 47.50500°N 9.74917°E / 47.50500; 9.74917
Country Austria
State Vorarlberg
District Bregenz
   Mayor Markus Linhart (ÖVP)
  Total29.51 km2 (11.39 sq mi)
427 m (1,401 ft)
(1 January 2016) [1]
  Density990/km2 (2,600/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+1 (CET)
  Summer (DST) UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
Area code 05574
Vehicle registration B

Bregenz (German pronunciation: [ˈbʁeːgɛnt͡s] ( Loudspeaker.svg listen )) is the capital of Vorarlberg, the westernmost state of Austria. The city is on the eastern shores of Lake Constance, the third-largest freshwater lake in Central Europe, between Switzerland in the west and Germany in the northwest.

Vorarlberg State of Austria

Vorarlberg is the westernmost federal state (Bundesland) of Austria. It has the second-smallest area after Vienna, and although it has the second-smallest population, it also has the second-highest population density. It borders three countries: Germany, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. The only Austrian state that shares a border with Vorarlberg is Tyrol to the east.

States of Austria principal subdivisions of Austria

Austria is a federal republic made up of nine states, known in German as Länder. Since Land is also the German word for "country", the term Bundesländer is often used instead to avoid ambiguity. The Constitution of Austria uses both terms. Even though English "land" is a cognate, the term (Bundes)land is commonly rendered as "state" or "province" by tradition in English writing.

Austria Federal republic in Central Europe

Austria, officially the Republic of Austria, is a country in Central Europe comprising 9 federated states. Its capital, largest city and one of nine states is Vienna. Austria has an area of 83,879 km2 (32,386 sq mi), a population of nearly 9 million people and a nominal GDP of $477 billion. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Hungary and Slovakia to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west. The terrain is highly mountainous, lying within the Alps; only 32% of the country is below 500 m (1,640 ft), and its highest point is 3,798 m (12,461 ft). The majority of the population speaks local Bavarian dialects as their native language, and German in its standard form is the country's official language. Other regional languages are Hungarian, Burgenland Croatian, and Slovene.


The city is on a plateau falling in a series of terraces to the lake at the foot of Pfänder mountain. It is a junction of the arterial roads from the Rhine valley to the German Alpine foothills, with cruise ship services on Lake Constance.

Pfänder mountain

The Pfänder is a mountain in western Austria close to Lake Constance (Bodensee). The town of Bregenz lies at the foot of the mountain on the shores of the lake. With its views over the lake and the surrounding mountain peaks, the Pfänder is one of the most famous lookout points of the region.

Rhine river in Western Europe

The Rhine is a European river that begins in the Swiss canton of Graubünden in the southeastern Swiss Alps, forms part of the Swiss-Liechtenstein, Swiss-Austrian, Swiss-German and then the Franco-German border, then flows through the German Rhineland and the Netherlands and eventually empties into the North Sea.

It is famous for the annual summer music festival Bregenzer Festspiele as well as the dance festival Bregenzer Spring.

Bregenzer Festspiele music festival

Bregenzer Festspiele is a performing arts festival which is held every July and August in Bregenz in Vorarlberg (Austria).


Bregenz, Chalcography by Caspar Merian, about 1650 De Merian Sueviae 068.jpg
Bregenz, Chalcography by Caspar Merian, about 1650

The first settlements date from 1500 BC. Celtic tribe named Brigantii is mentioned by Strabo as a sub-tribe in these region of the Alps. [2] In the 5th century BC, the Celts settled at Brigantion, which was one of their most heavily fortified locations. After battles in 15 BC, the Romans conquered Brigantion and the city became a Roman camp. It was conferred the status of a municipality (Brigantium) around 50 AD and was the seat of the Roman admiralty for Lake Constance. In 259/60 Brigantium was destroyed by the Alemanni, a Germanic people who settled in the area in around 450.

Celts ethnolinguistic group of tribal societies in Iron Age and Medieval Europe

The Celts are an Indo-European ethnolinguistic group of Europe identified by their use of Celtic languages and cultural similarities. The history of pre-Celtic Europe and the exact relationship between ethnic, linguistic and cultural factors in the Celtic world remains uncertain and controversial. The exact geographic spread of the ancient Celts is disputed; in particular, the ways in which the Iron Age inhabitants of Great Britain and Ireland should be regarded as Celts have become a subject of controversy. According to one theory, the common root of the Celtic languages, the Proto-Celtic language, arose in the Late Bronze Age Urnfield culture of Central Europe, which flourished from around 1200 BC.

Alemanni ancient and early-medieval confederation of Germanic tribes on the upper Rhein river

The Alemanni were a confederation of Germanic tribes on the Upper Rhine River. First mentioned by Cassius Dio in the context of the campaign of Caracalla of 213, the Alemanni captured the Agri Decumates in 260, and later expanded into present-day Alsace, and northern Switzerland, leading to the establishment of the Old High German language in those regions, by the eighth century named Alamannia.

From 610 to 612 St. Columbanus and Saint Gall worked as missionaries in Bregenz. From 917 the castle served as a residence of the Udalrichinger (ruling dynasty of Vorarlberg), who called themselves Counts of Bregenz. The house died out around 1150. The son of the first Ulrich was Saint Gebhard, born in 947. He became Bishop of Konstanz. In around 1170 Hugo of Tübingen (Montfort) founded a town settlement (first documented mention in 1249), enlarged in the 13th and 14th century and from 1650 to 1652. [3]

Columbanus Irish missionary

Columbanus, also known as St. Columban, was an Irish missionary notable for founding a number of monasteries from around 590 in the Frankish and Lombard kingdoms, most notably Luxeuil Abbey in present-day France and Bobbio Abbey in present-day Italy. He is remembered as a key figure in the Hiberno-Scottish mission, or Irish missionary activity in early medieval Europe. In recent years, however, as Columbanus's deeds and legacy have come to be re-examined by historians, the traditional narrative of his career has been challenged and doubts have been raised regarding his actual involvement in missionary work and the extent to which he was driven by purely religious motives or also by a concern for playing an active part in politics and church politics in Francia.

Saint Gall Irish disciple and saint

Saint Gall, or Gallus according to hagiographic tradition was a disciple and one of the traditional twelve companions of Saint Columbanus on his mission from Ireland to the continent. Saint Deicolus was the elder brother of Gall.

County of Bregenz countship

The county of Bregenz is recorded as part of the Holy Roman Empire between 1043 and 1160.

The city was sold in 1451 and in 1523 to the Habsburgs and continued under Austrian rule, with a brief occupation by Swedish forces under Carl Gustaf Wrangel during the 30 Years' War, until the 19th century. Bregenz was under Bavarian rule from 1805 to 1814. From 1842 to 1850, the harbour on Lake Constance was built. In 1883 and from 1889–1891 the harbour was enlarged, and Austrian ship service was set up in 1884. Rail communication has existed since 1872 and since 1884 across the Arlberg massif. Since then, the town has extended to the surrounding countryside.

Carl Gustaf Wrangel Field Marshal of Sweden

Carl Gustaf Wrangel was a high-ranking Swedish noble, statesman and military commander in the Thirty Years', Torstenson, Bremen, Second Northern and Scanian Wars.

Bavaria State in Germany

Bavaria, officially the Free State of Bavaria, is a landlocked federal state of Germany, occupying its southeastern corner. With an area of 70,550.19 square kilometres, Bavaria is the largest German state by land area. Its territory comprises roughly a fifth of the total land area of Germany. With 13 million inhabitants, it is Germany's second-most-populous state after North Rhine-Westphalia. Bavaria's main cities are Munich and Nuremberg.

Lake Constance lake in Germany, Switzerland and Austria

Lake Constance is a lake on the Rhine at the northern foot of the Alps, and consists of three bodies of water: the Obersee or Upper Lake Constance, the Untersee or Lower Lake Constance, and a connecting stretch of the Rhine, called the Seerhein. These waterbodies lie within the Lake Constance Basin, which is part of the Alpine Foreland and through which the Rhine flows.

Since 1726, Bregenz has been the main seat of Austrian administration in Vorarlberg (Obervogtei, in 1786 Kreisamt, since 1861 seat of the Landtag, since 1918 seat of the Landeshauptmann). Rieden-Vorkloster and Fluh were incorporated into Bregenz in 1919 and in 1946, respectively. The town was bombarded in 1945, and 72 houses were destroyed.

Largest groups of foreign residents [4]
Flag of Turkey.svg  Turkey 1,329
Flag of Germany.svg  Germany 1,035
Flag of Russia.svg  Russia 422
Flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina.svg  Bosnia & Herzegovina 396
Flag of Croatia.svg  Croatia 223


The Pfander, a panoramic point of Bregenz. Bregenz Pfaender.jpg
The Pfänder, a panoramic point of Bregenz.
The Martinsturm, built in 1601. MartinsturmBregenz.JPG
The Martinsturm, built in 1601.
Congress and Culture Center. FestspielHaus6.JPG
Congress and Culture Center.
Sacred Heart Church. HerzJesuKirche12.JPG
Sacred Heart Church.
Ancient city wall, upper town. Bregenz-oberstadt.jpg
Ancient city wall, upper town.
Kunsthaus Bregenz Kornmarktstrasse 3 Kunsthaus, 1.JPG
Kunsthaus Bregenz
Vorarlberg museum Vorarlberg museum in Bregenz 3.JPG
Vorarlberg museum

Main sights

Upper town

Lower town

Sights in the district of Vorkloster include the Maria Hilf parish church (1925–1931, by C. Holzmeister, interior from 1980) and the Cistercian monastery of Mehrerau.

On the Gebhardsberg rock are remains of the fortress of Hohenbregenz (destroyed by the Swedes in 1647).

Businesses and services


Bregenz is the seat of the Vorarlberg state assembly (Landtag), and of most of the provincial authorities/institutions of Vorarlberg (e.g. school supervisor, police headquarters, department of human resources development (AMS), Office for Environmental Protection, Chamber of Labour, Economics Chamber, Chamber of Agriculture, Chamber of Pharmacists, military regional headquarters, military garrison, one of the main hospitals of the province (Landeskrankenhaus) as well as a sanatorium, farmers' health and social insurance office, VLV (Mutual Fire Insurance Institute).


A consulate-general of Turkey, [5] and honorary consulates of Belarus, France, Germany, Hungary, Norway, and Switzerland are located in Bregenz. Honorary consulates of Finland and the United Kingdom are located in nearby Lauterach, and an honorary consulate of Brazil in nearby Hard. [6]

Schools and the arts

Bregenz is home to four Gymnasium secondary schools, a commercial college (HAK), a technical college (HTL), upper secondary business schools (Höhere Lehranstalt für wirtschaftliche Berufe), three Berufsschulen (vocational schools), crafts colleges, the Academy of Social Sciences, nursing school. Others include: an adult education centre, a school boarding houses, state archives, a state library, a state museum, Kunsthaus Bregenz (modern arts centre), Künstlerhaus (art centre), Thurn und Taxis Palace, five monasteries, Heimatwerk (autonomous institution fostering the manufacturing of traditional craft products, etc.), various newspapers.

Public facilities

Festival and Congress centre, Theater am Kornmarkt, casino, harbour for sailing boats and yachts, cable car up the Pfänder mountain.


There were 14,769 employed people at Bregenz in 1991. The economy is mainly dominated by small businesses in the service, trade and industry sectors: these include textile industry (Wolford AG), iron-fittings manufacturer Julius Blum GmbH, glass processing and machine construction.

The airline InterSky, which was the biggest privately owned airline in Austria, had its headquarters in Bregenz. Bi-seasonal tourism; a major attraction is the Bregenz Festival (since 1946, floating stage since 1949, modernised in 1979, Festival and Congress Hall in 1980), winter sports at the Pfänder mountain.

Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm
Source: ZAMG


Bregenzer Festspiele

The annual summer music festival Bregenzer Festspiele is a world-famous festival which takes place in July and August each year on and around a stage on Lake Constance. This festival attracts more than 150,000 people every year to Bregenz (2011: 166,453, 2016: 159,172) with a budget of around EUR 20 million. [7] The program changes every two years. In 2016 the main opera performed was Turandot by Giacomo Puccini. In 2017 and 2018 the main opera was Carmen by Georges Bizet.

In addition to playing on the lake stage, orchestral concerts and operas are also played in the adjacent festival theater. In 2018 local opera houses are staging productions of Beatrice Cenci by Berthold Goldschmidt and The Barber of Seville by Gioacchino Rossini. There is also a children's and youth program during and before the beginning of the festival.

The lake stage (Seebühne) is the largest open-air theater in the world, with an audience capacity of around 7,000. [8] [ Needs better, independent reference. ]

Bregenz Jazz Festival

Since 2014, the Bregenz Jazz Festival has been held every year in June at the Kornmarktplatz. It is the successor of the New Orleans Festival, which took place from 1999 to 2013 several days in the early summer in the inner city of Bregenz, and which was no longer supported by the initiator Markus Linder. In addition to the change of name, there was also a musical genre change from blues to jazz. The location and the timing stayed roughly the same. [9]

Bregenzer Spring (Bregenzer Frühling)

Since 1987, the Bregenzer Spring, a dance festival, has been held every year between March and May in the Festival Hall of Bregenz. Dance ensembles from all over the world perform their new productions as well as Austrian premieres. With a budget of around EUR 500,000 and up to 10,000 visitors, the Bregenzer Spring is one of the most important dance festivals in Austria. [10]



Twin towns

Bregenz is twinned with:

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  1. Statistik Austria - Bevölkerung zu Jahresbeginn 2002-2016 nach Gemeinden (Gebietsstand 1.1.2016) for Bregenz.
  2. Strabo, Geographia Book IV Chap. 6
  3. B. Bilgeri, Bregenz, Geschichte der Stadt, Bd. 1, Wien-München, 1980
  4. "Ergebnisse der Registerzählung 2011". Statistik - Landesstatistik Vorarlberg. Archived from the original on 2014-09-26. Retrieved 2014-09-26.
  5. "Türkiye Cumhuriyeti Bregenz Başkonsolosluğu". 2013-02-25. Retrieved 2013-03-26.
  6. "Foreign representations in Austria". Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs (Austria) . Retrieved 27 January 2009.
  7. "Facts and Figures | Bregenzer Festspiele". (in German). Retrieved 2017-02-07.
  8. "Bregenzer Festspiele". Bregenz (in German). 2015-06-09. Retrieved 2017-02-07.
  9. "From Jazz to Blues - Article in the local newspaper". Vorarlberger Nachrichten (in German). Retrieved 2017-02-07.
  10. "Bregenzer Frühling". Bregenz (in German). 2015-07-15. Retrieved 2017-02-07.
  11. PaperMag website retrieved Jan 2017