Sunday, August 07, 2011

Villach, Austria - May 31, 2010

Carinthia is a region in southern Austria bordering on Italy and Villach, with a population of around 60,000, is the second largest city in the region. The city is served by the Drava River making it an important transportation center for the entire Alpine-Adriatic region. It also is home to a large railroad yard.
Local human activity is documented as far back as 3500 BCE and numerous Roman artifacts have been discovered in the area. There is evidence that a bridge across the Drava had been constructed as early as 878 CE where modern day Villach stands. The settlement was given market town status in 1060 CE.
Much of Villach was destroyed in 1348 by an earthquake and a second trembler rattled the city in 1690. In 1759 Empress Maria Theresa of Austria bought much of Carinthia, including Villach, but the territory was lost to the French during the Napoleonic Wars.
Austria was annexed by the Germans in 1939 and during WWII allied forces dropped more than 40,000 bombs on the city killing 300 people and damaging 85% of the buildings. Today, Villach is a somewhat grimy working city with a few remnants of its early years although we thoroughly enjoyed the campground, an interesting bicycle ride into town alongside the river and a good walking tour of the city.
For more images, click here.

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