Bludenz, Vorarlberg, town in the district of Bregenz, alt. 570 m, pop. 13,369, area 29.96 km2, traffic junction on the River Ill situated at the eastern end of the Walgau area, where the Klostertal Valley, the Brandner Valley and the Montafon meet. Bludenz is the seat of many institutions, service and production companies and therefore the centre of the Montafon, the Inner Walgau up to Nenzing, the Klostertal, Brandnertal, and Grosse Walsertal Valleys. - District commission, district court, district gendarmerie command, Employment Service, Transport and Land Surveying Office, town museum and archives, hospital, media house of Vorarlberg, film academy, Institute of Economic Development of the Economic Chamber, Chamber of Labour, Chamber of Civil Engineers for the Tyrol and Vorarlberg, consulate (Netherlands), youth club, stadium (1975), Bundesgymnasium (secondary school), higher-level secondary commercial college (HAK), vocational colleges (commercial and trade subjects, domestic science college), higher-level secondary college for tourism (HLA fuer Tourismus), adult education centre, cable railway to Muttersberg (alt. 1,402 m), Montafon railway line from Bludenz to Schruns (steam locomotives in the summer). Roughly 56% of the workforce are employed in the service sector (esp. personal, social and public services, transport), wood and metal processing (tank construction, machine and metal construction), concrete and window construction, textile industry, plastic production, chocolate and confectionery production (Suchard), brewery (Fohrenburg), tourism (74,956 overnight stays).
Ancient settlement area (finds from the Bronze Age, the La Tène period and Roman times), first documented mention around 842 as "Pludeno", mentioned as a town in 1296; was bought by Austria in 1394, industrialization began in 1817 (textiles industry). Remains of medieval fortification: 2 portals (1491, oldest buildings in the town, museum of local history), parts of the city walls, magazine. The tower (1670) of the old parish church (around 1514) dominates the skyline of Bludenz; Dominican convent of St. Peter (founded in 1286, building from 1707/1709), church (1721-1730); Capuchin monastery (1645-1651); hospital church (new building from 1682-1686); town parish church of Heiligkreuz (1932-1934); chapel of St. Anton at Rungelin (1668); town hall (1640). Today's historical town centre with its old patrician houses dates from the reconstruction of the town after the fire of 1682. Baroque castle of Gayenhofen (1228, rebuilt from 1745-1752, seat of the district commission). Industrial estate of Klarenbrunn.
Literature#Oesterr. Staedtebuch, vol. III, Vorarlberg, 1973; K. Kist, Stadtgeographie von Bludenz, doctoral thesis, Graz 1977.