Bregenz, Vorarlberg, town in the district of Bregenz, alt. 400 m, pop. 27,097 (in 1981: pop. 24,561), area 29.51 km2, capital of the province of Vorarlberg. Situated on the eastern shore of Lake Constance, on a plateau falling in terraces to the lake at the foot of the Pfaender mountain. Junction of the arterial roads from the Rhine valley to the German Alpine foothills; steamer services on Lake Constance. - Seat of provincial government (Landtag); all provincial and district authorities (e.g. school inspectorate, rural police headquarters etc.); job centre (AMS), supreme police authority of the province of Vorarlberg, office for environmental protection, consulates of Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Turkey; Chamber of Labour, Economic Chamber, Chamber of Agriculture, Chamber of Pharmacists, military command post, garrison, main hospital of the province (Landeskrankenhaus) as well as a sanatorium, farmers' health and social insurance office, schools: 4 Gymnasium secondary schools, commercial college (HAK), technical college (HTL), upper secondary business schools (Hoehere Lehranstalt fuer wirtschaftliche Berufe), 3 Berufsschule vocational schools, crafts colleges, Academy of Social Sciences, Fachhochschule, nursing school; adult education centre, school boarding houses, provincial archives, library, provincial museum, Kunsthaus Bregenz (modern arts centre), Kuenstlerhaus artistic centre - Palace Thurn und Taxis, 5 monasteries, Heimatwerk (autonomous institution fostering the manufacturing of traditional craft products, etc.), various newspapers, Festival and Congress centre, Theater am Kornmarkt, casino, harbour for sailing boats and yachts, cable car ascending the Pfaender mountain; economic structure (14,769 employed people in 1991) mainly dominated by small businesses in the service, trade and industry sectors: textile industry ( Wolford AG), iron-fittings manufactory (Julius Blum GmbH), glass processing and machine construction. Bi-seasonal tourism (233,414 overnight stays), 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 Pfaender mountain.
History: From 15 B.C. site of a Roman camp, was conferred the status of a town (Brigantium) around 50 A.D., in 259/60 destroyed by the Alemanni, a Germanic people who settled in the area from around 450. From 610 to 612 St. Kolumban (Columban) and St. 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 and who died out around 1150. Around 1170 Hugo of Tuebingen ( Montfort) founded a town settlement (first documented mention in 1249), enlarged in the 13th and 14th century and from 1650 to 1652. Sold in 1451 and in 1523 to the Habsburgs, under Bavarian rule from 1805 to 1814; from 1842 to 1850 construction of the harbour (in 1883 and from 1889-1891) enlargement of the harbour, Austrian steamer service set up in 1884), rail communication since 1872 (since 1884 across the Arlberg massif); since then the town has extended to the surrounding countryside. Since 1726 main seat of the 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 to Bregenz in 1919 and in 1946, respectively; in 1945 in the wake of World War II, 72 houses were destroyed.
Buildings: Upper town: (oldest part, remains from the 13th and 16th centuries, town walls still standing), old town hall (1662); the Martin's Tower is considered the landmark of Bregenz (late Roman core, chapel with frescos from 1362, from 1599 to 1601 a storey was added, biggest Baroque bulb-shaped steeple in Central Europe, houses the Museum of Military History); Gothic parish church of St. Gall (the Roman-Romanesque foundations date from before 1380, rebuilt around 1480, from 1737 to 1938 altered by F. A. Beer in Baroque style); Sacred Heart parish church (1905-1908). Lower town: town hall built in 1686 (façade from 1898) Gothic Seekapelle, Landhaus (built from 1973 to 1982 by W. Holzbauer), the former Kornhausmarkt (built from 1838 to 1940, altered from1951 to 1955) now houses a theatre, Protestant church of the Sacred Cross (1862-1864), Parish church, church of St. Kolumban (1962-1966), Kunsthaus Bregenz (1991-1997), Tourismushaus tourist centre (1994-1998). District of Vorkloster: Maria Hilf parish church (1925-1931, C. Holzmeister, interior from 1980) and Cistercian monastery of Mehrerau. On the Gebhardsberg hill, remains of the fortress of Hohenbregenz (destroyed by the Swedes in 1647).
Literature#Oesterreichisches Staedtebuch, vol. III, Vorarlberg, 1973; B. Bilgeri, Geschichte der Stadt Bregenz, 1980; O. Sandner, Bregenz, 1983; A. Paul, Bregenz, Stadt an der Grenze, 1987.