Feldkirch, Vorarlberg, town in the district of Feldkirch, alt. 458 m, pop. 26,730 (1981: pop. 23,745), area 34.34 km2, situated on the border of Switzerland and Liechtenstein at the end of the Ill valley in the Rhine plain, on the eastern edge of the Rhine Valley. - Seat of the district of Feldkirch, district court, provincial court, Vorarlberg Office of Surveying and Mapping, Vorarlberg internal revenue office, Conciliatory Board, customs offices, Employment Services, Finance Office, Bureau of Weights and Measures, Labour Market Service, Chamber of Lawyers, Chamber of Business Trustees, continuing education centre (BFI), Vorarlberg Hospital, regional heath insurance provider, prison, Consulate (Spain), Youth Counselling Centre, Advice Centre for Drug Abuse, children´s village, Catholic Education Organisation, new apostolic church, Antonius House of the Nuns of the Cross, "Stella Matutina" Jesuit College (Vorarlberg Conservatory), indoor sports centre, indoor skating rink, wild life park, secondary, schools located in Feldkirch include Gymnasium, Bundesrealgymnasium and Bundesoberstufenrealgymnasium schools, and a commercial academy; Feldkirch also has three vocational schools (trade, commercial, home economics), a Fachschule (business occupations) run by the Nuns of the Cross, a teachers´ training college, a teachers´ training institute, school for kindergarten-teacher training (private), college for training teachers of religion, school of nursing, Carina school for health occupations. Media: Feldkircher Anzeiger, Media house of Vorarlberg (newspapers: "Vorarlberger Nachrichten", "Die Neue Vorarlberger Tageszeitung", "Wann & Wo"), Theater am Saumarkt theatre, Montforthaus. Feldkirch has a highly developed service sector (which employed approximately 75 % of Feldkirch´s 10,121 gainfully employed in 1991), main emphasis on private, social and public services as well as in trade (esp. food stuffs). The production sector is dominated by small and medium-sized businesses and industries (numerous construction and timber processing enterprises), also located in Feldkirch are textile, foodstuffs (large dairy complex), electronics, machinery and steel industries; tourism (189,134 overnight stays), municipal hydro-electric power plant.
Feldkirch was the site of pre-Roman and Roman settlements ("Clunia"), present name first mentioned in a document around 850 (refers to the field of St. Peter stretching to the north-east towards Rankweil, known today as Altenstadt), new section of the city and Schattenburg Castle built around 1200 by Hugo von Montfort (located on the eastern side overlooking Feldkirch, Schattenburg is Vorarlberg´s best preserved medieval castle, and has housed a museum since 1917); in 1375 the city was purchased by the Habsburgs, chartered in 1318 and 1333, during the Middle Ages Feldkirch was Vorarlberg´s most important centre for trade. (Feldkirch is located at the end of the Salt Route from Hall in Tirol, trade continued through to southern Germany). In the 15th and 16th centuries Feldkirch was an intellectual centre for Humanist scholars and artists, since 1820 Feldkirch has been the seat of the bishop´s vicar general, in 1925 Altenstadt, Levis, Tisis, Tosters, Gisingen, Nofels were incorporated in the municipality of Feldkirch, since 1968 Roman-Catholic bishopric; Gothic cathedral (1478) with St. Anna altar (1521) and wrought-iron pulpit (1520), Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) (1473; renovated 1872-1878) located at the Churer gate, Capuchin Church (around 1605), Cemetery Church (1551), Dominican Convent (1634), St. Magdalena in Levis Church (1559, renovations in the 17th century and in 1982/83), City Hall (15th century), Liechtenstein Palace (1658-1697), now housing the town´s archives and library. Fortified towers and city gates have largely been preserved: thieves´ tower (Diebsturm), water tower and the gunpowder tower, Katzenturm tower (1492-1507) with the "Large Bell" (7500 kg), Churer or Salz gate (around 1270), Muehle or Sau gate (around 1270/1525), medieval ruins of Tosters Castle (first mentioned in a document in 1271, renovated in 1974-1980), before 1502 residence of the Amberg family, now a hotel.
Literature#Oesterr. Staedtebuch, Volume III, Vorarlberg, 1973; F., 750 Jahre Stadt, 1968.