Friesach, Carinthia, town in the district of St. Veit an der Glan, alt. 634 m, pop. 5,616, area 120.8 km2, oldest town in Carinthia, situated on the Metnitz River near the Styrian border and on the foothills of the Gurktal Alps. - Forestry District Office, branch office of the Youth Office, city museum (in the keep of the ruins of Petersberg Castle), Hospital of the Teutonic Order, convent of the Dominicans, St.-Hemma-Haus centre of the Carinthian Caritas Association (Dominicans), recreation centre, Friesach Burghof festival. The service sector is especially well developed (63 % of employed persons in 1991, primarily private, social and public services); production sector: metal processing (sawmill machinery and equipment, gates and portals), textile industry (sports clothes and traditional Austrian costumes, linen weaving mill), pasta factory, some tourism. - Place name is of Slavic origin, first documented mention in 860, in the possession of the Archbishops of Salzburg until 1803, first mentioned as town in 1265. Friesach is one of Austria's gems of art history: city fortifications (late 13th century) with battlemented wall (mostly preserved); Romanesque-Gothic city parish church (12th and 14th century) with stained-glass windows (wise and foolish virgins, 1270/80) and scenes from the life of Christ (around 1325/30); Church of the Teutonic Order (13th century, redesigned in 1492) with Romanesque frescoes; Dominican church (1251-1255) with Madonna (14th century) and Dominican monastery (oldest Dominican monastery in the German-speaking area, built in 1217 and 1673); Dominican convent (since 1887, originally Hospital of the Teutonic Order); Renaissance city fountain (1563) in the main square; old city hall with Roman grave; fortress on Petersberg hill (11th /12th century), largely in ruins, keep (city museum) and castle chapel with Romanesque frescoes; Church of St. Peter, in Romanesque-Gothic and Baroque styles; Gothic Church of St. Salvator with stained-glass windows (14th century) and late Baroque interior; Lavant Castle ruins (first mentioned in a document in 1293); Geiersberg fortress (around 1130, partially restored); church ruins on Virgilienberg mountain. In Gaisberg (village north of Friesach at the foot of Gaisberg mountain, alt. 1,153 m) Gothic-Baroque parish church (first documented mention in 1283) with Romanesque remains and 18 stained-glass windows (around 1420-1430), wall paintings (15th century), high altar (around 1680).
Literature#H. Braumueller, Geschichte der Stadt Friesach, 1926; R. Gratzer, Friesach, 1986.