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Klagenfurt City hall
Klagenfurt am Wörthersee ( ) is the capital of the federal state of Carinthiamarker in Austriamarker. With a population of over 90,000 it is the sixth-largest city in the country. The city is the bishop's seat of the Roman Catholic diocese of Gurk-Klagenfurt and home to the Alpen-Adria Universitymarker.



Klagenfurt is located above sea level and covers an area of . It is on the lake Wörtherseemarker and on the Glan River. The city is surrounded by several forest-covered hills and mountains with heights of up to , for example, Ulrichsbergmarker. To the south is the Karawankenmarker mountain range, which separates Carinthia from Sloveniamarker and Italymarker.

Municipal arrangement

Klagenfurt is divided into 15 districts:

  • I - IV Innere Stadt
  • V St. Veiter Vorstadt
  • VI Völkermarkter Vorstadt
  • VII Viktringer Vorstadt
  • VIII Villacher Vorstadt
  • IX Annabichl
  • X St. Peter
  • XI St. Ruprecht
  • XII St. Martin
  • XIII Viktring
  • XIV Wölfnitz
  • XV Hörtendorf
  • XVI Welzenegg

It is further divided into 25 Katastralgemeinden. They are: Klagenfurt, Blasendorf, Ehrenthal, Goritschitzen, Großbuch, Großponfeld, Gurlitsch I, Hallegg, Hörtendorf, Kleinbuch, Lendorf, Marolla, Nagra, Neudorf, St. Martin bei Klagenfurt, St. Peter am Karlsberg, St. Peter bei Ebenthal, Sankt Peter am Bichl, St. Ruprecht bei Klagenfurt, Stein, Tentschach, Viktring, Waidmannsdorf, Waltendorf, and Welzenegg.


Klagenfurt has a typical Continental climate, with quite some fog throughout the autumn and winter. The rather cold winters are, however, broken by occasional warmer periods due to foehn wind from the Karawanken mountains to the south. The average temperature from 1961 and 1990 is 7.1 °C, while the average temperature in 2005 was 9.3 °C.


Carinthia's eminent linguists Primus Lessiak and Eberhard Kranzmayer assumed that the city's name, which literally translates as "ford of lament" or "ford of complaints", had something to do with the superstitious thought that fateful fairies or demons tend to live around treacherous waters or swamps. In Old Slovene cviljovec is a place haunted by such a wailing female ghost or cvilya. Thus they assumed that Klagenfurt's name was a translation by the German settlers of the original Slovene name of the neighbouring wetland. However, the earliest Slovene mention of Klagenfurt in the form of "v Zelouzi" ('in Celovec', the Slovene name for Klagenfurt) dating from 1615 is 400 years younger and thus appears to be a translation from German. The latest interpretation, on the other hand, is that the Old Slovene cviljovec itself goes back to an Italic l'aquiliu meaning a place at or in the water, which would make the wailing-hag theory obsolete. Heinz Dieter Pohl, Kärnten. Deutsche und slowenische Namen/Koroška. Slovenska in nemška imena. In: Österreichische Namenforschung28 (2000), vols. 2–3, Klagenfurt 2000, p. 83; and also:

Paul Gleirscher, Wie Aquiliu zu Klagenfurt wurde. In: Paul Gleirscher, Mystisches Kärnten. Sagenhaftes, Verborgenes, Ergrabenes, Klagenfurt 2007, pp. 59-65.

Scholars had at all times attempted to explain the city's peculiar name: In the 14th century the abbot and historiographer John of Viktring translated Klagenfurt's name in his Liber certarum historiarum as Queremoniae Vadus, i.e. "ford of complaint", Hieronymus Megiser, Master of the university college of the Carinthian Estates in Klagenfurt and editor of the earliest printed history of the duchy in 1612, believed to have found the origin of the name in a "ford across the River Glan", which, however, is impossible for linguistic reasons. The common people also sought an explanation: A baker's apprentice was accused of theft and executed, but when a few days afterwards the alleged theft turned out to be a mistake and the lad was proved to be totally innocent, the citizens' "lament (= 'Klagen') went forth and forth". This story was reported by Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini, who later became Pope Pius II.


Lindwurm fountain in the city centre
Duke Bernhard of Spanheim, the founder of the City
Legend has it that Klagenfurt was founded after a couple of brave men had slain the abominable dragon, a winged "Lindwurm" in the moors adjoining the lake, the staple diet of which is said to have been virgins, but which did not spurn the fat bull on a chain that the men had mounted on a strong tower. The feat is commemorated by a grandiose 9-ton Renaissance monument in the city centre. Historically, the place was founded by the Spanheim Duke Herman as a stronghold across the commercial routes in the area. Its first mention dates from the late 12th century in a document in which Duke Ulric II. exempted St. Paul's Abbey from the toll charge "in foro Chlagenvurth". That settlement occupied an area that was subject to frequent flooding, so in 1246 Duke Herman's son, Duke Bernhard von Spanheim moved in to a safer position and is thus considered as the actual founder of the market place, which in 1252 received a city charter.
Former city hall, Alter Platz
In the following centuries Klagenfurt suffered fires, earthquakes, invasions of locusts and attacks from Turks, and was ravaged by the Peasants' Wars. In 1514 a fire destroyed the city almost completely, and in 1518 Emperor Maximilian I, unable to rebuild it, despite the loud protests of the burgers ceded Klagenfurt to the Estates, the nobility of the Duchy. Never before had such a thing happened. The new owners, however, brought about an economical renaissance and a political and cultural ascent for Klagenfurt. A canal was dug to connect the city to the lake as a supply route for timber to rebuild the city and to feed the city' new moats; the great families had their town houses built in the duchy's new capital, the city was enlarged along a geometrical chequer-board lay-out according to the Renaissance ideas of the Italian architect Domenico dell'Allio; a new city centre square, the Neuer Platz, was constructed; and the new fortifications that took half a century to build made Klagenfurt the strongest fortress north of the Alps.

In 1809, however, the French troops under Napoleon destroyed the city walls, leaving, against a large sum collected by the citizens, only one eastern gate (which was pulled down for traffic reasons some decades later), and the small stretch in the west which is now all that is left of the once grand fortifications. In 1863 the railway connection to St. Veit an der Glanmarker boosted the city's economy and so did the building of the Vienna-Trieste railway that brought the city an imposing central station (destroyed in WWII) and made Klagenfurt the absolute centre of the region.

During the 19th century, the city developed into an important centre of Carinthian Slovene culture. Many important Slovene public figures lived, studied or worked in Klagenfurt, among them Anton Martin Slomšek, who later became the first bishop of Maribor and was beatified in 1999, the philologists Jurij Japelj and Anton Janežič, the politician Andrej Einspieler, and the activist Matija Majar. The Slovene national poet France Prešeren also spent a short part of his professional career there. On the initiative of bishop Slomšek, teacher Anton Janežič and vicar Andrej Einspieler on 27 July 1851 in Klagenfurt the Hermagoras Society publishing house was founded, which in 1919 moved to Prevalje and then in 1927 to Celje, but was re-established in Klagenfurt in 1947. Several Slovene language newspapers were also published in the city, among them the Slovenski glasnik. By the late 19th century, however, the Slovene cultural and political influence in Klagenfurt had declined sharply, and by the end of World War One, the city showed an overwhelmingly Austrian German character.

Nevertheless, in 1919, the city was occupied by the Army of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenesmarker and claimed for the newly-founded South-Slav kingdom. In 1920, the Yugoslav occupying forces withdrew from the town center, but remained in its southern suburbs, such as Viktring and Ebenthal. They eventually withdrew after the Carinthian Plebiscitemarker in October 1920, when the majority of voters in the Carinthian mixed-language Zone A decided to remain part of Austria.

In 1938 Klagenfurt's population suddenly grew by more than 50% through the incorporation of the town of St. Ruprecht and the municipalities of St. Peter, Annabichl, and St. Martin. But during WWII, the city was bombed 41 times, the bombs killing 612 people, completely destroying 443 buildings, and damaging 1,132 others. 110,000 cubic metres of rubble had to be removed before the citizens could set about rebuilding their city.

In order to avoid further destruction and a major bloodshed, on May 3 1945 General Löhr of Army Group E (Heeresgruppe E) had agreed to declare Klagenfurt an "open city" "in case Anglo-American forces should attack the city", a declaration that was broadcast several times and two days later also published in Kärntner Nachrichten.

On 8 May 1945, 9:30 a.m., British troops of the Eighth Army under General McCreery entered Klagenfurt and were met in front of Stauderhaus by the new democratic city and state authorities. All the strategic positions and important buildings were immediately seized, and Major General Horatius Murray was taken to General Noeldechen for the official surrender of the 438th German Division. Three hours later groups of partisans arrived on a train which they had seized in the Rosental valleymarker the day before, and Yugoslav regular forces of the IVth army moved in at the same time,August Walzl, Kärnten 1946, p. 176f, p. 194.

All the Western sources agree on that date, contrary to Yugoslav or Slovene sources.

Karel Pušnik-Gašper and others, Gemsen auf der Lawine. Der Partisanenkampf in Kärnten, Klagenfurt: Drava 1980, pp.305 ff., still claims that Yugoslav partisan forces liberated Klagenfurt on May 7, disarming the last Hitler units.

Similarly, the Bulgarianmarker publication Otecestvenata vojna na Bulgarija 1944-1945, Sofia 1965, vol. 3, p. 258 writes of the plans for an advance as far as Klagenfurt and Villach. This advance, however, came to a halt at Lavamündmarker, cf. Walzl, Kärnten 1945, pp. 178 f., 225 f., 241. both claiming the city with its South Carinthian hinterland and immediately establishing a Komanda staba za Koroška, afterwards named the "Commandantura of the Carinthian Military Zone" under Major Egon Remec after they had made their way through the streets jammed with tens of thousands of Volksdeutsche refugees and masses of soldiers of all the nationalities that had been fighting under German command and were now fleeing the Sovjets.
On Neuer Platz - renamed "Adolf Hitler Platz" in 1938 - British armoured vehicles are said to have faced allied Yugoslav ones in a hostile way, which would have been a curious spectacle for the liberated burghers, but probably is one more of those modern legends.

From the beginning of 1945, when the end of the war was rather obvious, numerous talks among representatives of democratic pre-1934 organisations had taken place, which later extended to high-ranking officers of the Wehrmacht and officials of the administration. Even representatives of the partisans in the hills south of Klagenfurt were met who, in view of the strong SS-forces in Klagenfurt, agreed not to attempt to take the city by force, but upheld the official declaration that Carinthia was to be a Yugoslav land.

On May 7, a committee convened in the historic Landhaus building of the Gau authorities in order to form a Provisional State government, and one of the numerous decisions taken was a proclamation to the "People of Carinthia" reporting the resignation of the Gauleiter and Reichsstatthalter Friedrich Rainer, the transfer of power to the new authorities, and an appeal to the people to decorate their homes with Austrian or Carinthian colours, which was printed in the Kärntner Zeitung of May 8. When on the following day Yugoslav military demanded of Klagenfurt's new mayor that he remove the Austrian flag from the city hall and fly the Yugoslav flag, the acting British Town Officer Cptn. Watson prohibited that right away but also orderered the withdrawal of the Austrian flag. Accompanied by a guerilla carrying a machine pistol a Yugoslav emissary appeared on the same day in the Landesregierung building, demanding of the Acting State Governor Piesch to repeal the flagging appeal, which was ignored.

Several days passed before under British pressure with US diplomatic backing the Yugoslav troops withdrew from the city proper, not before establishing a parallel Carinthian-Slovene civil administration, a Carinthian National Council presided over by Dr. Franc Petek. However, protected by British soldiers, the members of the Provisional State Government went about their responsible business devising a comprehensive concept covering the new political, sociological and economic situation in the land, which would serve the British military authorities. Fast financial assistance and the restitution of property to Nazi victims was necessary, which posed a problem because one of the very first actions of the British had been to confiscate all property of the Nazi Party, to freeze all bank accounts and to block all financial transfers. It took months until at least basic communication and public transport, mail service and supply worked again, to a degree. During the years that followed these turbulent days a major part of the British Eighth Army, which in July 1945 was re-constituted as British Troops Austria (BTA), had their headquarters in Klagenfurt as Carinthia together with neighbouring Styria formed the British occupation zone in liberated Austria, which lasted until 26 Oct. 1955.

In 1961, Klagenfurt became the first city in Austria to adopt a pedestrian zone. The idea of a friendly pairing of cities in other countries that had started with the very first city partnership ever - Klagenfurt and Wiesbaden, Germany, as early as 1930 - was followed up with numerous city partnerships with the result that in 1968 Klagenfurt was honoured with the title of a " European City of the Year". Three times, a European record, Klagenfurt was also awarded the prestigious Europa Nostra Diploma of Merit for the exemplary restoration and redevelopment of its ancient centre.

In 1973 Klagenfurt absorbed four more adjacent municipalities - Viktring with its grand Cistercian monastery, Wölfnitz, Hörtendorf, St. Peter am Bichl - increasing its population to about 90,000.

In 2007 the city changed its official name to "Klagenfurt am Wörthersee" (i.e., Klagenfurt on Lake Wörther). However, since there are no other settlements by the name of Klagenfurt anywhere, the previous short name remains unambiguous.


"Landhaus", the palace of the Estates, now State Assembly
Arcaded yard in the former city hall
The Old City with its central Alter Platz (Old Square) and the Renaissance buildings with their charming arcaded court yards is a major attraction. Notable landmarks also include
  • the lindworm fountain of 1593, with a Hercules added in 1633
  • Landhaus - Palace of the Estates, now the seat of the State Assembly.
  • the Baroque cathedral, built by the then Protestant Estates of Carinthia
  • Viktring Abbeymarker

Loretto after renovation 2007
Tentschach Castle
Model of St. Peter's in Minimundus
  • the Kreuzbergl nature park with a viewing tower and observatory
  • the small but attractive botanical garden at the foot of Kreuzbergl, with a mining museum attached
  • Wörtherseemarker, the warmest of the large Alpine lakes, with Europe's largest non-sea beach and lido taking 12,000 bathers on a nice summer day.
  • Maria Loretto peninsula with its newly renovated stately home, until recently in the possession of one of Carinthia's noble families, the Rosenbergs, but acquired lately by the City.
  • Tentschach and Hallegg castles


Klagenfurt is the economic centre of Carinthia, with 20 % of the industrial companies. In May 2001 there were 63,618 employees in 6,184 companies here. 33 of these companies counted more than 200 employees. The prevalent economical sectors are light industry, electronics, and tourism. There are also several printing offices.


Klagenfurt Airportmarker is a small international airport connecting to some major cities in Europe and holiday resorts abroad.

The city is situated at the intersection of the A2 and S37 motorways. The A2 autobahn runs from Viennamarker via Grazmarker and Klagenfurt to Villachmarker and further to the state border of Italy.The S37 freeway runs from Vienna via Bruck an der Murandmarker Sankt Veit an der Glanmarker to Klagenfurt.The Loibl Passmarker highway B91 goes to Ljubljanamarker, the capital of Sloveniamarker, which is only from Klagenfurt.

The volume of traffic in Klagenfurt is high (motorisation level: 572 cars/1000 inhabitants in 2007).In the 1960s, with the last streetcar line demolished, Klagenfurt was meant to become a car-friendly city, with lots of wide roads. A motorway was even planned to cross the city partly underground, which now, however, by-passes the city in the north. The problem of four railway lines from north, west, south and east meeting at the central station south of the city centre and strangulating city traffic has been eased by a considerable number of underpasses on the main arteries. Nevertheless, despite 28 bus lines, traffic jams are frequent nowadays as in most cities of similar size. Ideas of a rapid transport system using the existing railway rails, of an elevated cable railway to the soccer stadium,or of a regular motorboat service on the Lend Canal from the city centre to the lake have not materialized. But for those who fancy leisurely travel there is a regular motorboat and steamer service on the lake connecting the resorts on Woerthersee. During severe winters, which unfortunately do no longer occur regularly, you might of course be faster crossing the frozen lake on your skates.


There is a civic theatre-cum-opera house with professional companies, a professional symphony orchestra, a state conservatory and concert hall; there are musical societies such as Musikverein (founded in 1826) or Mozartgemeinde, a private experimental theatre company, the State Museum , a modern art museum and the Diocesan museum of religious art; the Artists' House, two municipal and several private galleries, a planetarium in Europa Parkmarker, literary institutions such as the Robert Musil House, and a reputable German-literature competition awarding the prestigious Ingeborg Bachmann Prize.
Klagenfurt is the home of a number of small but fine publishing houses, and several papers or regional editions are also published here including dailies such as "Kärntner Krone", "Kärntner Tageszeitung", "Kleine Zeitung".

Klagenfurt is a popular vacation spot with mountains both to the south and north, numerous parks and a series of 23 stately homes and castles on its outskirts. In summer the city is home to the Altstadtzauber (The Magic of the Old City) festival.

Also located here are the University of Klagenfurtmarker, a campus of the Fachhochschule Kärnten, Carinthia University of Applied Sciences, a college of education for primary and secondary teacher training and further education of teachers as well as a college of general further education (VHS) and two institutions of further professional and vocational education (WIFI and BFI). Among other Austrian educational institutions, there is a Slovene language Gymnasium (established in 1957) and a Slovene language commercial high school. Several Carinthian Slovene cultural and political associations are also based in the city, including the Hermagoras Society, the oldest Slovene publishing house founded in Klagenfurt in 1851.

In addition to cultural attractions and activities available in and around Klagenfurt, this city has one more important attribute that must be mentioned. Klagenfurt is in a central location for many other great European destinations. Klagenfurt is less than an hour's drive from Italymarker and Sloveniamarker, and only a few hours from Viennamarker, Salzburgmarker, Budapestmarker, Bratislavamarker, and Zagrebmarker.




A number of general high schools such as and senior high schools offering general-cum-professional education:

Further Education

  • College of Further Education Volkshochschule
  • Technical Training Institute of the Trade Unions - Berufsförderungsinstitut (BFI)
  • Technical Training Institute of the Chamber of Commerce - Wirtschaftsförderungsinstitut (WIFI)
  • evening schools (Gymnasium and Schools of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering)



The Austrian ice-hockey record-champion EC KAC is one of the best known sports clubs in Austriamarker. The "Eishockey Club Klagenfurter Athletiksport Club" has won the Austrian Championship 29 times and its fans come from all over Carinthiamarker.The Premier League soccer club SK Austria Kärnten is based in Klagenfurt.Klagenfurt hosts the Start/Finish of the Austrian Ironman Contest, 3.8 km swim 180 km bike 42 km run, part of the WTC Ironman series, which culminates in the Hawaii World Championships.

One of the FIVB's Beach Volleyball Grand Slams takes place in Klagenfurt,which also hosted three games during the UEFA Euro 2008 Championships, in the recently built Hypo-Arenamarker. Klagenfurt was also a contender for the 2006 Winter Olympics.and is home to an American Football team, the Carinthian Black Lions, competing in the First League of the Austrian Football League. The Black Lions attract fans from all over Carinthia, playing home games in both Klagenfurt and Villach.

Notable natives and residents


File:Klagenfurt Stadttheater 28012008 02.jpg| Civic Theatre and OperaFile:Landesmuseum für Kärnten.JPG| State museumFile:Stadthaus-Klagenfurt.JPG| The StadthausFile:Klagenfurt Dom.JPG| Klagenfurt CathedralFile:Klagenfurt_Lend.jpg| Lend canal in the centre of KlagenfurtFile:Klagenfurt Annabichl Schloss 08022008 03.jpg| Annabichl ManorFile:Klagenfurt Ehrental Schloss 08022008 03.jpg| Ehrental ManorFile:Klagenfurt Schloss Krastowitz 14072006 02.jpg| Krastowitz ManorFile:Klagenfurt_War_Cemetery.jpg| British Forces War CemeteryFile:Klagenfurt Autobahn Portal Falkenbergtunnel 31102008 34.jpg| A2 autobahn by-pass at Falkenberg tunnelFile:maria theresia1.jpg|Empress Maria Theresa on Neuer PlatzFile:Lindworm and Hercules.jpg|Detail of the Lindworm Fountain

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Klagenfurt is twinned with:


  1. Landesgesetzblatt 2008 vom 16. Jänner 2008, Stück 1, Nr. 1: Gesetz vom 25. Oktober 2007, mit dem die Kärntner Landesverfassung und das Klagenfurter Stadtrecht 1998 geändert werden. (link)
  2. Eberhard Kranzmayer, Ortsnamenbuch von Kärnten. Part II, Klagenfurt 1958, p. 119.
  3. Dieter Jandl, A Brief History of Klagenfurt, revised edition, Klagenfurt 2007, p.8
  4. Pohl, p. 83
  5. Jandl, p. 14
  6. Jandl, p. 7
  7. Janez Jeromen: 150th Anniversary of "Mohorjeva družba" Publishing House. Pošta Slovenije, Ljubljana 2001
  8. August Walzl, Kärnten 1946. Vom NS-Regime zur Besatzungsherrschaft im Alpen-Adria-Raum. Klagenfurt: Universitätsverlag Carinthia 1985, ISBN 3-85378-235-3, p. 117
  9. Zbornik dokumentov in podatkov v narodno osvobodilni vojni jugoslovanskih narodov. Part 6, vol. 12, Ljubljana 1953-1965, pp. 493 ff.
  10. Photos in August Walzl, Kärnten 1945, pp. 326, 327
  11. August Walzl, Kärnten 1945, p. 127 f.
  12. Josef Rausch, Der Partisanenkampf in Kärnten im Zweiten Weltkrieg (= Militärhistorische Schriftenreihe 39/40), Vienna 1979; August Walzl, Kärnten 1945, p. 127, 156
  13. August Walzl, Kärnten 1945, p. 197
  14. Report of Field Marshal Alexander to the Combined Chief of Staffs of May 15, 1945 WO 202/319/040927 (Public Record Office London: War Office, unpublished), in: Walzl, Kärnten 1945, p. 224
  15. Statistik Austria
  16. 150TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE ST HERMAGORAS SOCIETY. Speech of Slovene President Milan Kucan in the Palace of St Hermagoras Society: Meeting the press. Klagenfurt (Austria), 28 September 2001


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