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Bregenz History, Austria

Located at the base of Pfander Mountain along the eastern shore of Lake Constance, Bregenz is the capital of the province of Vorarlberg and of the administrative region of Bregenz. As the capital of Austria’s most modern province, Bregenz is becoming more popular not because of its past but because of its contemporary architectures, festivals, and art exhibits. Here are some of the facts in Bregenz History.

Bregenzn History - Ancient Times

Historical records show that early settlers inhabited the region in about 1500 BC. The Celtic tribe of Brigantes occupied the area that became known as Brigantion in the 5th century BC. This settlement’s upper town became one of the strongly armed fortresses of the Celts. By mid-5th century BC, the town was devastated by wars and was not significantly inhabited until the 10th century BC.

Bregenz History - Under the Romans

In order to expand the Roman Empire in 15 BC, Tiberius’ legions occupied the Celtic fortress and made it into a Roman camp. It was later given the status of a municipality (Brigantium) in 50 AD and became the center of Roman power in the Lake Constance area.

Brigantium was said to be bigger than the present day Vorarlberg. However, during the Germanic migrations in 6th century AD, Brigantium was destroyed by the Alemans who settled in the area as well, thus making it the only region in Austria today with an Alemannic population.

Bregenz History - Under the Ulrichs and Montforts

By the year 500, the Ulrichs governed the county and became the ruling dynasty of Vorarlberg. They often called themselves the Counts of Bregenz. However, the house died out in 1150.

In 1206, the county’s rule was passed on to the Counts of Montfort. The Montforts were successful in gradually expanding Bregenz’s territory by acquiring the surrounding counties including Feldkirch and Bludenz.

Bregenz History - During the 14th century to 19th century

Unfortunately, the expanded Bregenz started to be sold little by little to the Counts of Tirol or the Habsburgs – Feldkirch in 1375, Bludenz and Montafon valley in 1394, and the county of Bregenz in two parts in 1451 and 1523.

In January 4, 1647, Bregenz was looted by the Swedes in the Thirty Year’s War. After that, its wood trade collapsed. This economic misfortune was saved by the institution of the Bregenzian corn market. Together with its economic growth, Bregenz also gained politically. After 1726, Bregenz was made as one of the main Austrian administrative seats in Vorarlberg and in the year 1744, Bregenz defeated the French in the Austrian War of Succession.

From a period between 1805 and 1814, Bregenz became part of Bavaria. In 1842 to 1850, a harbor was constructed, which was expanded in 1889-1891 to improve the Austrian ship service. Railways have been present since 1872, which helped expand Bregenz to its surrounding countryside.

Bregenz History - Modern Times

After the fall of the Austrian monarchy, Vorarlberg became autonomous and made Bregenz its capital. In 1919, Rieden-Vorkloster was added to Bregenz followed by Fluh in 1946. After 1945, Bregenz flourished anew through tourism.

Bregenz History showed the development of this place. Gain more knowledge on Austrian facts through Innsbruck History and Salzburg History.
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  • WazlingBergen, nice city by the lake
    review by Wazling posted more then 30 days ago
    Nice Austrian city, lying directly to the lake of Constance. In the summer it offers you great views on the sea and there are a lot of possibilities where you can sit down and drink a coffee a eat icecream. You can also take a walk at the lake, but not everywhere it's n ice, because one of the...
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Bregenz City Ratings

  • Rating58%
    City Rank304
  • History & Culture: rated for 65%
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  • Family & Fun: rated for 65%
  • Outdoors Activities: rated for 65%
  • Food: rated for 55%
  • Sightseeing: rated for 50%
  • Shopping: rated for 45%
  • Public Transportation: rated for 60%
  • Must visit this place: rated for 60%
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