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What you need to know about Klagenfurt

Klagenfurt am Wörthersee is the capital of the federal state of Carinthia in Austria. With a population of 99,100, 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-Universität Klagenfurt.

Population: Estimate  99,624.
Area: 120 km²

Currency

Euro is the official currency of Austria

Culture

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 Park, literary institutions such as the Robert Musil House, and a reputable German-literature competition awarding the prestigious Ingeborg Bachmann Prize. The Artists’ House, 1913/14, Architect: Franz Baumgartner. 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 Klagenfurt, 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.

Economy

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 employed more than 200 people. The prevalent economic sectors are light industry, electronics, and tourism. There are also several printing offices.

Language

Austrian German is the official language of Austria, while Alemannic and Austro-Bavarian are the major unofficial languages.

Name

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 made 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 more recent and thus could 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. Scholars had at various 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. In 2007, the city changed its official name to “Klagenfurt am Wörthersee” (i.e., Klagenfurt on Lake Wörth). However, since there are no other settlements by the name of Klagenfurtanywhere, the previous shorter name remains unambiguous.

Transport

Klagenfurt Airport is a small international airport connecting to some major cities in Europe and holiday resorts abroad. There is also a Klagenfurt Hauptbahnhof (German: central station) located south of the city centre. The city is situated at the intersection of the A2 and S37 motorways. The A2 autobahn runs from Vienna via Graz and Klagenfurt to Villachand further to the state border of Italy. The S37 freeway runs from Vienna via Bruck an der Mur and Sankt Veit an der Glan to Klagenfurt. The Loibl Pass highway B91 goes to Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, which is only 88 km (55 mi) 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 (tram) line demolished, Klagenfurt was meant to become a car-friendly city, with lots of wide roads. A motorway was even planned which was to cross the city partly underground, but which now by-passes the city to 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 football 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 Wörthersee. During severe winters, which no longer occur regularly, you might of course be faster crossing the frozen lake on your skates.

Weather

Klagenfurt has a typical continental climate, with a fair amount of 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 (44.8 °F), while the average temperature in 2005 was 9.3 °C (48.7 °F).