Feldkirch - Encyclopedia

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FELDKIRCH, a small town in the Austrian province of the Vorarlberg, some 20 M. S. of the S. end of the Lake of Constance. It is situated in a green hollow, on the Ill river, between the two narrow rocky gorges through which it flows out into the broad valley of the Rhine. Hence, though containing only about 4000 inhabitants (German-speaking and Romanist), the town is of great military importance, since it commands the entrance into Tirol from the west, over the Arlberg Pass (5912 ft.), and has been the scene of many conflicts, the last in 1799, when the French, under Oudinot and Massena, were driven back by the Austrians under Hotze and Jellachich. It is a picturesque little town, overshadowed by the old castle of Schattenburg (now a poor-house), built about 1200 by the count of Montfort, whose descendant in 1375 sold it to the Habsburgs. The town contains many administrative offices, and is the residence of a suffragan bishop, who acts as vicar-general of the diocesan, the bishop of Brixen. Among the principal buildings are the parish church, dating from 1487, and possessing a "Descent from the Cross" (1521), which has been attributed to Holbein, the great Jesuit educational establishment called "Stella Matutina," and a Capuchin convent and church. There is a considerable amount of transit trade at Feldkirch, which by rail is 11 m. from Buchs (Switzerland), through the principality of Liechtenstein, 24 m. from Bregenz, and 991 m. from Innsbruck by tunnel beneath the Arlberg Pass. The town also possesses numerous industrial establishments, such as factories for cotton-spinning, weaving, bell-founding, dyeing, &c. (W. A. B. C.)

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