In 1905 a part of the municipal area St. Martin was incorporated. In 1973 the city area was further enlarged through the incorporation of Landskron, Maria Gail and Fellach.
The oldest human traces found in Villach date back to the Neolithic. Many Roman artifacts have been discovered in the city, as it was near an important Roman road (today called Römerweg) from Italy into the Noricum province established in 15 BC. A mansio named Sanctium was probably located at the hot spring in Warmbad south of the city centre. After the Slavic settlement of the Eastern Alps about 600, the area was part of the Carantania principality, and under Bavarian overlordship from about 740.
An 878 deed of donation, issued by the Carolingian ruler Carloman of Bavaria, mentions a bridge in what is today Villach. In 979 Emperor Otto II enfeoffed Bishop Albuin of Brixen with the Villach manor. The adjacent settlement was given to the Bishopric of Bamberg in 1007 and received market town status in 1060, though Villach was not mentioned as a town in records until 1240. The first mayor took office in the 16th century.
The 1348 Friuli earthquake destroyed a large parts of the town, another devastating earthquake occurred in 1690. There were also several fires in Villach, which destroyed many buildings.
From 1526 onwards, many citizens turned Protestant, which entailed harsh Counter-Reformation measures by the ecclesiastical rulers, forcing numerous residents to leave the town and precipitating the economic decline. In 1759 the Habsburg empress Maria Theresa formally purchased the Bamberg territories in Carinthia for a price of one million guldens. Villach was incorporated into the lands of the Habsburg Monarchy and became the administrative seat of a Carinthian district. During the Napoleonic Wars, the city was part of the French Illyrian provinces from 1809, until it was re-conquered by the forces of the Austrian Empire in 1813.
The city's economy was decisively promoted by the Südbahn railway, which finally reached Villach in 1864, providing growth and expansion. In World War I, the town near the Italian front was the seat of the 10th Army command of the Austro-Hungarian Army.
During the period of the Austrian Anschluss to Nazi Germany (1938–45), the mayor of Villach was Oskar Kraus, an enthusiastic Nazi. A memorial for the 1919 border conflict that led to the Carinthian Plebiscite caused controversy when it was inaugurated in 2002, as Kraus, who had not been especially prominent in the conflict, was the only person named.
During World War II, allied forces bombed Villach 37 times. About 42,500 bombs killed 300 people and damaged 85% of the buildings. Nevertheless the city quickly recovered. Today, Villach is a bustling city with commerce and recreation, yet it retains its historic background.
The municipal council (Gemeinderat) consists of 45 members, with the mayor as president, and following the 2009 elections is composed of:
- Social Democratic Party of Austria (SPÖ): 21 seats
- Alliance for the Future of Austria (BZÖ): 12 seats
- Austrian People's Party (ÖVP): 9 seats
- Austrian Green Party: 2 seats
- Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ): 1 seat
The city government of Villach (Stadtsenat) consists of seven members. It is chaired by the mayor, who is directly elected by the people. The other members—two vice-mayors and four town councillors—are appointed by the municipal council, with party affiliations according to the election results.
- Mayor Helmut Manzenreiter, SPÖ
- First vice-mayor Richard Pfeiler, SPÖ
- Second vice-mayor Wally Rettl, FPK
- Councillor Mag. Gerda Sandriesser, SPÖ
- Councillor Mag. Peter F. Weidinger, ÖVP
- Councillor Mag. Hilde Schaumberger, SPÖ
- Councillor Mag. Dr. Josef Zauchner, FPK
|Largest groups of foreign residents|
|23x15px Bosnia and Herzegovina||1,549|
Twin towns — Sister cities
Villach is twinned with:
- 23x15px Bamberg, Germany
- 23x15px Udine, Italy
- 23x15px Suresnes, France
- 23x15px Springfield, Illinois, USA
There are several festivals throughout the year:
- The carnival in Villach (which starts on November 11 and ends on March 4)
- The arts and crafts festival (with self made goods)
- Villacher Fasching or Mardi Gras
- The streets-art festival (displays performances of artists and singers)
- The "Villacher Kirchtag" (a festival spanning a whole week in summer and ends on August's first Saturday.)
- Performances on a floating stage on the Drau River
- Alex Antonitsch, tennis player
- Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, former CEO of the Nestlé Group
- Kurt Diemberger, mountaineer and author
- Anton Ghon, pathologist
- Bruno Gironcoli, modern artist
- Eva Glawischnig-Piesczek, Green politician
- Michael Grabner, NHL hockey player for the New York Islanders
- Heidemarie Hatheyer, actress
- Herbert Hohenberger, ice hockey player
- Florian Hufsky, new media artist and political activist
- Martin Koch, ski jumper
- Roland Kollmann, footballer
- Joahim Košutnik, mathematician
- Peter Löscher, current[update] President and CEO of Siemens AG
- Ernst Melchior, footballer
- Valentin Oman, artist
- Hubert Petschnigg, architect
- Michael Raffl, NHL hockey player for the Philadelphia Flyers
- Paul Watzlawick, psychologist and philosopher
- Statistik Austria - Bevölkerung zu Jahres- und Quartalsanfang, 2014-01-01.
- "Einwohnerzahl und Komponenten der Bevölkerungsentwicklung (Population and Components of Population Growth)" (PDF) (in German). Statistik Österreich (English Version). 2007-11-29. Retrieved 2007-12-27.
- Lisa Rettl, Werner Koroschitz, "Ein korrekter Nazi: Oskar Kraus, ns-oberbürgermeister von Villach", Drava (2006), ISBN 3-85435-501-7
- ORF Kärnten, "Oskar Kraus - ein korrekter Nazi" Invalid language code.
- "Luftkrieg (aerial warfare) "Ostmark"". www.airpower.at (in German). Martin Rosenkranz. 2003-08-13. Retrieved 2007-12-18.
- Wahlergebnisse 2009
- Unser Bürgermeister - Helmut Manzenreiter personal website (in German)
- "Statistisches Jahrbuch 2011" (PDF). www.villach.at. Stadt Villach - Melde- und Standesamt, Statistik. Retrieved 2014-07-23.
|40x40px||Wikimedia Commons has media related to Villach.|
- Municipal data for Villach. In: Statistik Austria.
- Villach - official web site (English version)
- Kowatsch - Villach Bus System official site
- - official web site of the Carinthia University of Applied Sciences - FH Kärnten