Bregenz is a city that is located in Austria and is the capital of the state of Vorarlberg. It is situated on Lake Constance’s eastern shore and is at the base of Pfander Mountain. This city covers an area of eleven square miles and has a population of twenty-seven thousand residents. Bregenz has a rich history that goes back thirty-five hundred years. Its first settlements go back to 1500 BC. During the fifth century BC, the Celts founded Brigantion, a settlement that was heavily fortified. Around 15 BC, the Romans conquered this city and it was turned into a Roman camp. Brigantium received municipal status in 50 AD and become the seat of the Roman admiralty for Constance Lake. In 260 AD, the city was destroyed by a Germanic tribe known as the Alemanni, who lived in the area until 450 AD. During the seventh century, St. Columbanus and Saint Gall did missionary work in Bregenz. From the tenth century the castle served as a home to the ruling dynasty of Vorarlberg, the Udalrichinger. The son of the first Ulrich was born in 947 and would go on to become St. Gebhard. St. Gebhard became the Bishop of Konstanz and would later become the patron of pregnant women.
The settlement then went through several historical events, begining with its sale in the fifteenth century to the Hapsburgs. It would remain under Bavarian rule from 1805 through 1814. In 1850, the harbor was constructed and later enlarged in 1883. In 1884, Austrian ship service was established. Today, the city of Bregenz is the seat of the provincial government of Vorarlberg. It is also home to most of the provinces authorities such as supervisor of the schools and police headquarters. Other government institutions in the city include Office for Environmental Protection, Chamber of Pharmacists, Economics Chamber, military regional headquarters, Chamber of Labour and the provinces sanitarium Landeskrankenhaus. Other public facilities in the city include Pfander mountain cable car system, Theater am Kornmarkt and Festival and Congress Center. The economy of Bregenz is dependant on small business in the trade, industrial and service sectors. Important industries in the city include iron works, textiles, machine construction and glass processing. The city is also dependant on its two tourist seasons. In the winter it is known for winter sports on Pfander Mountain, and in summer its known for its wide range of tourist attractions.
Bregenz has several landmarks located within the city. These include Lake Promenade, Martin’s Tower, the Art House, the Post Office Building and St. Gallus Church. In the upper part of town are several buildings which were built between the thirteenth and sixteenth centuries. These include the Martinsturm, parish church of St. Gall and Herz-Jesu parish church. Lower town attractions include Bregenz Town Hall, Seekapelle, Landhaus, Kornhausmarkt, Protestant church of the Sacred Cross, Tourismushaus Tourist Center, Cistercian monastery of Mehrerau, Maria Hilf parish church, Kunsthaus Bregenz and Hohenbregenz Fortress.
Another prominent attraction in Bregenz is the Voralberg Provincial Museum. The Voralberg Provincial Museum is situated on the northern side of Kommarktplatz in the city. The ground floor of the museum contains exhibits from the Stone, Iron and Bronze ages. It also contains Roman artifacts that were taken from various archaeological digs around the city. The next floor up is dedicated to the Gothic and Renaissance periods. Items that can be found here include weapons, armor, crafts, homestead items, costumes and musical instruments. The third floor contains more valuable items from these periods, as well as items taken from the Carolingian period. Items here include paintings, coins and metal work. A very popular attraction in the city is the Breganz Lake District. Around the lake are parks and musical pavilions where visitors can take a rest from the hustle and bustle of the city. To the south of the pavilions is a bathing area, tennis courts and a stadium. There is also a floating stage that has seating for over four thousand people. On the bank is Congress Hall and Festival Theater.
The Wettingen-Mehrerau Abbey is another attraction that must be seen while in Bregenz. This is a Cistercian monastery that is located on the outskirts of the city. The first monastery that was erected on this site was built by St. Columbanus in the seventh century. Not long after, a nunnery was built nearby. The monastery was reformed in the eleventh century by the monk Gottfried and the Rule of Saint Benedict was started. At the end of the eleventh century, the abbey was rebuilt once again by Count Ulrich. During the Reformation, the abbey was a staunch supported of Roman Catholicism in the state of Vorarlberg. The monastery suffered heavy damage during the Thirty Years War and after the war had to be once again reconstructed. By the eighteenth century, work on the monastery was complete, as well as the work on the monastic buildings surrounding it. The beginning of the nineteenth century saw the church closing its doors and many of is buildings sold at auction. In 1809, the church was torn down and the material used to build Lindau Harbor. In 1853, the buildings were bought from their previous owner by permission of Emperor Franz Joseph I. The following year, the Cistercian Abbey of Wettingen-Mehrerau was reopened. That very same year a monastery school was also formed. Many of the monastic buildings were extended and in 1859, a new church was built.
Bregenz is also home to a number of pubs, restaurants and hotels. Popular restaurants in the city include the Tokyo japanisches Restaurant, Germania Viersternhotel, Matt Gasthof-Pension and the Neubeck Restaurant. Popular hotels in the city include the Hotel Kaiser, Messmer Hotel Am Kornmarkt Ges, Hotel Deutschmann, Hotel Germania & Steinenbach Kulinarium, Hotel Schwarzler, Hotel Mercure, Hotel Schwarzler and the Hotel Bodensee. The city is also home to a number of notable shops and two fairs which take place each summer and spring. The summer festival is known as the Bregenzer Festspiele and brings thousands of visitors to the city each and every year.