Monday, February 15, 2016

Lech and Kitzbuhel

Lech and Kitzbuhel

Executive summary by Darmansjah

Lech am Arlberg (1,444m) is a mountain village (population: 1635, 30 June 2010) and an exclusive ski resort in the Bludenz district of Vorarlberg, in western Austria, on the banks of the river Lech. In terms of both geography and history, Lech belongs to the Tannberg district. In tourist terms, however, it is part of the Arlberg region. Lech is administered together with the neighbouring villages of Zürs, Zug, Oberlech and Stubenbach.

Lech was founded in the fourteenth century by Walser migrants from the canton of Wallis in Switzerland.

Until the nineteenth century it was known as Tannberg, but subsequently the full name "Tannberg am Lech" gave rise to the present name Lech.

The church of St Nicholas in Lech, which is thought to have been built in approximately 1390, was the parish church of the Tannberg administrative district, and there was also a Tannberg district court in Lech until the dissolution of the Tannberg district in 1806.

Ski centre

In recent years Lech has grown to become one of the world's premier ski destinations and the home of a number of world and Olympic ski champions.

Lech is best known for its skiing (both on-piste and off-piste). It is well connected via mechanical lifts and groomed pistes with the neighbouring villages of Zürs, St Christof, St. Anton, Stuben and, with effect from the 2013/2014 winter, Warth and Schröcken - together they form the Arlberg region, the birth place of the modern Alpine skiing technique and the seat of the Ski Club Arlberg. Lech is also the starting and finishing point for "Der Weisse Ring" ("The White Ring"), a circle of runs and lifts that is a popular tour and the scene of an annual race involving both experts and others.

Lech is a popular holiday destination for Royal families and celebrities, for example Tom Cruise, Diana, Princess of Wales, and the former Queen Beatrix and the Dutch Royal family. In February 2012, Beatrix's son Prince Johan Friso was seriously injured in an avalanche while skiing in Lech.

The mountain holiday in the movie Bridget Jones' Diary 2 was shot in Lech.

Other attractions

Although not as well frequented in the summer as it is in the winter, Lech nevertheless has much to offer the summer visitor, in terms of sporting, cultural, culinary and other activities. There are many premier hotels in Lech, as well as numerous top class restaurants.

One former well-known visitor was the writer Ludwig Bemelmans (author of the Madeline books), whose 1949 novel "The Eye of God" was set in a fictionalised Lech.

Lech has a number of points of cultural interest, including:

the church of St Nicholas, which was built in the gothic style in approximately 1390 and was extensively renovated in 1987. Particular features are the rococo interior dating from 1791 (although some earlier romanesque frescoes can also be seen); the 33 metre high tower with its distinctive onion-shaped dome; and bronze bells of which the oldest dates from the beginning of the sixteenth century.

the historic Huber House, now a museum, which was built in 1590 and shows examples of the earlier way of life and work, including the original kitchen and workshop.

one hundred life sized human sculptures by the sculptor Antony Gormley, which have recently been placed in the mountains surrounding Lech, at an altitude of 2039 metres. They will be displayed on the mountain until April 2012.


Kitzbühel  is a small medieval town in Tyrol, Austria and the administrative centre of the Kitzbühel district (Bezirk). It has a population of 8,204 (as of 1 January 2010).

The town is situated in the Kitzbühel Alps about 100 kilometres (62 mi) east of the state capital of Innsbruck. It is a ski resort of international renown.

Sport

Kitzbühel is one of Austria's best-known and fanciest winter sports resorts, situated between the mountains Hahnenkamm (5616 ft, 1712 m) and Kitzbühler Horn (6548 ft, 1996 m). The Hahnenkamm is home of the annual World Cup ski races, including the circuit's most important event, the downhill race on the famous Streif slope. This downhill is counted as one of the toughest downhill competitions in the World Cup.

Each summer Kitzbühel also hosts an ATP tennis tournament on clay, the Austrian Open.

From 2007 to 2011, ITU Triathlon World Cup races took place at the local Schwarzsee lake.

The Kitzbüheler Alpenrallye is an annual festival of historic automobiles. It was first held in 1988. The first trip of the United Buddy Bears was 2004 to Kitzbühel, following by the first trip into the "big wide world" – when they went to Hong Kong and many other metropolises on all five continents.

Tourism

Together with the pistes and ski lifts in neighbouring Kirchberg in Tirol, Jochberg and by the Thurn Pass Kitzbühel is one of the largest ski regions in Austria. With around 10,000 hotel and guest house beds, Kitzbühel and its neighbours have an unusually high density of guest accommodation.

Holidaymakers in Kitzbühel have 56 cableway and lift facilities and 168 kilometres of slopes available to them, as well as 40 kilometres of groomed cross-country skiing tracks. Of note is the relatively new 3S Cable Car, the cable car with the highest above-ground span in the world.

In summer there are 120 km (75 mi) of mountain bike paths and 500 km (311 mi) of hiking trails.

Other attractions include six tennis courts and four golf courses, the Kitzbühel swimming pool, Austria's only curling hall and the bathing lake of Schwarzsee.

Kitzbühel also caters for the high end of the tourist market, as many celebrities and the jet set come here for the international races on the Hahnenkamm.
Transport

Road:

The Brixental Road, the B170, from Wörgl intersects in Kitzbühel with the Thurn Pass Road, the B161, from Mittersill to St. Johann in Tirol. Kitzbühel station is a major bus stop for buses to Lienz and Worgl.

Rail:

Kitzbühel Hauptbahnhof, Kitzbühel Hahnenkamm and Kitzbühel Schwarzsee are stops on the Salzburg-Tyrol Railway. Whilst Hahnenkamm and Schwarzsee stations are served by local trains only, long-distance services from Innsbruck and Graz stop at Kitzbühel station. Kitzbühel station has just been rebuilt (2010) and been equipped with new barrier-less platforms with underpasses and a lift. From 2011 there will be no stationmaster at Kitzbühel and it will no longer be possible to buy tickets at the counter.

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