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Lech am Arlberg is a mountain village and an exclusive ski resort in the Bludenz district in the Austrian state of Vorarlberg 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. The municipality is an internationally known winter sports resort on the mountain range Arlberg.
Location in the district
|• Mayor||Ludwig Muxel|
|• Total||90.03 km2 (34.76 sq mi)|
|Elevation||1,444 m (4,738 ft)|
|• Density||17/km2 (45/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+1 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+2 (CEST)|
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.
In the last decades, the small town has developed into a flourishing municipality by the influence of winter tourism and increasingly, also by summer tourism.
In recent years Lech has grown to become one of the world's 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. Christoph, St. Anton, Stuben, Warth and Schröcken, not least as a result of new lifts introduced for the 2013/14 and 2016/17 seasons, creating the largest connected ski area in Austria and one of the largest in Europe.
Together these villages form the Arlberg region, the birthplace 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.
Although not as well frequented in the summer as it is in the winter, Lech nevertheless has sporting, cultural, culinary and other activities. There are many premier hotels in Lech, as well as numerous top class restaurants.
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
- "Horizon-Fields": life sized human sculptures by the sculptor Antony Gormley, which were placed in the mountains surrounding Lech, at an altitude of 2039 metres. Originally numbering 100, most were removed in April 2012, although some few still remain.
- The green ring: a three-day tour around Lech-Zürs in Vorarlberg, where a literary hiking guide serves as a guide. Along the trail are 35 art installations about local people, culture and stories. It was a LEADER-Project, done by the two artists: Daniela Egger and Daniel Kocher. The art and literature project "The Green Ring" is to be continuously and sustainably expanded and extended in the coming years.
- The Skyspace Lech is an art installation by James Turrell. A skyspace is an enclosed space which is open to the sky through a large hole in the ceiling. Visitors gaze at the colour-changing light at the walls and at the sky during sunrise and sunset. It was opened in 2018.
There are numerous events happening in Lech.
- The White Ring (Der Weiße Ring) is the longest ski race in the world, according to Guinness Book of Records. 5.500 meters of altitude, 22 km of ski runs. Skipionier Sepp Bildstein is the inventor of the White Ring, the ski resort that has been connecting the villages of Lech, Zürs, Zug and Oberlech for over 50 years. In 1940, the first ski lift was built on the White Ring, thus laying the foundations for a legendary skiing holiday. In addition to 22 km of ski runs, the Wintersporters have a unique mountain backdrop, which invites visitors to the sightseeingtour thanks to viewing platforms and art installations. The race at the White Ring was held in 2006 for the 50th anniversary of the ski resort. The course record is 44:10:75 minutes and held since 2010 by Markus Weiskopf.
- Medicinicum Lech: A public health event that deals with topics related to health and nutrition.
- Arlberg Classic Car Rally: In 2017, for the 8th time, 120 classic cars from 1908 to 1973 are on tour between Arlberg and Zugspitze for three days as a rolling museum. In memory of the great achievements of the former road builders, the beginning of the really leads from Lech down through the Flexenpassgalerie to Stuben and finally to Wald am Arlberg. The route between Lech and Zürs was opened in 1897 and is regarded as a technical masterpiece.
- Trudi Beiser, 1940s and 1950s Olympic skiing champion and World skiing champion
- Hans Wilhelm Hammerbacher (1903-1980), German author and Nazi
- Othmar Schneider, 1950s Olympic skiing champion
- Egon Zimmermann, 1960s Olympic skiing champion and World skiing champion
- Patrick Ortlieb, 1990s Olympic skiing champion and World skiing champion
- Herbert Jochum, Trainer of American Women's Olympic Ski Team (Zürs)
Lech is at the center of the thriller An Exchange of Eagles by Owen Sela, in which a group of German and American conspirators in 1940 tries to assassinate Adolf Hitler during the dictator's stay at the resort.
- "Dauersiedlungsraum der Gemeinden Politischen Bezirke und Bundesländer - Gebietsstand 1.1.2018". Statistics Austria. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
- "Einwohnerzahl 1.1.2018 nach Gemeinden mit Status, Gebietsstand 1.1.2018". Statistics Austria. Retrieved 9 March 2019.
- Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004), retrieved 22 May 2017
- "Lechmuseum – Huber-Hus". Lechmuseum (in German). Retrieved 22 May 2017.
- "KUNSTHAUS BREGENZ - HORIZON FIELD". www.kunsthaus-bregenz.at. Retrieved 22 May 2017.
- Arlberg, Lech Zürs am. "The Green Ring - Der Grüne Ring". www.dergruenering.at (in German). Retrieved 24 May 2017.
- "Skyspace Lech • Skyspace Lech". Skyspace Lech. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
- "Der Weiße Ring". www.derweissering.at (in German). Retrieved 22 May 2017.
- Citation error. See inline comment how to fix.[verification needed]
- Arlberg, Lech Zürs am. "Medicinicum Lech". www.lech-zuers.at. Retrieved 22 May 2017.
- GmbH, Lech Zür Toursimus. "- Der Grüne Ring". www.arlbergclassic-car-rally.at (in German). Retrieved 22 May 2017.