Feldkirch is a medieval city in the western Austrian state of Vorarlberg, at 47°15′N 9°35′E / 47.25°N 9.583°E / 47.25; 9.583, on the border with Switzerland and Liechtenstein. It has a population of 32,193 (2007), and is the administrative center of the district Feldkirch. After Dornbirn, it is the second largest town in Vorarlberg in terms of population, with slightly more inhabitants than the state capital Bregenz.
The beautiful medieval town, which remains well preserved to this day, was mentioned as a city for the first time in 1218, after Count Hugo von Montfort built the "Schattenburg", a castle which still is the major landmark of Feldkirch. Other landmarks of the town include the cathedral of St. Nikolaus from the late Gothic period. It was the birthplace of Rheticus. The town is the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Feldkirch.
The writer James Joyce paid a visit to Feldkirch in 1932 to see his friend Eugene Jolas. He famously remarked to Jolas "Over there, on those tracks, the fate of Ulysses was decided in 1915". Joyce had travelled through Feldkirch by train in 1915, when he moved from Trieste to Zürich to avoid the complexities of living in Austria-Hungary during the first world war. The train was boarded and passengers inspected by officials; if Joyce had been arrested then, he would have been unable to write Ulysses in its present form. There is a passage in the town named after him, and a dedication to him at the train station.
In recent years Feldkirch has built a reputation of having a top ice hockey team. They won the European Cup in 1997/1998 with stars such as Gustafsson and Rundqvist.
Feldkirch is officially twinned with the Town of Whitby, Ontario, Canada.
Last update on 7 May 2010
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