Feldkirchen in Kärnten:
Country-town off the beaten Track
Feldkirchen in Kärnten is a town in Carinthia with approximately 14,300 residents. It is a county town (Bezirkshauptstadt) and thus, the administrative, economic and cultural focus of the region. Since 1930, Feldkirchen is a city. It is not to be confused with "Feldkirch" in Vorarlberg - nor with the several other towns and villages in Austria; thus the specification "in Kärnten" (in Carinthia).
In terms of tourism, Feldkirchen is an attractive town in a central location within the province of Carinthia; yet it is not as touristy as other places (probably because it lacks direct access to lakes, which is an unusual feature for this part of the world). There are several attractions worth noting (especially churches), but let me say a few words on the history of Feldkirchen first.
First populated by Neolithic cultures, Feldkirchen can be properly tracked back to Roman times. Note the tombstone that I describe below. In the 9th century, a church and settlement are recorded. During the Middle Ages, the local noblemen of Eggenstein were Dukes of Carinthia and thus the landlords, but they died out in 1122. In 1166, the Bishop of Bamberg (in today′s Germany - see also my article on Kirchdorf an der Krems), acquired Feldkirchen and surroundings. Since the 15th century, there is a constant threat from Turkish invasions. Only in 1759, Feldkirchen went from Bamberg to Austria.
Attractions of Feldkirchen, Carinthia
The most important sight of Feldkirchen is the Bamberger Amthof. It can be tracked back to the Middle Ages and was used as an administrative headquarter for the civil servants from Bamberg, representatives of the landlords. The Amthof was originally called the "Turm" (tower) of Feldkirchen. When the people of Feldkirchen were seeking shelter from a Turkish invasion in the late 15th century, they ended up entrenching themselves in the Amthof.
In 1993, this old building was renovated. The architects in charge assumed that most of the often remodelled building was approximately 300 years old; they tried to accommodate this and preserved the outside and the remaining arcades in the inner courtyard. Today, the Amthof serves the community of Feldkirchen as a cultural and event venue, but also as a register office - so you can get married in the Amthof. There is also a small town museum in the Amthof, another reason why it is a good starting point for exploring Feldkirchen.
Sacral Sightseeing of Feldkirchen: Churches, Chapels & more
Other attractions are mostly sacral: There are several churches in Feldkirchen worth a closer look. Note the Stadtpfarrkirche Maria Himmelfahrt, also called "Maria im Dorn". This is the main parish church of Feldkirchen. The first church on its site was built in 1065/66, when it belonged to the local noble family of Eppensteiner. The base of today′s church was built in 1166 and is Romanesque. The church became home to a parish in 1285. It was equipped with a Baroque tower and re-modelled interiors in the 17th century, some elements of the interiors are Biedermeier in style.
The smaller church of St. Michael can be found in the southern part of Feldkirchen. It is a Gothic church that was "upgraded" to neo-Baroque style in the early 19th century. Bloody shame, at this time one would have expected a bit more sensitivity. Written records date back to 1387. Another smaller church of Feldkirchen is the "Filialkirche Hl. Philip und Hl. Jakob", which was built in Gothic style in 1438. It has a very characteristic tower.
The church Filialkirche Hl. Martin in the hamlet of St. Martin is a Gothic church with a Romanesque core. It was first mentioned in 1136, and first mentioned as a parish church in 1519. The Pfarrkirche Hl. Nikolaus is another parish church in the hamlet of St. Nikolai; it is a small church surrounded by a defence wall. Its existence can be tracked back to 1353; in 1894, the church′s main nave was extended.
The Pfarrkirche St. Ulrich is a Romanesque church that was first mentioned in 1144. The small church of Hl. Lambert can be found in the hamlet of Hart and known for its interiors. The Lutheran church Trinitatiskirche was built in 1853 and can be found in the hamlet of Waiern. In yet another hamlet, Rottendorf, you will find the church "Hl. Wolfgang und Hl. Magdalena". It is a defence church ("Wehrkirche") dating back to the 15th century.
Non-sacral Sights of Feldkirchen
In terms of non-religious attractions, Feldkirchen has less to offer. Note the Roman tombstone that was incorporated into the wall of the church St. Michael. The inscription means: "Aurelia Sura had this stone be made when she was still alive - for herself, her beloved husband Tricco and their son Ursus, who died at the age of 32."
Note also the Schloss Dietrichstein, a countryside chateaux of the
Dietrichstein family. Otherwise, there are the obligatory attractions of historic towns in Austria: The
market square, the Rathaus and nice town houses. Note also the ruined castle of
Burgruine Prägrad in the hamlet of Prägrad. Not much left, but in a scenic location.