Though first historically mentioned in the 11th century, Klagenfurt was first considered to be truly established by the founding of its marketplace in the 13th century. A small town of about 90000, it’s remarkable the city has survived as well as it has. It’s seen earthquakes, locusts, fires, Turks, Napoleon and the Peasant Wars, and yet survived them all. It further survived WWII bombings by declaring that it would be an open city’ should the Allied Troops arrive in the city.
All this has happily left the tourists with quite an interesting sightseeing package. Since the 19th century, Klagenfurt has been an important cultural centre, and several well known personalities are tied to the city’s history – the novelis Robert Musil, the composer Gustav Mahler, and the poet France Preseren.
For the tourist, Klagenfurt serves up a classic little ‘Old Town’, full of historical architecture, pretty courtyards and charming boutiques. There’s also a garden of architectural miniatures and the Wothersee (a warm alpine lake popular with the locals). There are also some houses dedicated to its historic dignitaries. The shopping is good around Alter Platz. The food is authentic and simple Austrian.