VILLACH, a town in Carinthia, Austria, 24 m. W. of Klagenfurt by rail. Pop. (1900) 9690. It is situated on the Drave, near its confluence with the Gail, in a broad fertile basin at the foot of the Dobratsch or Villacher Alp (7107 ft.). The parish church is an interesting Gothic edifice of the 15th century. The principal industry of Villach consists in the fabrication of various lead wares, and is mostly dependent on the lead mines of Bleiberg, which is situated about 9 m. to the west. This village (pop. 3435) is one of the richest lead-mining centres in Europe. The ores found here comprise silver-free galena, sulphate of zinc and calamine. The mines were already worked during the middle ages. Warmbad Villach, a watering-place with hot sulphur baths, and Mittewald, a favourite summer resort, whence the ascent of the Dobratsch can be made, are in the neighbourhood of Villach. Some of the prettiest Carinthian lakes are to be found near Villach, as the Ossiacher-see, on whose southern shore stands the ruined castle of Landskron, dating from the middle of the 16th century, the Worther-see and the small but lovely Faaker-see.
Villach is an old town, which was given by Heinrich II. to the bishopric of Bamberg in 1007. During the middle ages it was an important centre of commerce between Germany and Italy. With the advent of new trade routes at the beginning of modern times the town lost its importance, and in 1745 the citizens nearly decided to emigrate en masse. Its trade revived during the French occupation of 1800-13, and it continued to improve during the 19th century. The Turks were defeated here in 1492 by Maximilian I., and an engagement between the Austrians and the French took place here on the 21st of August 1813.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)