Villach, Austria – Kirchtag, 1975

Villach, Austria is located in the state of Kärnten (Carinthia) in the South, and is situated on the Drau river. It is an important traffic hub for the entire region of southern Austria and the Alpe-Adria area. It is also beautiful – I lived there from February to August of 1975, and while I was there I was privileged to experience Villacher Kirchtag, one of Austria’s largest cultural festivals.

Kirchtag (literally “church day,” but encompassing more of a summer harvest festival than anything else) was begun on 1 August, 1936. It begins on the first Saturday in August and runs for a week. The annual Trachtenfestzug (regional costume parade) that takes place on the first day can attract 40,000 to 50,000 spectators.

Below, for your viewing pleasure, the photos I took of the event in 1975.

Austria - Villacher Kirchtag

To the Amusement Park

 Villach - Kirchtag - Amusement area


Villach - Kirchtag - Fireworks


Villach - Kirchtag - Parade


Villach - Kirchtag - Priest

Local clergy

Villach - Kirchtag - Trachten parade


Villach - Kirchtag 1

Hauptplatz festivities

Villacher Kirchtag - Fireworks.jpg

More Fireworks

Villacher Kirchtag 1

Ferris Wheel

Villacher Kirchtag 2

Amusement park

Villacher Kirchtag 3


Villacher Kirchtag 4


Villacher Kirchtag 5

Making a point

Villacher Kirchtag 6


Villacher Kirchtag 7

Dancing girls

Villacher Kirchtag 8

Spook Alley

Villacher Kirchtag 9


Villacher Kirchtag 10


Villacher Kirchtag 11


Villacher Kirchtag 12


Villacher Kirchtag 13


Villacher Kirchtag 14

Crowds gather to watch the parade

Villacher Kirchtag 15


Villacher Kirchtag 16


Villacher Kirchtag 17

Looking towards the train station

Villacher Kirchtag 18

Folk Dancing

Villacher Kirchtag 19


Villacher Kirchtag 20


Villacher Kirchtag 21


Villacher Kirchtag 22


Villacher Kirchtag 23

Hauptplatz again

Villacher Kirchtag 24

Looking the other way

Villacher Kirchtag 25


Villacher Kirchtag 26


Villacher Kirchtag 27

Local costume

Villacher Kirchtag 28

Oh my God it’s a bear get in the car!

Villacher Kirchtag 29


Villacher Kirchtag 30

Local color of a different kind.

Villacher Kirchtag 31

Music everywhere



My Kirchtag-ID, similar to today’s concert or event wristbands.

Our little meeting house was on the  second floor of one of the buildings along Hauptplatz, giving us a front-row seat for all the festivities. I love Villach, and I have enjoyed every chance to get back.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Images of Villach

I lived in Austria for almost two years, between 1975 and 1976. It has a picturesque beauty comparable to that of Switzerland, and I was privileged to live in this beautiful land and get to know these good people.

In October of 2002, I had the chance of returning again – not the first time I had been back, but I took some pictures of Villach during that trip, the first city I lived in. I share them here for your gratuitous enjoyment.

Villacher Hauptplatz – 10/22/2002

Gasthof Hofwirt – Villach Main Square. Our church had a meeting place on the second floor in the 70’s.

Hot chestnut vendor in the middle of the main square.

Sankt Nikolai Church

Autumn Colors

Villach on the Drau – Autumn colors on the river

This is a 1975 view of the main square from the Hofwirt building shown above, but from the other way – the St. Nikolai church in the background. The square used to be a traffic thoroughfare before it was turned into a pedestrian space – a great improvement, in my opinion.

Villach Square, March 1975, showing traffic lanes.

Town square during Villach Kirchtag (harvest festival). It’s called “church day,” but it’s more of a week-long thanksgiving event, held in the summer. This year it begins on July 29th. Music, traditional costumes, and drinking appear to be the major activities.

All images ©1975-2012 Old Wolf Enterprises

The Old Wolf has spoken.