You are here: Home » Field Visits » Baroque Master Builders » Historical Account » Settlement


How the Bregenzerwald was settled

The main places that were settled in the beginning were in the Rhine Valley and in the Walgau.  It wasn‘t until around the year 1,000 that the higher regions were developed permanently.  The beginnings of agriculture in the Bregenzerwald are still in the dark.  Folklore brings the blessed siblings Merbot, Edo and Ilga into the picture.  Large farmyards that belonged to the Count of Bregenz made up the first settlements.  Soon afterwards, the products from the convent in Mehrerau, which was  founded in Andelsbuch in 1080 and then moved to Lake Constance, were added.  The oldest villages were Alberschwende, Egg, Andelsbuch and Schwarzenberg.  Lingenau was the most important holding of the Meherau convent.  These were the bases from which new settlements were cleared.   It probably wasn‘t until the second half of the 13th century that the development of the valley region was intensified, behind the „Stiegelen“ above the Bregenzerach or Bregenz river, between Andelsbuch and Schwarzenberg as well as Bezau and Reuthe.  The starting point for the new settlements were usually so called solitary farms, which were divided and formed into hamlets.  New settlements were also made by clearing outside of the farms in the valley regions as well as on the terraces above the valleys.  Many of these settlements were abandoned during the 16th and 17th centuries because of the bad weather conditions.  A last settlement drive was carried out around 1800.

Taste 1