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Today the Kitzbühel is among Austria’s most well-known and visited winter resort areas. Home to world cup ski races it one of Austria’s premier tourist destinations. But it is a city with a long and interesting history that began almost 3000 years ago when the first known settler arrived to mine copper and other minerals in the surrounding mountains and hills.
The Illyrians had established small settlements around 900 BC, before the Romans arrived around 15 BC and claimed the region as part of the newly founded Roman Empire. This rule lasted until the fall of the Empire in the West, and the area was later settled by the Bavarii in the 9 th century. Kitzbühel became part of of Upper Bavaria in 1255, and the city was fortified during the reign of Louis II, Duke of Bavaria in 1271. Some of these walls can still be seen today, but most were gradually removed, and the stone used for houses as the city expanded during the subsequent centuries.
The city changed hands several times with various control by Austria and the Counts of Lamberg as well a Bavaria, before eventually returning to becoming a part of Austria following the Congress of Vienna after the Emperor Napoleon’s final downfall. Under Austrian rule the city expanded and became center of trade and industry. It survived both World Wars virtually unscathed and today is a popular tourist destination in Western Austria.