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as well as the Austrian state of Tyrol.
Due to their isolated location from the rest of Austria, the people in Vorarlberg speak a very distinct dialect which other Austrians have a hard time understanding. It is in some way similar to the dialects spoken in Switzerland, Baden-Württemberg and the Alsace region in France (they all belong to the Alemannic dialects, whereas the dialects in the rest of Austria form part of the Bavarian-Austrian language group). Generally this seems to be one dialect, but in fact every little town in Voralberg has its own "secret" language. There are approximately 352,000 inhabitants in Vorarlberg split up into the 96 municipalities.
The capital of Vorarlberg is
- Bregenz, which also is one of the five cities.
The other four are:
Vorarlberg is split up into four large districts: Bregenz, Dornbirn, Feldkirch and Bludenz. These districts appear on the license plates in the form of abbreviations: B, DO, FK and BZ.
The main rivers in Vorarlberg are the Ill (running through the Montafon and Walgau valleys into the Rhine), the Rhine (forming the border to Switzerland), the Bregenzer Ach and the Dornbirner Ach. Important lakes, other than the Lake of Constance are the Lüner Lake , the Silvretta Lake , the Vermunt Lake , the Spuller Lake , the Kops Basin and the Formarin Lake , the first 4 have been created for the production of hydroelectric energy, (even before the dam for the powerplant was built Lüner Lake was the largest mountain lake in the Alps). Most of the energy is exported to Germany at peak times. At night the surplus (and therefore cheap) energy from the caloric powerplants in Germany is used to pump the water back into some of the lakes.
As Vorarlberg is a famous skiing region there are some mountain ranges of larger interest, such as the Silvretta, the Rätikon, the Verwall and the Arlberg. The highest mountain is Piz Buin, a giant rocky peak of 3.312 m.
In addition to the flourishing industries of the Rhine Valley where clothing, electronics, machinery, packing material and other industrial goods are produced, there is also agriculture in the Bregenzerwald (specified in dairy products, famous for its tourism-lite, in the shape of "Bregenzerwälder Cheese Path"). Quite a lot of Vorarlbergers also work in tourism. The greatest tourist attractions are the mountains and the numerous skiing regions, the largest (and most famous) of which are:
- the Bregenzerwald,
- the Arlberg region (including noble ski resorts Lech and Zürs),
- the Brandnertal , and
- the Montafon.
Some skiers that come (or came) from these regions include Anita Wachter, Egon Zimmermann, Gerhard Nenning, Mario Reiter, Toni Innauer and Hannes Schneider.
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