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The thousand year old town owes its origins at the confluence of the Rivers Rienza and Isarco to the gift of the Prihsna estate by the Carolingian King Louis the Child to Zacharias, the Bishop of Säben, in the year 901 A.D. For centuries Bressanone was the principal town of the prince-bishopric of the same name and until 1972 the Bishop’s Residence. Still today numerous cultural treasures testify to the town’s importance as a spiritual and cultural centre.
After Bolzano and Merano, Bressanone, with its 19,000 inhabitants, is the third largest municipality in South Tyrol and is also the headquarters of the Valle Isarco District. According to the 2001 population census, 73.1 % of the inhabitants have German as their mother tongue, 25.7 % are Italian speakers and 1.2 % speak Ladin.

The municipal district of Bressanone extends from 500 m up to 2,450 m above sea level (principal town 560 m) and encompasses 84.86 square kilometres. Apart from the Old Town district and the districts of Stufels, Milland and Kranebitt, together with the adjoining housing, trade and business parks, the following hamlets are part of the municipality: Albes, Gereuth, Cleran, Cornale, Elvas, Eores, Mara, Millan, Perara, Pian di Sotot, Pinzago, Rivapiana, S. Andrea, Scezze, S. Leonardo, Tecelinga, Tiles, Mairdorf, Kranebitt, Rutzenberg, Sarnes.

For years now the population has been increasing and Bressanone is experiencing a remarkable upswing in its economic development. The services sector and tourism, employing 67.6 % of the economically active, represents the heavy weight on the local employment market, followed by industry (19.3 %), trade (6.8%) and agriculture (6.4 %).

As the seat of the Philosophical-theological Academy Brixen on the Piazza del Seminario (founded in 1607) and since 2001 also the Faculty of Educational Sciences of the Free University of Bolzano, Bressanone is a also a university town. Furthermore, Bressanone offers a variety of educational opportunities and has defined itself with its modern structures (including the FORUM) as a cultural and congress centre.
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