Rankweil is situated at an elevation of 468 m in the upper Rhine valley, just northeast of the district town Feldkirch. The municipality of Rankweil has a population of about 11,900 (2017).
During the Roman times, Vinomna was an important 'traffic junction', especially as it was situated at one of the Roman empires important trading paths, the route from Curia Raetorum (today Chur, Switzerland) to Augusta Vindelicorum (Augsburg, Germany). Rankweil was first mentioned in a document of 842. In 1375 the Counts of Montfort sold the domains of Feldkirch, and with it Rankweil, to the Habsburgs. The Habsburg possessions in what today is the Austrian state of Vorarlsberg, were administered either from Tyrol (Innsbruck) or from Anterior Austria (Freiburg im Breisgau). In 1405, Feldkirch with Rankweil joined the 'Bund ob dem See', a union of towns based on the Swiss confederation, uniting it with Bludenz, Sax, Gaster and Toggenburg. Several times, uprisings caused the destructions of many castles of the ruling nobility. However, the union lost the battle agains the Habsburg army in 1408. In 1618, Rankweil obtained the status of a market town. From 1805 Vorarlberg, like Tyrol, was annexed to Bavaria but had to be returned to Austria in 1814.
The basilica of the Visitation of Our Lady (often shortly called basilica Rankweil), is situated on top of the Liebfrauenberg overloking Rankweil. No traces of the former castle of the Counts of Montfort remain, but in 1470 an earlier fortified church was rebuilt in this place. The Loreto Chapel was added as a side nave in 1657–1658. At the same time, the round fortified tower, which had already been part of the fortification in 1500, was remodeled by installing a spiral staircase and adding a bell storey with an octogonal roof. The chapel of Our Lady was remodeled in 1757. The object of veneration, a carved-wood image of Our Lady, dates from 1470. Since 1757 it is placed on the guilded Rococo altar. The church obtained the status of Basilica minor in 1985.
(see also list of other basilicae minores depicted on glasses of this collection)