Austria and its capital are synonymous with culture and musical
excellence. Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, musical
innovators such as Mozart, Beethoven and Strauss were drawn to
Vienna by the patronage of the Habsburgs, one of the most prominent
royal houses in Europe.
This rich musical heritage is still vital today. Thousands of
theatre events, concerts, exhibitions and dance performances take
place in cities, towns and villages throughout the country.
There's also a very strong architectural tradition in Austria.
Its landscape is defined by grand castles, fine palaces, elegiac
cemeteries and inspiring cathedrals.
Famous castles include Festung Hohensalzburg, Burg Hohenwerfen
and Castle Liechtenstein. Zentralfriedhof is Vienna's largest and
most famous cemetery among nearly 50 other cemeteries in the
capital. Beethoven, Brahmns and Schubert are buried here, amongst
many other significant composers, artists and writers.
Food and drink
Because of its landlocked status, and the fact that Austria is
bordered by several countries, its cuisine is one of the most
varied in Europe, taking in German, Hungarian, Czech, Jewish and
northern Italian influences.
Each Austrian state tends to have its own specialities, and from
Tyrolian bacon to Salzburger Nockerl, there's plenty of gorgeous
cuisine to try.
Austria has a unique and turbulent history. Its origins date
back to 15 BC when the Roman Empire conquered a Celtic kingdom.
This became a Roman province in the middle of the first century
In 788 AD, Charlemagne took control and introduced Christianity.
This laid the foundations for Austria to become an empire, and one
of the great powers of Europe under the Habsburg dynasty.
Many centuries later, in 1867, the Austrian Empire transforms
into Austria-Hungary, which collapses at the end of the World War
I. In 1919 the First Austrian Republic is established, then in 1938
was occupied and annexed by Nazi Germany until the end of World War
II in 1945, when its former democratic constitution is
In 1955, the Austrian State Treaty was re-established, declaring
a sovereign state and ending occupation. The same year, Austrian
Parliament declares that the country as permanently neutral.
Today, Austria is a democracy of nine federal states, and one of
the most prosperous countries in the world.
Did you know?
Apart from Germany, Austria is the only country where the
official language is German.
About 98% of Austrian people speak High German, or a dialect of
Austrian German is reported to have a softer sound, compared to
Germany's German dialect.
Facts and figures
||Central European Time
|Recognised regional languages
||Slovene, Croatian and Hungarian
||27 July 1955
|Accession to the EU
||1 January 1995
||83,872 sq km / 32,383 sq miles