Austria is a country of Europe
with a surface area of 83,871 km² (density of 97.98 inhab./km²). The population of Austria is 8,217,280 inhabitants in the last census.The capital of Austria is the city of Vienna which has 1,714,142 inhabitants. The President of the Federal Republic is Werner Faymann.
"It is up to Austria to rule the world" (motto of the Austrian Habsburgs)
Austria or Republic of Austria is a member country of the European Union and the euro area
located in Central Europe. A true European crossroads, it shares its borders with Germany, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Slovakia, Hungary, Italy and Slovenia.
The name Österreich meaning Kingdom of the East is mentioned for the first time in 966 and designates the former country Ostmark.
Austria at a glance
Administrative divisions: 9 Bundesländer (states) divided into 84 districts, 2,357 municipalities and 15 statutory cities
Population: more than 8 million inhabitants
Main language: Austrian German
Main religion: Catholicism
Current Federal President: Alexander Van der Bellen
Current Federal Chancellor: Christian Kern
Tourism: no restrictions
A paradise for the green tourism
Austria is an essentially mountainous country with more than 60% of its territory occupied by the Central Eastern Alps.
The rest of the country consists of plains and hills forming the eastern pre-alps, the foothills of the Carpathians and the basin of Vienna, and finally the granite plateau of Austria in the north of the country along the Czech border.
The eastern Alps are covered with crystalline rocks like slate, gneiss composed of quartz and mica and granite. The highest point of Austria is the Grossglockner which culminates at 3,798 meters of altitude, a summit that attracts every year many climbers.
Austria enjoys a temperate cold and humid climate but registers significant differences in temperature depending on the region due to its rugged terrain. The north of the country is influenced by ocean currents while the south enjoys a drier climate and hot summers.
The average temperature of Austria is 6 ° but can go down to -9 ° on the Alpine peaks. The temperature never exceeds 0 ° on the Grossglockner.
Austria seduces lovers of unspoiled nature by offering them a multitude of postcard landscapes. The snow-capped peaks were set in the deep blue of the lakes surrounded by verdant meadows and dark forests. From small traditional villages to mountain chalets crumbling under the snow in winter and flowered in summer add a touch of romance to the whole.
A land of contrast, Austria prides itself on its cities, marrying with happiness the historic monuments and the contemporary or even futuristic buildings.
The Hallstatt culture
The fertile valleys of Austria were already populated during the Paleolithic period, but it was not until the Celtic period that a society was formed, the Noricum, which occupied Lower and Upper Austria and part of Bavaria and Slovenia.
Descendants of Illyrians and Ligurians, Noricans are mainly breeders and their cities are prosperous, notably Hallstatt which gave its name to a civilization.
The Hallstatt period begins around 800 BC, which corresponds to the beginning of the Iron Age in this region.
Archaeological excavations have brought to light an important necropolis, a valuable source of information on daily life in the region until the 6th century BC.
The Hallstattians profit from the exploitation of rock salt mines to prosper through trade. They create an important mining site of salt from the 8th century BC. The salt was also used to preserve many of the usual objects and clothes dating from this period, witnesses of the wealth of the population which founds different citadels on the neighboring heights.
The fortified Hallstatt citadel of the Heuneburg dominates the Danube and has been occupied for over 250 years. It was certainly the starting point of long-distance trade.
The formidable warriors, the Hallstattians will also expand their territories and develop a second civilization of Celtic origin, the Tene which will produce a craft of high quality. La Tene is assimilated to the second age of iron.
The Roman era
The Romans invaded Noricum, Rhaetia and Pannonia in 15 AD. These three regions gained the status of provinces and a city was founded in 70 AD by the Emperor Vespasian under the name of Flavia Solva, not far from the present Leibnitz. A detachment of the Roman army moved to Vindobona, which later became Vienna, now the Austrian capital. The camp is charged with defending the frontier of the Empire formed by the Danube against the Germans.
Vindobona expands rapidly thanks to its position at the crossroads of commercial routes.
The Germanic era
From the 2nd century onwards, the region has to face regular incursions of the Germanic peoples who will share the territories in the 5th century.
Austria is then divided in two parts. The Bavarians taking advantage of the decline of the Ostrogoths occupy the ancient province of Rhetia. The Dukes of Bavaria, however, must accept the Franks' control, while maintaining a certain autonomy. The duchy was eventually annexed to the franc kingdom under Charlemagne.
The Lombards who had settled in Pannonia continued on their way towards Italy and abandoned these territories to their allies, the Avars, descendants of a people of nomadic Turkish horsemen. They occupied a part of the Carpathians and the region of the Middle Danube before constituting a real empire by attacking Bavaria and Italy.
The Frankish era
The empire is going to decline in the 7th century after the failure of the siege of Constantinople despite an alliance with the Persians. King Franc Samo will take advantage of this to rally the Slavs and liberate several territories including Lower Austria. The Slavs dominate the area between the Danube and its Sava tributary. The Avars were exterminated at the beginning of the 9th century by the Franks and the territories of present Austria are placed under Frankish tutelage.
The Duchy of Austria
They were again coveted a few decades later by the Hungarians who occupied the plains of Pannonia before attacking Bavaria. The Hungarians were stopped in their conquests by Otto I, founder of the Holy Roman Empire, and in 966 the name Österreich (or Ostarrichi) designating the Danubian territory is mentioned for the first time in an act of donation of land to the " Archbishop of Freising.
The Margraviate of Austria was entrusted to the Babenberg family in 982. The imperial act called Privilegum Minus marks the birth of Austria in 1156. By this letter the Emperor Frederic I granted the status of hereditary duchy to the Margraviat who loses However Bavaria.
The Babenberg inherit Styria by inheritance when the last Ottokar dies without descendants.
In the 13th century, the Emperor Frederick II wanted to take over the guardianship of Austria and gradually remove the privileges of the Dukes who eventually abandon their lands before leaving for their reconquest. In 1240, the Duke regained all his rights over Styria and Austria. At his death, the two regions are divided between the king of Hungary and Ottokar II, king of Bohemia who got the duchy of Austria. Very soon he extended his kingdom from Bohemia to the Adriatic, taking Styria as he passed. But this kingdom constituted of a mosaic of territories without solid structure is fragile and the emperor Rodolphe of Habsburg has no difficulty in pushing Ottokar to yield ground. Ottokar of Bohemia succumbs during the battle of Marchegg.
The Duchy of Austria is entrusted to Albert I, son of Rudolph 1st. At the latter's death, the Holy Empire was governed by Adolphus of Nassau, supported in particular by the archbishops of Cologne and Mainz. His reign lasted only 6 years because of his inability to honor his promises and Albert 1st became emperor in 1298.
By marriage or contract of alliance, Albert 1st manages to rally a large part of Central Europe but the power of the Habsburgs begins to worry the German princes and the pope. Revolts also broke out in several regions, and in 1308 Albert I was assassinated by his own nephew and several nobles.
His son Frederick the Fair became Duke of Austria and later King of Germany but failed to rise to the throne of the Holy Roman Empire. He died in 1330 and his brother Albert II succeeded him. This one will enlarge the territory of the Habsburgs but Austria is experiencing dark hours, marked by epidemics of plague and famine.
His successor, Rudolf IV annexed the Tyrol and made Vienna an important religious and cultural center. At his death in 1365 his heirs were only teenagers and Austria became for several generations the stakes of succession between the different lineages of Habsburg. The country is reunited by Frederic V of Austria who becomes Roman emperor in 1440.
By a clever game of marriage and inheritance, Austria becomes one of the greatest nations in the world. Maximilian 1st wife Marie of Burgundy, Ferdinand 1st wife Anne of Bohemia and Hungary and Philip 1st wife Jeanne of Castile and Aragon, future mother of Charles V who will inherit from Spain.
All the emperors of the Holy Roman Empire and the sovereigns of Spain, Austria and later Austria-Hungary came from the Habsburg dynasty for more than a century.
Maria Theresa of Austria is the last representative and sole heiress of the family.
Her rights to the various thrones are contested after the death of her father Charles VI in 1740. Marie-Therese, who is only 23 years old, is the wife of François-Etienne de Lorraine, to whom she will give 16 children. She then had to face many conflicts and wage the war of Austrian Succession against Prussia, France, Spain and Bavaria. A peace agreement was finally signed in 1748, in Aachen.
Maria Theresa loses territories in favor of Prussia but keeps the thrones of Austria, Hungary and Bohemia. At the same time, her husband became Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire in 1745 but in reality, it was his wife who ruled the Empire.
Marie-Thérèse is the direct ancestor of the sovereigns of Spain, Luxembourg, Belgium and Liechtenstein, as well as the houses of Parma, Savoy, Saxony, Hohenberg and Bragança.
At his death, his son Joseph II ascended the throne as a "revolutionary" sovereign. In particular, it will restrict the privileges of the nobility and of the Church. Great music lover, he is a valuable protector for Mozart.
On his death without an heir, the throne returned to his brother Leopold II, who was to reign only two years, a time too short to allow him to undertake great changes. He tried, however, to intervene in the policy of France, a prey to the revolutionaries, in order to help his sister Marie Antoinette and his brother-in-law, Louis XVI.
His son, Francis II, is the last emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. He keeps his title of Emperor of Austria but loses many possessions. Napoleon Bonaparte's father-in-law, he took part in the coalition of 1813, which was to precipitate his loss six years after the end of the Holy Roman Empire.
His son judged debilitated is an emaciated emperor who abdicated in 1848 in favor of his nephew François-Joseph 1st on the background of revolution of the people. The new emperor mates the riots and prepares the rebuilding of the country, he wins on the Hungarian, German and Italian fronts. In order to guard against any further attempt at a revolution, the young emperor entrusts to the only council of the Empire (Reichsrat) all the powers.
The administration of the country was reorganized and regrouped in Vienna in order to unify Austria, notably by authorizing the German as the only official language. It favors agriculture and industry and promotes the development of investment banks. The country's economy is flourishing.
The decline of the Empire
François-Joseph who is to marry the eldest daughter of the Duke of Bavaria will fall in love with his younger sister Elisabeth ... who is none other than Sissi whose story has been romanticized in the movies.
Ten years after the beginning of his reign, the situation of Austria turned into disaster and the country underwent heavy defeats and weakened as Prussia increased its power. Austria is also excluded from the Zollverein, a treaty guaranteeing a single internal market with tax rules favorable to the signatory states.
Prussian Count Otto von Bismarck playing the card of German unification engages his country in a war against Austria in 1866. Peace is signed a few months later and Austria is forced to validate the founding of the Confederation and the annexation of several duchies and kingdoms by Prussia.
The Austro-Hungarian monarchy
To counter Germany, Francis Joseph imposed the double Austro-Hungarian monarchy too often called the "Austro-Hungarian Empire."
In 1879 and against all odds, Austria-Hungary and Germany united in order to fight against the growing influence of Russia. Italy joined this alliance in 1882 to form the Triplice.
Internal conflicts, tensions with Hungary, personal tragedies (the suicide of his son Rodolphe and the assassination of his wife) and health problems deeply marked the emperor on the eve of the First World War.
The First World War
On June 28th, 1914, Archduke Francis Ferdinand, who was to succeed his uncle, was murdered in Sarajevo. This attack is the trigger of the world conflict. Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia on July 28th, Germany invaded Luxembourg on August 2nd and went to war against France the next day.
Francis Joseph died before the end of the conflict and Charles 1 became the last emperor of Austria, the last king of Bohemia and the last apostolic king of Hungary. He will try to disassociate himself from Germany and emerge from the world conflict and wants to demand an armistice in order to save his empire. He could not, however, prevent his dissolution, and he had to give up his throne in 1918.
Birth of the Republic
The double monarchy was then replaced by seven nation-states and Austria became a republic, while the imperial family was exiled on the Portuguese island of Madeira.
Economically weak, Austria is helped by the SDN to get by, but strikes and demonstrations plunge the country into crisis, a situation that allows the nationalist party Heimwehr to gain importance and organize into militias.
Meanwhile, Hitler of Austrian origin has just been appointed Chancellor of Germany and is seeking to annex Austria, which will seek assistance from Italy. This aid is granted by Mussolini in exchange for the creation of a fascist party, the Patriotic Front.
In 1934, the Austrians attached to the Nazi party supported by the Germans tried to overthrow the government without success. Italy sends troops to Austria to protect the borders against the risks of German invasion. A second putsch prepared by the Austrian Nazi party finally allowed Germany to annex Austria (Anschluss) in March 1938. The Anschluss was validated by more than 90% of the population, crisis is part of Hitler's plan to regroup all the Germanic countries and all the German-speaking regions to form the Third Reich, Nazi Germany.
The Second World War
Austria, therefore, had its fate related to that of Germany on the eve of the Second World War. Many Austrians will join the ranks of the SS and participate in the Shoah (the systematic extermination of the Jews).
In April 1945, Vienna was taken to the Germans by the Soviet troops, the Allies entered the country and the former Federal Chancellor Karl Renner proclaimed the country's independence from the Reich a fortnight before the surrender of the Nazis.
The second Austrian Federal Republic was proclaimed on April 27, 1945. The country was occupied by four nations, the Soviets, the Americans, the British and France until 1955, the date of the signing of the Austrian State Treaty authorizing independence of the country which is committed to respecting neutrality. Austria is experiencing the strong economic growth, notably thanks to the Marshall Plan set up to help countries rebuild after the war.
The accession of Austria to the European Union was effective in 1994 even if the country remained under surveillance for a long time because of the rise of the nationalist party FPÖ, the Freedom Party of Austria. On the other hand, Austria is not part of NATO.
Austria is a federal constitutional democratic republic composed of nine federal states, the Länder. Each state has its own government and elections are held every five years.
The number of seats in the Austrian Government is established according to the proportional system. The capital, Vienna, has a special status, it is both a city and a state.
The executive power is entrusted to the Federal Chancellor, currently Christian Kern, President of the Social Democratic Party (SPÖ), the Vice-Chancellor and the Federal Ministers.
The legislative power is vested in the Austrian Parliament, composed of the National Council and the Federal Council.
The judiciary is divided between the Constitutional Court, the Administrative Court and the Supreme Court.
A flourishing economy
Austria's economy is one of the best in the world with steady growth of around 1 to 3%, thanks in particular to its small and medium-sized industries and the growth of its tourism. Its unemployment rate is among the lowest in the European Union.
The Cradle of the Arts
The total population of Austria exceeds 8,700,000 inhabitants and has a low fertility rate. The country's population growth relies heavily on the arrival of immigrants. More than 22% of the population is of foreign origin. Among the nations most represented in the country are Germany, Serbia, Bosnia, Turkey, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Poland and Afghanistan.
German is the official language of Austria and is spoken by almost 90% of the population. There are differences in pronunciation and vocabulary between Austrian German and German spoken in Germany.
Almost 80% of Austrians are Catholic or Protestant Lutherans and 12% declare themselves atheists.
Alevism (heterodox Islam with cemevi as places of worship) is a cult recognized in Austria.
Austria is a country that has suffered greatly during its history but it is also a country that has offered the world of artists, actors, philosophers and writers unforgettable. Mozart, Schubert, Mahler, Sigmund Freud, Stefan Zweig, Klimt and Romy Schneider are all of Austrian origin and this list is far from exhaustive.
The Austrian gastronomy is rich and varied and the portions are often served in abundance.
The potatoes, the bacon, the fresh cream are ubiquitous in the local cuisine. The meat, the poultry and the fish are often breaded like the famous Viennese veal cutlet.
It is however recommended to keep a small place for dessert in order to taste the tasty tarts and chocolate cakes such as Apfelstrudel or Sachertote fruit.
The meals are usually accompanied by blond beer or regional wines that are consumed young while liqueurs and schnapps (brandies) are served as digestives.
Finally, the Austrians are fond of cafes that are available in many versions, from small black to imperial coffee served with a beaten egg yolk, orange-liqueur coffee, vanilla ice cream, The famous Viennese coffee and its delicious Chantilly cream.
Tourism has strongly grown in Austria, a country that attracts mountaineers and hikers in search of unspoiled nature and the charm of small traditional villages nestled in greenery in summer and in a snowy winter setting. The Tyrol is the symbol of a country attached to its folklore and its identity.
Tourism in Austria is also the discovery of an exceptional historical heritage, from the abbeys built on the banks of the Danube to the medieval towns through the prehistoric necropolis of Hallstatt.
Austrian cities are among the most beautiful and dynamic in the world. Salzburg is definitely one of the most attractive places to visit its classical music festival or simply to discover the fortress of Hohensalzburg and the baroque architecture of this romantic city that saw the birth of Mozart.
But let us give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, walking through the streets of Vienna, the incomparable to discover the 18 wings and 2,600 rooms of the Hofburg, the imperial palace of the Habsburgs, which houses a museum devoted to the life of Empress Sissi, Immense Schönbrunn castle built by Marie-Thérèse or the House of Hundertwasser, an improbable building dating from 1983 composed of about fifty apartments occupied by the trendy society of Vienna. After a day of sightseeing, a stop in the Café Central takes place to discover the Neo-Renaissance setting of this establishment frequented by great writers and Freud.
And because Vienna would not be really Vienna without music and dance, many dances are organized from October to April including the famous balls of the Philharmonic Orchestra and the Opera which attract all the famous people from Vienna.