Austria is a small country in Central Europe, but with a great past, and probably an equally interesting future. The former rulers of Austria, the Habsburgs, had a huge impact on European and world history. However, even Emperor Franz Joseph I, the famous founder of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, did not at all imagine that in a hundred years Austria would become an independent state, where more than 20 million tourists would come annually to ski in excellent ski resorts.
Geography of Austria
Austria is located in the center of Europe, in the north it borders with the Czech Republic, in the northeast with Slovakia, in the east with Hungary, in the south with Slovenia and Italy, in the west with Liechtenstein and Switzerland, and in the northwest with Germany. The total area of this mountainous country is 83,858 sq. km.
The landscape of Austria can be divided into five regions: the Eastern Alps (occupy 62.8% of the country’s territory), the Alpine and Carpathian foothills (11.4% of the territory), the Middle Danube Plain (11.3% of the territory), the Vienna Basin (4.4% of the territory ), and the Czech massif (10.1% of the territory). The highest Austrian mountain is the Grossglockner (3,797 meters).
Almost half of the territory of Austria is covered with forests, dominated by fir and larch.
Capital of Austria
According to itypejob.com, the capital of Austria is Vienna, which now has a population of over 1.7 million. The history of Vienna begins in the 9th century AD, although the first Roman settlements appeared on this site as early as the 1st century AD.
The official language in Austria is German. However, the German language in Austria differs markedly from the German language in Germany. In addition, different regions of Austria have their own dialects of the German language.
In Southern Carinthia, where many Slovenes live, the majority of the inhabitants speak Slovene, which is recognized as the official language. There are many Croats and Hungarians living in Burgenland, and therefore Croatian and Hungarian are considered official languages there.
More than 70% of Austrians belong to the Roman Catholic Church. All Austrian Catholics are obliged, by the way, to pay a church tax of 1%. In addition, many Protestants (about 5%) and Muslims (more than 4.2%) live in Austria.
State structure of Austria
According to the Constitution of 1920, Austria is a federal, parliamentary, democratic republic. Austria consists of 9 lands – Burgenland, Carinthia, Lower Austria, Upper Austria, Salzburg, Styria, Tyrol, Vorarlberg and Vienna.
The head of state is the Federal President (Bundespräsident), who is elected by direct universal suffrage.
According to computerminus.com, the Federal President appoints the Federal Chancellor, who is the President of the Federal Government.
The Austrian Parliament consists of two chambers – the Federal Council (Bundesrat) and the National Council (Nationalrat).
Legislative initiative in Austria is held by the Nationalrat, although the Bundesrat has a limited veto power. The Austrian political system is significantly influenced by the Constitutional Court, which has the right to prohibit laws that do not comply with the Constitution.
Climate and weather
Considering that most of Austria is located in the Alps, it becomes clear that the alpine climate prevails here. In the east of Austria and in the valley of the Danube, the climate is temperate, continental. Winter in Austria is cold (-10 – 0 °C) with rain in the lowlands and snow in the mountains.
Austria is famous for its ski resorts, so if you are still thinking where to go on vacation in winter, then the choice is obvious.
Rivers and lakes
The largest river in Austria is the Danube, which flows through the whole country (about 360 km) and eventually flows into the Black Sea.
There are a lot of lakes in Austria (more than 500), the largest and most beautiful of them are the Attersee in the Salzkammergut, the Wörther See, the Millstatter See, the Ossiacher See, and the Wolfgangsee (they are all found in Carinthia), as well as Lake Fuschlsee near the Salzbzurg.
History of Austria
On the territory of modern Austria, people were still in the Bronze Age. In the pre-Roman period, various tribes lived here, including the Celts. In the 1st century BC. Roman legions conquered the local Celtic tribes, and annexed this territory to their provinces of Noricum and Pannonia.
After the collapse of the Roman Empire, the territory of modern Austria was conquered by the Bavarian tribes and Avars (scientists refer to them as Slavic tribes). In 788, these territories became part of the empire of Charlemagne.
Since 1276, Austria has been in the possession of the Habsburg family, and is thus part of the Holy Roman Empire. In 1525, the Czech Republic and Croatia were annexed to the archduchy of Austria. During this period, a long and bloody confrontation between Austria and the Ottoman Empire begins. It came to the point that the Turkish army besieged Vienna twice (in 1529 and in 1683), however, without any success.
At the end of the XVII century, Hungary and Transylvania were annexed to Austria, and thus the beginning of the Austro-Hungarian Empire was laid, but this will formally happen only after a few centuries.
After the era of the Napoleonic Wars, during which the Austrians are actively fighting with the Emperor of France, Napoleon Bonaparte, Austria has become one of the most influential states in Europe. After the defeat in the 1866 war against Prussia, in 1867 Austria and Hungary united to form the Austro-Hungarian Empire, led by the Habsburgs.
After the defeat in the First World War, the Austro-Hungarian Empire broke up into several independent states. In 1918, an independent Austrian state appeared (the monarchy was abolished in 1919).
On March 12, 1938, German troops occupied Austrian lands, and Adolf Hitler proclaimed the Anschluss (reunification) of Germany and Austria.
After the Second World War, Austrian statehood was restored only in 1955. Austria is now part of the European Union.
Culture of Austria
The culture of Austria was formed under the strong influence of its neighbors – Germans, Italians, Hungarians and Czechs. Ancient Roman monuments have been preserved on the territory of this country. In the Middle Ages, the culture of Austria was under a noticeable (and decisive) German influence. Talented national Austrian artists, writers and musicians begin to appear only in the New Age.
In the first half of the 19th century, the literature of Austria was completely influenced by romanticism and national consciousness. However, these trends were also characteristic of other national literatures of that time. In the first half of the 19th century, there were many interesting Austrian writers and poets, among which Franz Grillparzer, Adalbert Stifter and Peter Rosegger should be mentioned. Apparently, thanks to their creativity, Franz Kafka and Stefan Zweig appeared in Austria in the first half of the 20th century.
In 2004 Austrian social critic Elfriede Jelinek was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.
Like literature, fine arts in Austria began to develop rapidly in the 19th century. This heyday is associated primarily with the names of Georg Waldmüller, Adalbert Stifter and Hans Makart. At the end of the 19th century, the most famous Austrian artists Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele and Oskar Kokoschka began to work. By the way, in 2006, at the Christie’s auction, Gustav Klimt’s kart “Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer II” was sold for 87.9 million dollars (Gustav Klimt painted it in 1912).
However, it just so happens that Austria is most famous for its composers and musicians. Yes, Joseph Haydn, Michael Haydn, Franz Schubert, Johann Strauss Sr., Johann Strauss Jr., Gustav Mahler, Arnold Schoenberg, and Alban Berg were born on Austrian soil. In addition, Mozart worked in Vienna for a very long time. In general, many composers and musicians from other European countries moved to Vienna in the 17th-18th centuries, receiving the patronage of the Habsburgs.
The Austrians are very respectful of their customs, and still organize various festivals and processions every year. The most famous creature from Austrian folklore is Krampus, who accompanies Nicholas the Wonderworker. However, Krampus is his opposite, capable of even kidnapping children.
Visit Austria, because this is one of the best places for a cultural program, where you can go without a visa.
Austrian cuisine is considered one of the most diverse in Europe. Indeed, Germans, Hungarians, Czechs and Italians had a noticeable influence on the cuisine of Austria.
Austrians usually start their day with a light breakfast (bread with butter and jam, coffee or milk). Lunch is naturally the main meal of the day. It consists of a soup, a main dish of meat, sausage, schnitzel or fish, as well as obligatory salads. Potatoes or pasta are served as a side dish to the main course.
The Austrian dinner usually consists of light snacks, perhaps meat, cheese, or smoked fish with bread. All this is washed down with beer or wine.
The most famous Austrian dish is the “Viennese schnitzel” with potato salad with mustard, vinegar and lemon. Also, be sure to mention the “Viennese chicken”, boiled beef “Tafelspitz”, veal stew “Boischel”, “Viennese chicken”, as well as apple strudel.
In Burgenland, where many Hungarians live, goulash is a traditional dish. In Salzburg, they love freshwater fish and know how to cook excellent trout dishes.
Austria is known for its desserts and pastries. The most popular of them are the Vanillekipferl Christmas shortbread cookies made from ground almonds, flour and a few spoons of cognac, as well as the Sachertorte chocolate cake, named after its creator Franz Sacher.
The most popular drinks in Austria are wine and beer. By the way, Stiegl brand beer, which was created back in 1492, is still produced in Austria. When it comes to wines, the Austrians are great at making both white and red wine. The main Austrian wine regions are Vienna, Styria, Wachau and Burgenland.
Coffee in Austria drinks constantly. In general, coffee houses are a typical attribute of the Austrian way of life. We also recommend that tourists definitely try the local hot chocolate (“Heisse Schokolade”) in Austria.
Sights of Austria
Austria is visited by millions of tourists every year. Most of them are attracted by Austrian ski resorts, however, they should not forget about local attractions, which are very numerous in Austria. In our opinion, the Top 10 best tourist attractions in Austria are as follows:
- Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna. The castle was built around the 16th century. It later became the summer palace of the emperors of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Near the palace there is now a zoo, one of the oldest in the world.
- Fortress Hohensalzburg in Salzburg. This fortress was built in 1077. Now it houses the Fortress Museum and the ancient Prince’s Chambers. At one time, the Hohensalzburg fortress was considered the most fortified castle in Central Europe.
- Grossglockner Alpine Road. Mount Grossglockner, whose height is 3,797 meters, is the highest peak in Austria. The Grossglockner High Alpine Road connects the Salzburg and Carinthia. Its length is 48 km. In winter (October to May) this road is closed for trips and excursions.
- Basilica Mariazell. The Mariazell Basilica is located in Mariazell, Styria. It is sometimes also called the Basilica of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary. In 1983 Pope John Paul II visited the Mariazell Basilica. Pope Benedict XVI also visited here in 2007.
- Giant Ferris wheel in Vienna. This Ferris wheel is located in Vienna’s Prater leisure park. It was built in 1896-1897 and has recently been modernized. The maximum height of this Ferris wheel is 60 meters.
- Clock tower Urturm in Schlossberg castle. This tower offers an amazing and unique view of the city of Graz (now its population is more than 350 thousand people).
- Thematic exhibition Swarovski Crystal Worlds in Innsbruck. This thematic exhibition was built and opened in 1995 by the Austrian artist André Heller. Shown here are Swarovski products.
- Monastery in Melk. Melk is located on a rocky hill about 100 km west of Vienna. This monastery was built by Benedictine monks in 1089. The local monastery library is famous all over the world.
- Museum of Fine Arts in Vienna. This museum is located in Vienna on the Ringstrasse. The museum first received visitors back in 1891. Now it houses the works of famous artists (for example, Rembrandt and Dürer).
- Palace complex Belvedere in Vienna. This baroque palace complex was built in the early 17th century as the summer residence of Prince Eugene of Savoy. Now the Belvedere also has a large collection of paintings.
Cities and resorts of Austria
There are five large cities in Austria – Vienna (population over 1.7 million people), Graz (more than 250 thousand people), Linz (about 200 thousand people), Salzburg (more than 160 thousand people) and Innsbruck (more than 120 thousand people).
Ski resorts in Austria are considered among the best in the world. Indeed, there are not only beautiful Alps, but also a well-developed skiing infrastructure. It is not for nothing that every winter the world championships in ski sports are held in Austria.
The most popular ski resorts in Austria are Bad Gastein, Sölden, Millstatt, Ischgl, Kaprun, St. Anton am Arlberg, Kitzbühel-Kirchberg, Mayrhofen and Zell am See.
In Austria, there are a large number of souvenir shops for tourists. This is not surprising, given that millions of tourists visit this country every year. We recommend that tourists bring various sweets (sweets, chocolate) and alcoholic beverages (schnapps, wine, beer) from Austria.
An interesting place to buy souvenirs is Graben Square in Vienna. Here you can buy coffee, Viennese porcelain, as well as other dishes. Perhaps someone will be interested in Swarovski products (there is a Swarovski factory in Austria).
In Austria, on weekdays, shops are open from 9.00 to 18.00, on Saturday – from 9.00 to 12.00 (some until 17:00), and on Sunday – a day off.
Banking hours: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday – 8.00–12.30, 13.30–15.00
Thursday – 8.00–12.30, 13.30–17.30
By the way, Austrians enter restaurants and shops with the words of greeting “Guten Tag” and “Grüss Gott”, and leave these establishments with the obligatory “Auf Wiedersehen”.
Austria is one of the countries that have signed the Schengen Agreement. Therefore, Ukrainians need to obtain a Schengen visa to visit Austria.
Currency of Austria
In Austria, the euro replaced the Austrian schilling in 2002.
Banknotes in denominations: 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 500 euros.
- 1 and 2 euro
- 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 cents
Surprisingly, many shops in Austria refuse to accept credit cards. However, hotels, restaurants and prestigious stores still have a positive attitude towards credit cards. Most often they accept Visa, EuroCard and MasterCard. Less often – American Express and Diners Club.
If you have lost your card, call:
- MasterCard – 01-717 01 4500
- Visa – 01-717-11-770
Up to 200 pieces can be imported into Austria duty-free. cigarettes, 2 liters of wine, 1 liter of spirits. It is forbidden to import drugs, pornography, firearms and certain medications.
It is forbidden to export objects of art from Austria, unless, of course, the permission of the authorities has been obtained for this.
Useful phone numbers and addresses
Embassy of Austria in Ukraine
Address: 01030, Kiev, st. Ivana Franka, 33
Phone: (044) 277 27 90
Fax: (044) 230 23 52
E-mail: [email protected]
Embassy of Ukraine in Austria
Address: Naaffgasse 23, Vienna, Austria, 1180
Phone: +43 1 479 71 72 11
Fax: +43 1 479 71 72 47
E-mail: [email protected]
Fire Department – 122
Police – 133
Ambulance – 144
Austria is in the Central European time zone. The difference with time in Kyiv in summer is -1 hour, and in winter -2 hours. Those. if in Vienna, for example, in the summer it is 9:00 am, then in Kyiv it is 10:00 am.
Tipping in Austria is a common occurrence. However, we do not advise you to tip Austrians too much.
In restaurants, tips are usually 5-10% of the bill. It is customary to give the maid at the hotel 1 euro every day. Taxi drivers get a 10% tip (or you can round up to a higher amount for a short trip), hairdressers 10-15%, porters at the airport or train station 0.50 cents per suitcase, and a tourist guide 1 euro after the tour.
To enter Austria, Ukrainians need to have medical insurance for at least 30,000 euros. Before traveling to Austria, doctors recommend getting vaccinated against tick-borne encephalitis
In Austria, security is at a high level. The local police work perfectly, but this does not mean that in Austria, for example, thefts are not committed against foreigners. Tourists should be aware that avalanches sometimes occur in the mountains of Austria in winter (this danger exists even in summer in some regions where snow remains). However, in ski resorts where special ski slopes are made, this danger is practically absent.
However, we recommend that tourists check the weather forecast before skiing.