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Austria Travel Guide:

            Facts on Austria

Flag of Austria
      History   Geography    People    Economy    Communications    Transportation

 

     Map of Austria and its major cities

Map of Austria and its major cities

 

History   Top of Page  
  Once the center of power for the large Austro-Hungarian Empire, Austria was reduced to a small republic after its defeat in World War I. Following annexation by Germany in 1938 and subsequent occupation by the victorious Allies in 1945, Austria's status remained unclear for a decade. A State Treaty signed in 1955 ended the occupation, recognized Austria's independence, and forbade unification with Germany. A constitutional law that same year declared the country's "perpetual neutrality" as a condition for Soviet military withdrawal. This neutrality, once ingrained as part of the Austrian cultural identity, has been called into question since the Soviet collapse of 1991 and Austria's entry into the European Union in 1995. A prosperous country, Austria entered the European Monetary Union in 1999.    
Geography   Top of Page
Location Central Europe, north of Italy and Slovenia  
Geographic Coordinates 47 20 N, 13 20 E  
Area Total: 83,858 sq km
Water: 1,120 sq km
Land: 82,738 sq km
 
Area - Comparative Slightly smaller than Maine  
Land Boundaries Total: 2,562 km
Border countries: Czech Republic 362 km, Germany 784 km, Hungary 366 km, Italy 430 km, Liechtenstein 35 km, Slovakia 91 km, Slovenia 330 km, Switzerland 164 km
 
Coastline 0 km (landlocked)  
Climate Temperate; continental, cloudy; cold winters with frequent rain in lowlands and snow in mountains; cool summers with occasional showers  
Terrain In the west and south mostly mountains (Alps); along the eastern and northern margins mostly flat or gently sloping  
Elevation Extremes Lowest point: Neusiedler See 115 m
Highest point: Grossglockner 3,798 m
 
Natural Resources Iron ore, oil, timber, magnesite, lead, coal, lignite, copper, hydropower  
Geography Note Landlocked; strategic location at the crossroads of central Europe with many easily traversable Alpine passes and valleys; major river is the Danube; population is concentrated on eastern lowlands because of steep slopes, poor soils, and low temperatures elsewhere  
Natural hazards Landslides; avalanches; earthquakes  
People   Top of Page
Population 8,192,880 (July 2006 est.)  
Age Structure 0-14 years: 15.4% (male 645,337/female 614,602)
15-64 years: 67.5% (male 2,782,712/female 2,749,620)
65 years and over: 17.1% (male 567,752/female 832,857) (2006 est.)
 
Nationality Noun: Austrian(s)
Adjective: Austrian
 
Ethnic Groups German 88%, non-nationals 9.3% (includes Croatians, Slovenes, Hungarians, Czechs, Slovaks, Roma), naturalized 2% (includes those who have lived in Austria at least three generations)  
Religions Roman Catholic 78%, Protestant 5%, Muslim and other 17%  
Language German  
Literacy Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 98%
 
Government   Top of Page  
Country Name Conventional long form: Republic of Austria
Conventional short form: Austria
Local short form: Oesterreich
Local long form: Republik Oesterreich
 
Government Type Federal republic  
Capital Vienna  
Administrative Divisions 9 states (Bundeslaender, singular - Bundesland); Burgenland, Kaernten, Niederoesterreich, Oberoesterreich, Salzburg, Steiermark, Tirol, Vorarlberg, Wien  
Independence 1156 (from Bavaria)  
Flag Description Three equal horizontal bands of red (top), white, and red  
Economy   Top of Page
Overview Austria, with its well-developed market economy and high standard of living, is closely tied to other EU economies, especially Germany's. The Austrian economy also benefits greatly from strong commercial relations, especially in the banking and insurance sectors, with central, eastern, and southeastern Europe. The economy features a large service sector, a sound industrial sector, and a small, but highly developed agricultural sector. Membership in the EU has drawn an influx of foreign investors attracted by Austria's access to the single European market and proximity to the new EU economies. The current government has successfully pursued a comprehensive economic reform program, aimed at streamlining government, creating a more competitive business environment, further strengthening Austria's attractiveness as an investment location, pursuing a balanced budget, and implementing effective pension reforms. Weak domestic consumption and slow growth in Europe have held the economy to growth rates of 0.4% in 2002, 1.4% in 2003, 2.4% in 2004, and 1.8% in 2005. To meet increased competition from both EU and Central European countries, particularly the new EU members, Austria will need to continue restructuring, emphasizing knowledge-based sectors of the economy, and encouraging greater labor flexibility and greater labor participation by its aging population.  
Currency Euro    
Currency Code EUR  
Communications   Top of Page
Telephone System General assessment: highly developed and efficient  
Internet Country Code .at  
Transportation   Top of Page
Railways total: 6,011 km
standard gauge: 5,568 km 1.435-m gauge (3,427 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 21 km 1.000-m gauge; 422 km 0.760-m gauge (109 km electrified) (2005)
 
Roadways total: 133,718 km
paved: 133,718 km (including 1,677 km of expressways) (2003)
 
Waterways 358 km (2003)  
Ports and Harbors Enns, Krems, Linz, Vienna  
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