» Austria is a largely mountainous country due to its location in the Alps. The Central Eastern Alps, Northern Limestone Alps and Southern Limestone Alps are all partly in Austria. Of the total area of Austria (84,000 km), only about a quarter can be considered low lying, and only 32% of the country is below 500 meters. The high mountainous Alps in the west of Austria flatten somewhat into low lands and plains in the east of the country.
Offical Language: German
Area: 83,871 SQ KM
Calling Code: +43
» A federal republic, Austria is divided into nine states
3) Lower Austria
4) Upper Austria
» The greater part of Austria lies in the cool/temperate climate zone in which humid westerly winds predominate. With over half of the country dominated by the Alps the alpine climate is the predominate one. In the East the climate shows continental features with less rain than the Western alpine areas with high rainfall averages.
» As of the end of the 20th century about 73% of Austria's population are registered as Roman Catholic, while about 5% consider themselves Protestants. About 12% of the population declare that they do not belong to any church or religious community. Of the remaining people, about 180,000 are members of the Eastern Orthodox Church and about 7,300 are Jewish. A 2005 survey among 8,000 people in various European countries showed that Austrians are still among the countries with the strongest belief in God. 84% of all Austrians do state they believe in God.
» Although Austria is a small country, its history as a world power and its unique cultural environment in the heart of Europe have generated contributions to mankind in every possible field. One might argue that Austria is internationally best known for its musicians. It has been the birthplace of many famous composers.
» Visits to Austria mostly include trips to Vienna with its Cathedral, its "Heurigenschenken" (wine pubs) and romantic Waltz music flair. Worth a visit are Salzburg, birthplace of Mozart, Innsbruck, capital of Tyrol surrounded by the Alps, and the Danube valley with its vineyards, for example the Wachau or Dunkelsteinerwald, which are between Melk and Krems. In the western part of the country the province Vorarlberg reaches the Lake Constance, in the eastern part Neusiedler See.
Of great touristic importance are the Austrian skiing, hiking and moutaineering resorts in the Alps as well as family-friendly recreation areas (e.g. the Witches's Water in Tyrol). The same applies to the numerous austrian lakes (e.g. Wolfgangsee east of Salzburg or Wörthersee in Carinthia).
For visitors interested in Media Art, the Ars Electronica Center in Linz is an absolute must. Since 1979 this center has organized the Ars Electronica Festival and presented the Prix Ars Electronica, the worldwide highest-ranked prize for media art.
» In Austria, folk dances in general are known as Folkloretanze , i.e. "folklore dances", whereas the Austrian type of folk dance is known as Volkstanz. In Austria, folk dance festivals usually take place as follows: first, everybody gets onto the dance floor and dances the opening round; secondly, a welcoming speech is made, and thirdly, waltzes are danced in blocks, with breaks in between. At the end there is usually a special dance, often with a goodbye song. In Vienna, there are usually four long sets of dances, with long breaks and figure dancing in between. In other parts of Austria it is more usual to have a larger number of shorter blocks (three to five dances each) with shorter breaks between them, and more figure dancing.
» The Cuisine of Austria , which is often incorrectly equated with Viennese cuisine, is derived from the cuisine of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In addition to native regional traditions it has been influenced above all by Hungarian, Czech, Jewish, and Italian cuisines, from which both dishes and methods of food preparation have often been borrowed. Goulash is one example of this. Austrian cuisine is known primarily in the rest of the world for its pastries and sweets. In recent times a new regional cuisine has also developed which is centred on regional produce and employs modern and easy methods of preparation.