Last updated on August 24th, 2019
Austria, officially the Republic of Austria, is a country in Central Europe. It has an area of 83,871 square km. The country’s capital and largest city is Vienna. German is its official language; Euro (€) (EUR) is its official currency. It has eight bordering countries that are the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Liechtenstein, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Switzerland. Austria is a landlocked country. Its terrain is highly mountainous. With these amazing facts about Austria, let us learn about its history, geography, culture, people, and more.
About its history and heritage
1. Austria, which was once the center of power for the large Austro-Hungarian Empire, was reduced to a small republic after its defeat in World War I (28 Jul 1914 – 11 Nov 1918).
2. During the 17th and the 18th century, Austria was a great power of Europe.
3. Austria was occupied by many Celtic tribes in pre-Roman times.
4. Austria became independent on October 26, 1955.
5. After the 1918 collapse of the Austrio – Hungarian Empire, the country experienced more than 25 years of social and economic turbulence.
6. Austria is also the country where first postcards were issued. Austria is slightly smaller than Maine (US state) in the area.
7. Vienna was involved in nine major wars in the 19th century. In the 19th century, the average life expectancy in Vienna was about 38 years.
8. Mozartkugel – Austrian finest chocolate originated in the birthplace of Mozart.
9. Between 1938 and 1945 Austria was under Nazi Germany. From 1945 until 1955 it was under control of the allied forces.
10. The Viennese Clock Museum is the place where more than 1,000 clocks are kept. The center of attraction of the museum is the astronomical clock which was built in 1679.
11. The Austrian National Library located in Vienna, completed in 1726, is one of the world’s major libraries. The library has a collection dating back to the 14th century and today, it houses more than 2.5 million books. The Library was formerly the court library to the Habsburgs.
12. Austria has sworn itself to a neutral position since the World Wars.
Flag of Austria
About Austria’s land and nature
13. The highest point of the country is at 3,798 m – Grossglockner (First ascent: 28 July 1800; location: Carinthia & East Tyrol, Austria.)
14. A very small percentage of the Austrians is involved in agriculture (share of agricultural production is less than 1.5 % of the GDP.) The average size of a farm in Austria is 45 acres.
15. Austria is also considered as Europe’s “organic farming country no. 1”. Austrians give emphasis on quality rather than quantity. The country promotes the reduction in the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
16. Austrian corn yields on average are higher than in the United States of America. Austria rejects the use of biotechnology for the production of crops.
17. It is also the first country in the world to register the first organic farm (1927) and also the first country to establish national regulations for organic farming.
The map of Austria
18. Austria has 9 federal states – Vienna, Burgenland, Carinthia, Lower Austria, Upper Austria, Salzburg, Styria, Tyrol, and Vorarlberg.
19. Austria extends 360 miles from east to west.
20. Lake Neusiedl is the largest natural lake in Austria. It has a surface area of 315 square kilometers and it is 36 kilometers long.
21. The country meets over 70% of its electricity needs by means of renewable energy sources.
22. The country lies at the center of the European traffic between east and west along the great Danubian trade route between north and south.
23. The country shares its longest border with Germany which is approximately 800 kilometers long.
25. The Port of Vienna is the largest Austrian river port and one of the largest ports on the Danube River, with a total annual traffic capacity of around 12 million tonnes of cargo.
26. Soccer, volleyball, basketball, ballet and dancing, are among the most popular sports activities in the country.
27. Vienna is the capital and the largest city in the country.
28. There are 26 Schengen countries – Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. Passport and all other types of border control at the mutual borders of these 26 member countries are not implemented. The region covers a population of over 400 million people and operates very much like a single state for international travel purposes.
29. Austria and Switzerland are called the winter sports capital of Europe.
30. Austria is also famous for historic cities, villages and magnificent scenery of the Alps.
31. Danube River is Europe’s second-longest river after the Volga River. It originates in Germany and flows through Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova, and Ukraine. The river is approximately 2880 km long and it empties into the Black Sea. It is the only river in the world which flows through ten countries.
32. 2/3rd of Austria is covered by woods and meadows. Forests account for 2/5th of the country. Hence, Austria is one of the most densely forested countries in central Europe.
33. The largest ice cave system in the world– Eisriesenwelt –belongs to Austria. The system is located in Werfen about 40 km south of Salzburg. More than 200,000 tourists visit the ice caves every year.
34. The country is also home to the world’s oldest zoo – The Tiergarten Schönbrunn. It is located on the grounds of the famous Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria. It was founded in 1752. The zoo is home to more than 700 animal species, some of them threatened. Its main purpose is to provide a center for species and general nature conservation.
35. Krimml Falls is the highest waterfall in Austria and central Europe. It has a height of 380m, and it is a tiered waterfall. There are three stages; upper stage – 100m, middle stage – 140m, and the lowest stage – 140m.
36. The Danube River which is 2,860 km long is the chief waterway of the country.
37. Ibex is a species of mountain goats in Austria. They are found in the Alps. They were near extinct but were restored in the last few years.
38. Acid rain is an issue in Austria. Almost 37% of the country’s forest suffered damages at the hand of acid rain and other forms of pollution.
39. Neusiedler See is the lowest point in Austria at 115m above sea level.
40. The 2/3rd of the country is above 500m.
41. In some parts of the country, it rains a lot, almost more than 200 times a year.
42. Austria shares its longest border with Germany.
About Austria’s business and economy
43. Austria exports around 30% of the wine produced in the country.
44. Austria has the third-highest per capita income from tourism in the European Union. The country attracts more than 30 million tourists every year.
45. Austria is one of the richest countries per capita in the world. Austria’s GDP per capita (PPP) is $47,700 (2016 est.)
46. Austria adopted the Euro on 1 January 1999. However, the currency existed as only ‘book money’. On 1 January 2002, euro banknotes and coins were introduced in Austria. The schilling and the euro had a legal tender status which ended on 28 February 2002.
47. The Zwentendorf Nuclear Power Plant, situated near Vienna, Austria, is the only reactor in the world which has been completely built, but mothballed before it was ever put into operation.
49. Most of the taxis in Austria are Mercedes.
About Austrian culture and people
50. There are a total of 21 Nobel Prize winners from Austria. Bertha von Suttner is the first woman to be solely awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Before her, Marie Curie had won the prize but she did it jointly with her husband, Pierre Curie in 1903. See the list of Nobel Laureates by country.
51. Austrian families are small and appearance matters a lot to them. They are meticulous people.
52. German is the official language of Austria. However, there are some other local official languages as well including Slovene, Hungarian, Croatian, and Burgenland Croatian.
53. Local people learn to ski when they are in the early years of their lives.
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