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Topographical map of Austria

Austria is located in the heart of Europe. It is bordered to the north by Czechia and Germany, to the south by Slovenia and Italy, to the west by Liechtenstein and Switzerland, and to the east by Hungary and Slovakia. Its capital city is Vienna.

The origins of modern Austria date back to the ninth century, when the countryside of upper and lower Austria became increasingly populated. The name of Austria Ostarrîchi is first documented in an official document from 996. Since then this word has developed into the German word Österreich.

Austria's political system is that of a federal, parliamentary representative democracy consisting of nine states. It is one of six European countries that have declared permanent neutrality and one of the few countries that includes the concept of everlasting neutrality in their constitution. It is one of Europe's leading industrialised countries,

Austria has been a member of the United Nations since 1955 and joined the European Union in 1995. It also a member of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, whose headquarters is based in Vienna.

Selected article

Schönbrunn Palace from the front side (1758)

Schönbrunn Palace (German: Schloss Schönbrunn [ʃøːnˈbʁʊn]) is a former imperial summer residence in Vienna. One of the most important cultural monuments in the country, since the 1960s it has been one of the major tourist attractions in Vienna. The palace and gardens illustrate the tastes, interests, and aspirations of successive Habsburg monarchs.

The name Schönbrunn (meaning "beautiful spring"), has its roots in an artesian well from which water was consumed by the court.

UNESCO catalogued Schönbrunn Palace together with its gardens on the World Heritage List in 1996, as a remarkable Baroque ensemble and example of synthesis of the arts (Gesamtkunstwerk). The whole Schönbrunn complex with Tiergarten Schönbrunn, Palmenhaus, Wüstenhaus and the Wagenburg, accounted for more than five million visitors in 2010.

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Grimming mountain in Styria

Selected biography

Franz Grillparzer (1841)

Franz Grillparzer (15 January 1791 – 21 January 1872) was a writer who is chiefly known for his dramas.

Grillparzer's brooding, unbalanced temperament, his lack of will-power, his pessimistic renunciation and the bitterness which his self-imposed martyrdom produced in him, made him peculiarly adapted to express the mood of Austria in the epoch of intellectual thraldom that lay between the Napoleonic wars and the Revolution of 1848; his poetry reflects exactly the spirit of his people under the Metternich regime, and there is a deep truth behind the description of Der Traum, ein Leben as the Austrian Faust. His fame was in accordance with the general tenor of his life; even in Austria a true understanding for his genius was late in coming, and not until the centenary of 1891 did the German-speaking world realize that it possessed in him a dramatic poet of the first rank; in other words, that Grillparzer was no mere Epigone of the classic period, but a poet who, by a rare assimilation of the strength of the Greeks, the imaginative depth of German classicism and the delicacy and grace of the Spaniards, had opened up new paths for the higher dramatic poetry of Europe.

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Did you know...

  • ... that the first record showing the name "Austria" is from 996 where it is written as Ostarrîchi, referring to the territory of the Babenberg March?
  • ... that Austria currently produces more than half of its electricity by hydropower?

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