Austria, officially the Republic of Austria, is a landlocked country in Central Europe with 8.5 million people. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the North, Hungary and Slovakia to the East, Slovenia and Italy to the South, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the West. The territory of Austria covers 83,855 km2 and has a temperate and alpine climate. Austria is highly mountainous thanks to the the Alps; almost 3 quarters of the land (68%) have an altitude more than 500 metres above the sea level and its highest point, the mountain Großglockner, has 3,798 metres. German is the official language in Austria; however the majority of the population speak local Austro-Bavarian dialects of German as their native language.
After its defeat in the First World War, Austria lost its land and power and became a small republic. During the Second World War Austria was annexed by the Nazi Germany and subsequently occupied by Allies. Following the Soviet military withdrawal Austria’s 1955 State Treaty declared the country “permanently neutral”. However, after the Soviet collapse and Austria’s prominent role in European affairs the Austrian neutrality has been called into question.
Nowadays Austria is a parliamentary representative democracy comprising nine federal states. Vienna is the capital and the largest city with 1.7 million inhabitants. Austria is one of the world richest countries and has a very high standard of living. Austria is a member of United Nations (1955), European Union (1995) and is a founder of OECD. Austria also signed the Schengen Agreement in 1995 and started using the European currency, the euro, in 1999.
Austria is famous mostly for its gorgeous mountains and valleys, numerous ski resorts, salt mine regions, unique monuments and beautiful historic cities and towns, such as Vienna, Salzburg or Graz... This country is also very famous for its culture, theatres, operas, music - the best-known composers of the world are related to this country, names such as Mozart, Hayden or Bach was born here or worked here. No wonder, such a breath-taking landscape is a perfect place where one’s creativity can be envolved.