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Austria: between the Alps and the Danube

Austria (Republik Österreich) is a federal republic made ​​up of nine regions (Länder). Among these in the west is the region of Vorarlberg, overlooking part of Lake of Constance, to the east is Tyrol (Tirol), which is divided into two separate sections: North Tyrol (Nordtirol) and East Tyrol (Osttirol).

In central Austria is the province of Salzburg, south-east of which at the borders with Italy and Slovenia is Carinthia (Kärnten). Styria (Steiermark) and Upper Austria (Oberösterreich) are, respectively, to the east and to the north-east of Salzburg. In the eastern part of Austria is the capital Vienna and the regions of Lower Austria (Niederösterreich) and Burgenland.

Austria is bordered by the Czech Republic to the north-east, by Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west, while to the north-west the border with Germany is marked by the Bavarian Alps and the rivers Inn and Danube. To the south the Alps divide Austria from Italy and Slovenia, while to the east the country borders with Hungary and the Slovak Republic, the border of the latter is marked by rivers, in particular the March. Austria is part of the European Union.

Hallstatt, Upper Austria, Austria. Autore Jose Maria Miñarro Vivancos Wikipedia. No Copyright

Hallstatt, Upper Austria, Austria. Autore Jose Maria Miñarro Vivancos Wikipedia

Vienna, the state capital has approximately 1/4 of the country’s entire population. The most populated area is the Danube valley with Vienna, Linz and numerous smaller cities. The other densely inhabitated areas are those of the Inn river valley, where Innsbruck is to be found, that of the Salzach river valley, where Salzburg is to be found and that of the Mur river valley with Graz.

Geographically, Austria lies in Central Europe on the northern side of the Alps chain. The western and southern part of the country is constituted by the Alps, which comprise a part of the Rhaetian Alps and all groups of the Eastern Alps.

Approximately 60% of the Austrian territory is constituted by mountains, reaching the highest point in the mount Grossglockner (3.797 m) to be found in the National Park of the Hohe Tauern. The extreme south-eastern part of the country the northern Burgenland, is part of the Pannonic plain, while northern Austria comprises the Plateau of the Danube and to the north-west the southern parts of the Bohemian Forest.

Austria Map

Austria Map

From the hydrographical point of view Austria is crossed by the Danube, which flows through the country from Passau to Bratislava for approximately 345 km in eastern direction. The greater part of the Austrian rivers join the Danube. Among these are the Inn, the Traun, the Enns, the Ybbs, the Drau, the Raab. The Austrian lakes are of modest dimensions and generally of glacial origin. The eastern side of Lake Constance belongs to Austria. A prealpine lake series is found in Upper Austria and in the region of the Salzkammergut (Mondsee, Attersee, Offensee, Fuschlsee, Mattsee, Sankt Wolfgang-See, Hallstatter See).

The shallow Lake Neusiedl (Neusiedler See with a surface of 315 sq km, of which approximately 240 sq km are on Austrian territory) is to be found south-east of Vienna in the Burgenland on the border with Hungary. Some smaller Alpine lakes are important summer tourist destinations, in particular the Carinthian lakes, in the high river basin of the Drau and in the valley of Klagenfurt, where the lakes Wörth, Weissen, Millstätt and Ossiach are situated.

English text correction by Dietrich Köster. 

  • Area: 83.858 sq km
  • Population: 8.100.000
  • State Capital: Vienna
  • Languages: The nation-wide official language is German, spoken by 98% of the population. In some districts are also known the Slovene, Croatian and Hungarian languages. The six ethnic groups officially recognized in Austria, who are the Burgenlandic Croatians, Roma, Slovaks, Slovenians, Czechs and Hungarians, are concentrated in the east and south of the country.
  • Religions: Approximately 74 % of the Austrians are Roman Catholics, 5% are Protestants and the rest belongs to other religious communities.
  • Money: Euro (EUR)
  • Time: Central European Time (UTC+1). (Summer Daylight Saving Time UTC+2).

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