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Tuesday 23rd May
Austria Information - Page 1
Geography
The Republic of Austria is a landlocked country in Europe bordered by the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Liechtenstein, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia and Switzerland.

Austria is divided into the provinces of Burgenland, Carinthia, Lower Austria, Salzburg, Styria, Tyrol, Upper Austria, Vorarlberg and Vienna. The city of Vienna is the capital.

The country is mountainous in the south and west; the Austrian Alps are part of the Eastern Alps. The main river is the Danube, Europe's second longest river.

Austria has a temperate climate with cold winters and cool summers.

Environment
A large percentage of the landscape is covered with forests and woodland. Meadows and farmland also account for much of Austria's land use.

National Parks include Hohe Tauern National Park, Donau-Auen National Park, Thayatal National Park (extending into the Czech Republic) and Gesause National Park.

Nationalpark Kalkalpen and the Neusiedlersee, Seewinkel and Hansag Biosphere Reserve are on the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance.

Other Biosphere Reserves are Gossenkollesee, Grosses Walsertal, Gurgler Kamm, Lobau and Wienerwald.

Many species of birds live in Austria, especially in the wetlands. Animals are relatively small such as foxes, badgers and deer.

Architecture
Austria has a number of buildings of interest to students of history and architecture. Cities such as Graz, Salzburg and Vienna prospered during the centuries of Habsburg rule and their architectural splendour reflects the power of the Habsburg family. These cities are on the World Heritage List, along with the the eighteenth century Palace and Gardens of Schonbrunn, a summer residence of the Habsburg emperors.

Otto Wagner and Adolf Loos were famous late nineteenth century and early twentieth century architects whose work can be seen in Vienna. The Haas Haus by Hans Hollein completed in 1990 is an interesting example of the Post Modern style.

In Vienna the former Imperial Stables are the location of the new Architektur Zentrum, a joint initiative of the Austrian Federal Government and the City of Vienna. Its aim is to provide Austrian architecture and architectural research with a suitable institutional framework.

Population
The population of Austria was estimated at 8,210,280 in 2009.

Languages
German is Austria's official language nationwide. Slovene is the official language in Carinthia and Croatian and Hungarian are official languages in Burgenland.

Religion
A large percentage of the people are Roman Catholic.

Food
Austria shares much of the cuisine of surrounding countries, once part of the Austrian Habsburg Empire. Recipes include those for Wiener Schnitzel, dumplings, boiled beef and cured ham.

Desserts and pastries are popular. Favourites are apfelstrudel and chocolate cake.

Coffee is a popular drink. Soft drinks, including cola, are produced locally. Traditional alcoholic drinks are beer, wine, cherry liqueur and schnapps.

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