Austria

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GPS N47.26432°,E13.139648°
Austria (local term Österreich) is the European state located in its central-western part. The longer name is the Republic of Austria (Republik Österreich). The area of Austria is 83 858 square kilometres and it bounders with Germany, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Italy, Slovenia, Slovakia and Czech Republic.

It is federal republic divided into 9 states (Bundesleander): Burgenland, Kaernten (Carinthia), Niederoesterreich, Oberoesterreich, Salzburg, Steiermark (Styria), Tirol, Vorarlberg and Wien (Vienna), which is also the capital city. Each state has its own government and there is one federal government common to all states. As far as legal system is concerned it is based on civil law system with Roman law origin. Judicial review of legislative acts by the Constitutional Court. The head of state is the president who is elected by direct popular vote for a six-year term. Chancellor of the state is traditionally chosen by the president from the plurality party in the National Council; vice chancellor is chosen by the president on the advice of the chancellor. Bicameral Federal Assembly (Bundesversammlung) consists of Federal Council (Bundesrat) – having 62 members; members represent each of the states on the basis of population, but with each state having at least 3 representatives; members serve a five- or six-year term) and the National Council (Nationalrat) – having 183 seats; members elected by direct popular vote to serve four-year terms.

Austria got its independence for three times. On the 17th September 1156 the Duchy of Austria was founded, on 11th August 1804 Austrian empire was proclaimed and finally, after the World War I on 12th November 1918 the Austrian Republic was established. So what was once the center of power for the large Austro-Hungarian Empire, became small republic after its defeat in World War I. Following annexation by Nazi Germany in 1938 and subsequent occupation by the victorious Allies in 1945, Austria's status remained unclear for a decade. A State Treaty signed in 1955 ended the occupation, recognized Austria's independence, and forbade unification with Germany. A constitutional law that same year declared the country's "perpetual neutrality".

The official nationwide language is German and there are three more official languages on regional level: Slovene (official in Carinthia), Croatian (official in Burgenland) and Hungarian (official in Burgenland). More than 91 % of population are Austrians, the rest are national minorities (mostly Slovenes, Croatians, Turks and German). As far as religion is concerned, the prevailing one is Roman Catholic (with more than 73 %), then Protestant and Muslim (both more than 4 %). Around 12 % of populations are atheists. The total number of population is more than 8 million with the average density 98 inhabitants per square kilometre.

Austria is the member of United Nations (since 1955) as well as European Union (since 1995). Its currency is Euro. It is the state with well-developed market economy and high standard of living. The Austrian economy also benefits greatly from strong commercial relations, especially in the banking and insurance sectors. The economy features a large service sector, a sound industrial sector, and a small, but highly developed agricultural sector. As far as industry is concerned, the most developed branches are: construction, machinery, vehicles and parts, food, metals, chemicals, lumber and wood processing, paper and paperboard, communications equipment and tourism. From the agricultural products, worthy to mention are grains, potatoes, sugar beets, wine, fruit; dairy products, cattle, pigs, poultry and lumber.

Most of the western part of the country is covered with mountain range – the Alps. The highest peak is Grössglockner (3798 metre above see). Fertile lowlands are located on the eastern part. Most of the rivers create river-basin of Danube (its length on the Austrian area is around 460 kilometres). The most important tributary rivers are Inn, Lech, Traun, Salzach, Enns and Dyje. There are many glacial lakes in the Alps (e.g. Ossiacher See, Wörther See, Faaker See etc.). However, the largest lake – Neusiedler See is located on Austrian – Hungarian boarders.

To famous Austrian personalities belongs for example Signund Freud, Wolgang Amadeus Mozart, Joseph Haydn or Franz Schubert.

The international code of Austria is AUT or AT, the label of motor vehicles is A, internet domain is .at and code phone number is +43.

External References:
Wikipedia article on Austria
Austrian Press and Information Service
Official websites of the Austrian Tourist Board
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