Austria is situated in southern Central
Europe, covering a part of
the eastern Alps and the Danube region; although it is land-locked, it
borders on the Mediterranean area. Austria has common borders witheight other countries: Switzerland, Principality of
Liechtenstein, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia,
Italy. Once the center of power for the large Austro-Hungarian Empire, Austria
was reduced to a small republic after its defeat in World War I.
Following annexation by Nazi Germany in 1938 and subsequent occupation
by the victorious Allies, Austria's 1955 State Treaty declared the
country "permanently neutral" as a condition of Soviet
Neutrality, once ingrained as part of the Austrian
cultural identity, has been called into question since the Soviet
collapse and Austria's increasingly prominent role in European affairs.
A prosperous country, Austria joined the European Union in 1995 and the
euro monetary system in 1999.Austria is a federal state with a total area of 32,368 sq. miles
(83,858 sq. km) and consists of nine provinces - Burgenland, Carinthia,
Lower Austria, Salzburg, Styria, Tyrol, Upper Austria, Vienna and
Vorarlberg. Their inhabitants belong to the major European ethnic
groups: the Germanic, Neo-Latin and Slav peoples (the Magyars of Hungary
are an exception, deriving from the Ural-Altaic group). The main cities
in Austria are : Vienna, Salzburg, Linz, Graz, Klagenfurt and Innsbruck.
The population of the country amounts to about 8 million people.
The country has a wide variety of
landscape, vegetation and
climate and, situated as it is at the heart of a continent, it has
always been a junction for communication links between the trade and
cultural centers of Europe.Austria's border has an overall length of 1,682 miles. Of these, 509
miles are shared with Germany, 291 miles with the Czech Republic, 64
miles with Slovakia, 220 miles with Hungary, 205 miles with Slovenia,
267 miles with Italy, 104 miles with Switzerland and 22 miles with
Liechtenstein.Austria's highest mountain is the Grossglockner (12,465 ft.) On its
way from the Black Forest in southern Germany to the Black Sea, the
Danube flows some 220 miles of its course through Austria.