General Information about Austria
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 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" as a condition for Soviet military withdrawal. Following the Soviet Union's collapse in 1991 and Austria's entry into the European Union in 1995, some Austrian's have called into question this neutrality. A prosperous, democratic country, Austria entered the European Monetary Union in 1999. The capital is Vienna.
Ethnic groups: German 88.5%, indigenous minorities 1.5%
(includes Croatians, Slovenes, Hungarians, Czechs, Slovaks, Roma), recent
immigrant groups 10% (includes Turks, Bosnians, Serbians, Croatians) (2001).
Languages: German (official nationwide), Slovene (official in Carinthia), Croatian (official in Burgenland), Hungarian (official in Burgenland).
Climate: Temperate; continental, cloudy; cold winters with frequent rain and some snow in lowlands and snow in mountains; moderate summers with occasional showers.
Administrative divisions: 9 states (Bundeslaender, singular - Bundesland); Burgenland, Kaernten, Niederoesterreich, Oberoesterreich, Salzburg, Steiermark, Tirol, Vorarlberg, Wien.
Terrain: In the west and south mostly mountains (Alps); along the eastern and northern margins mostly flat or gently sloping.
(Source: CIA - The World Factbook)
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The Cathedral in Salzburg, Austria. In 1997, the city was included in the UNESCO's world heritage list.