Austria, officially the Republic of Austria. Country located in the southern portion of Central Europe. It belongs to the European Union since 1995, politically constituted as a federal parliamentary republic. Its territory, with its capital Vienna, is located in southern Germany and the Czech Republic, western Slovakia and Hungary, northern Slovenia and Italy, and eastern Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Its territory is occupied in three quarters by the mountainous system of the Alpes. It is a landlocked country. The official language is German, although Croatian, Hungarian and Slovenian are also spoken.

The name Austria (in German Österreich) comes from the Old German word Ostarrîchi, which means Eastern Territory.


According to the most recent population census, which was carried out in 1991, Austria has 7,795,786 residents. Between 1991 and 1999 this number increased by about 300,000 people according to the population growth rate. In Austria, in 1999, 3.9 million people (48.5%) were male and 4.1 million (51.5%) were female. In 1999, the average life expectancy at birth was 75 years for men and 81 years for women.

According to Naturegnosis, about 98% of Austria’s population is German-speaking. Members of the six recognized ethnic groups in Austria live in five Länder. Croatians and Hungarians live in the Burgenland. Many of them have moved to Vienna. Slovenians live in the southern part of Carinthia in the Gaital, Rosental and Jauntal valleys, as well as in some towns in southern Styria. Czechs and Slovaks usually live in Vienna and Lower Austria (in Marchfeld and Tullnerfeld). The Roma and Sinti (Gypsies), recognized as their own ethnic group in Austria since 1993, reside mainly in Burgenland towns, some also in Vienna.

The Ethnic Groups Act of 1976 only recognizes indigenous ethnic groups, defining as such those groups that have resided in Austria for at least three generations and are Austrian citizens.


Austria is a federal state made up of nine federal states: Burgenland, Carinthia, Lower Austria, Upper Austria, Salzburg, Styria, Tyrol, Vorarlberg and Vienna.

Over the past several decades, observers from within and abroad have repeatedly attested to the peculiarities of the Austrian political system. The exceptional position of the two large dominant parties, on the one hand, and the comparative manifestation of social agreement in terms of political and social factor, on the other, conferred a special characteristic on the development of the Republic for a long time.. One of the main consequences that emanates from this is the remarkable political stability of the country. Turnout in elections was not only always exceptionally high but also extremely constant. The commitment, balance and consensus of the elites, achieved while verifying constant divergences of interests, contributed to the contribution of specific characteristics of the political culture that allowed the country to distance itself considerably from the intensity of conflicts that marked the First Republic. The condition of neutrality established a framework for Austria’s international position and activities. This did not represent an obstacle for the country to become part of the world of Western democracies.

The political transformations that have been taking place since the 1980s also affected Austria. The mobility of the electorate brought about a decisive change in the political landscape. Competition between the parties increased. The commitments of the social partners are more limited and their political influence is more limited. The media became an important political factor. Austria’s openness became even more dynamic with its accession to the European Union.

Compared with the beginning of the 20th century and also the beginning of the Second Republic, the “face” of the Austrian political system presents clearly different characteristics at the end of the century.

Historic center of Vienna. World Heritage

The historic center of Vienna is rich in architectural ensembles, including Baroque castles and gardens, as well as the Ringstrasse, at the end of the nineteenth century so full of magnificent buildings, monuments and parks.

The urban and architectural qualities of the Historic Center of Vienna give exceptional testimony to a continuous exchange of values ​​throughout the second millennium of our era. Three key periods of European cultural and political development: the Middle Ages, the Baroque and the Gründerzeit, are exceptionally well illustrated by Vienna’s urban and architectural heritage. The property consists of the medieval core (based on the Roman settlement), the main Baroque ensembles with their axes, and the Gründerzeit constructions from the beginning of modern times. The city of Vienna is located on the banks of the Danube, in the eastern part of Austria. The old Roman military camp, the remains of which are still visible in the medieval urban fabric of present-day Vienna, was situated on a plain, west of an ancient branch of the Danube. Beginning in the 12th century, the settlement expanded beyond the Roman defenses, which were demolished. The medieval city walls surrounded by a much larger area, were rebuilt during the Ottoman conflicts in the 16th and 17th centuries, always with bastions. This remained the core of Vienna until the demolition of the walls in the second half of the 19th century. This inner city contains a number of medieval historical buildings, including the Schottenkloster, the monastery Austria’s oldest, the churches of Maria am Gestade (one of the main Gothic structures), Michaelerkirche, Minoritenkirche and Minoritenkloster, from the 13th century. The Cathedral of San Esteban dates between the XIV and XV centuries. The period also saw the construction of civic ensembles, as an initial part of the Hofburg. Considering that monastic complexes are generally built of stone, becoming part of the defenses of the medieval city, the residential neighborhoods were made of wood and suffered frequent fires. In 1683, Vienna quickly developed as the capital of the Habsburg Empire, becoming an impressive Baroque city. The baroque characterit was expressed above all in the great designs of palaces built in the times of Emperor Charles VI (1711 – 1740) and Maria Teresa (1740 – 1780), such as the Belvedere Palace and its garden. An increasing number of new palaces were built by noble families. Many existing medieval buildings, churches and convents were altered and given Baroque features, with additions being made to the representative administrative buildings. Several historical buildings are associated with the important Viennese residences of personalities such as Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and others, when the city played an essential role as a leading music center in Europe, from the great era of Viennese classicism through the early part of the 20th century. A new stage in Vienna’s history took place when the 34 suburbs were incorporated into the city, and the emperor ordered the demolition of the inner city fortifications. This opportunity was seized to create one of the most significant 19th century ensembles in the history of urban planning, greatly influencing the rest of Europe in this crucial period of social and economic development. In 1874 the Hofburg complex was expanded with the Neue Hofburg, an “imperial forum”, and joined with large museum complexes in a single complex. The Burgtheater, the parliament, the town hall and the university form another complex linked to these. The opera house was added, as well as a large number of public and private buildings along the Ringstrasse, the street that surrounds the city center, on the line of the demolished walls. The late 19th and early centuries of the 20th century bear witness to other creative contributions of Viennese designers, artists and architects in the period of Jugendstil, Secession and the Modern Movement at the beginning of the 20th century in architecture.

Justification of the registration

  • Criterion (ii): The urban and architectural qualities of the Historic Center of Vienna give exceptional testimony to a continuous exchange of values throughout the second millennium.
  • Criterion (iv): Three key periods of European cultural and political development: the Middle Ages, the Baroque period, and the Gründerzeit, are exceptionally well illustrated by the urban and architectural heritage of the historic center of Vienna.
  • Criterion (vi): Since the 16th century, Vienna has been universally recognized as the musical capital of Europe.

Austria Country Overview

Austria Country Overview
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