Austria is an extremely mountainous country located just south of Germany. This landlocked country sits high in the Alps, Europe’s longest mountain range. In fact, Austria’s lowest elevation point is approximately 380 feet above sea level.
Austria’s official language is German—naturally, as the country has been unified with Germany at several points throughout history. The people of the land enjoy an eclectic culture that is strongly German, but influenced by other neighboring countries such as Hungary, Poland and Italy. Austria is well known for a flourishing music scene that dates back to the 1700s. Talented composers like Mozart and Beethoven flocked to the country’s capital, Vienna, to partake in its classical music scene. Still today, the Vienna State Opera is a prime destination for lovers of dance and orchestra across the globe.
- Germans refer to Austria as Osterreich, which translates to ‘Eastern Empire,’ because Austria used to be integrated into the Holy Roman Empire.
- The Pasterze Glacier exists in the Austrian Alps and constitutes both Austria’s and the Eastern Alps’ longest glacier.
- Tiergarten Schönbrunn of Vienna, founded in 1752 is the oldest zoological garden in the world.
- Gregor Johann Mendel and Alfred Adler, who respectively contributed to the basis of modern genetics and psychology, were both Austrians.
- It is the only European Union (EU) country that is not a part of NATO. Its constitution states that it must maintain neutrality on all fronts.
- Austria is the birthplace of the world’s most famous psychologist, Sigmund Freud, a significant contributor to present day psychology.
- There is a grassy park in Tragoess, Austria featuring a shallow lake. Every summer, the lake floods and becomes a scuba diving site due to melted snow from the mountaintops.
- Austria’s national motto is Latin for “It is Austria’s destiny to rule the world.”
- In 1991, archaeologists uncovered a 5,300-year-old corpse frozen in The Alps along Austria’s southwestern border. He was nicknamed Otzi, and is Europe’s oldest natural human mummy.