51 Fascinating Austria Facts That You Didn't Know

Aashita Dhingra
Oct 23, 2023 By Aashita Dhingra
Originally Published on Dec 02, 2021
51 Fascinating Austria Facts That You Didn't Know

Discover some fascinating facts about Austria in this article that you probably did not know.

The Republic of Austria is a country located in the eastern Alps of Central Europe in the southern part of the continent enclosed by land.

Austria shares its borders with the Czech Republic and Germany to its north, with Slovakia and Hungary to its east, with Slovenia and Italy to its south, and with Switzerland and Liechtenstein to its west.

In Austria, parliamentary representative democracy is practiced. Vienna is the capital and largest city of Austria which has a population exceeding 1.9 million.

The government of Austria is a federal republic comprising of nine independent federal states also known as provinces. Austria is a predominantly German-speaking country, which also has German as its official language. Croatian, Hungarian, and Slovenian are the other local languages.

In Central Europe, Austria is a landlocked country with an estimated population of 8.95 million. Austria has a temperate and alpine climate with an area of 32,385 sq mi (83,876.76 sq km).

Due to the presence of the Alps, Austria has very mountainous terrain; only 32% of the country is below 1,640.42 ft (500 m). The highest point in Austria is the Grossglockner at 12,460.63 ft (3,798 m).

Austria has now become a member of the European Union, but the long-standing legacy of its postwar neutrality can be evidenced by the large number of international organizations that call its capital city, Vienna, their home as they have established their headquarters there.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the United Nations, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) are examples of such organizations.

One of the most famous Austrians is Bertha von Suttner who was an eastern Austrian peace activist who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1876. She was a peace activist and selected a winner by the National Council in Paris for working in European countries to declare Austria as a parliamentary nation.

Another name among famous Austrians is Joseph Haydn. He was a composer who played an important role in heralding the beginning of the classical period of music. Austria hosted the winter Olympics in 1964 and has many medals under its belt. Austria hosted the Winter Olympics for the second time in 1976.

Austria's prominence on the map can be attributed in large part to its geographical location and the contribution of the Austrian people.

The Austria population is at the hub of European traffic between east and west along the great Danubian trade route, as well as between north and south through the majestic Alpine passes, putting it at the center of a variety of political and economic systems.

Austria is located right at the great Danubian trade route running from east to west. Also, it lies at the center of the great Alpine passes.

Due to which, this great nation has been influenced by and adapted varied political and economic systems. After the collapse of Austro–Hungarian empire, the country faced a lot of social and economic turmoil and Nazi dictatorship too.

It is the Austrian Alps that are the country's backbone. These ranges can be divided by the northern and southern limestone ranges, both of which are characterized by rugged terrain.

Two of these ranges are separated by a crystalline rock-covered central range that is quite soft in its form. It boasts an intricate geological and topographic landscape, where the highest points, the Grossglockner, are toward the west.

Austria's west has the majestic mountains of Tirol, Salzburg, and Vorarlberg, as well as the breathtaking views of the Alps. Additionally, the high Alpine nature also extends to parts of Carinthia, the Salzkammergut region of Austria, and the mountain masses of Steiermark (Styria).

Between the northern Alps and the Danube are an area of hilly subalpine terrain north of the massive Alpine spur, covering the northern part of Upper Austria. Nearby are richly wooded foothills that include part of the Bohemian Mountains, which stretch across Czech territory into lower Austria.

There are many valleys in this region of Austria that have been used as routes for centuries since they connect Europe's east and southeast.

It allowed the pilgrims in medieval times to reach the Holy Land. In addition to the northern portion of Burgenland, the lowland area east of Vienna could be considered Little Alföld's western portion.

Throughout Austria, there are many lakes, many of which are vestiges of glacial erosion during Pleistocene times (between 2.5 million and 11,700 years ago), which excavated mountain lakes in the upper Alpine district, particularly in the Salzkammergut region.

The lake of Constance (Bodensee) to the west and the marshy Neusiedlersee to the east are the largest lakes, part of which lie on neighboring countries' territory.

Austrian territory almost entirely flows into the Danube. Watersheds linking the North Sea and the Black Sea pass through Austria, at times lying just 22 mi (35.4 km) off the Danube, while to the west, the Danube and rivers empty into both the Atlantic and Mediterranean Seas near Austria's west-central border.

The Julian and the Carnic Alps to the south, as well as the other major Alpine ranges to the west, form the drainage area of the region draining towards the Po River.

The Austrian flag, which is one of the most ancient national symbols is still used by modern Austria and is famous around the world. It is impossible to miss the iconic red and white stripes, which certainly stand out, and the legend behind them is perhaps even more intriguing.

Since 1230, Austria has been using the colors and symbols of its flag, but legend claims that it was the Duke of Leopold who 'invented' it. According to the legend, after a legendary battle, the Duke noticed he had bloodstains on his white coat.

He found that a white stripe was left untarnished when he removed his belt, and thus the Austrian flag was born.

Read on to find out some more Austrian facts and uncover the country's history including soviet zones, famous choirs, summer palace, Ferdinand Porsche, famous artists, national regulations, and more interesting Austria facts for kids! After reading these Austria facts, also check facts about Russia and facts about Cuba.

What is Austria's old name?

Austria has an incredibly rich and unique history. It was once a key player in European politics and was home to one of Europe's longest-reigning royal families, the House of Habsburg empire. From where does the name of Austria originate?

'Österreich' (pronounced in the English language as 'oo-st-reich') is the old word for Austria. The ancestry of Austria’s naming can be traced back to 996.

At that time, the name was used to describe the Bavarian borderlands. It derives from the ancient high German word Ostarrîchi (meaning eastern realm), which refers to the country's location, which is to the east of Germany. Marchia austriaca is another alternative name, which was shortened around the 12th century.

What is Austria called today?

Today, Austiria is commonly known as Republik Österreich, Österreich and Republic of Austria.

The Republic of Austria is what Austria is officially called today (Republik Österreich).

Facts About Austrian Culture

Franz Schubert, Johann Strauss II, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Ludwig van Beethoven are some of the biggest names in classical music. The Austrians are known for their high-brow culture and classic sensibility, but locals know they have a fun side as well. Weddings in Austria are notorious for their cheekiness.

It is common for the groom's friends to 'kidnap' the bride in Austria. However, there is no need to worry about this.

Eventually, they take her bar-hopping, and when she is ultimately found by the groom, he has to pay ransom to get her back. It's an age-old tradition and testament to Austria's culture. It is commonly known as 'Brautraub' in Austrian German.

The city also holds an annual cow-train procession called 'Almabtrieb'. This practice is unique to the alpine region and involves around 500,000 cows being led up the mountains to graze on alpine pastures.

This ceremony takes place at the beginning of summer, and in October, cows dressed in their finest are brought back down the mountain back to their owners. This is a big ceremony in Austria.

In contrast to many capital cities, the capital city of Austria, Vienna is free of pollution, crime, and expensive public transportation. Classical famous composers and musicians from Austria are world-renowned. Vienna has earned the nickname, The City of Music, for a good reason.

Austria's capital city was ranked best for quality of life for a tenth consecutive year in 2019. Housing and schools are readily available, as are social and economic well-being, as well as a large number of cultural services. Austria's folk music is yodeling, as is the case with their other European neighbors.

Austria is famous for the Vienna Boys Choir, one of the oldest choirs in the world that does not belong to a church. Each year, the ensemble performs up to three hundred concerts with a hundred boys of age 9-14.

Annually, the Danube Island Festival specializes in music and is held in an open-air setting. There are national and international musicians from all genres performing there every June for one weekend.

There are plenty of opportunities to eat and drink, as well as a number of activities you can participate in, including line dancing and climbing. The children's areas also offer fun and games.

Vienna's typical wurst stand is one of the most popular local food stands. Almost every street is home to a stand, an essential part of Vienna's culture.

One can hardly miss the stands. A must-try in Austria is the Käsekrainer with mustard, black bread, and canned beer as it is one of the classic dishes of the wurst stand. Wienerschnitzel is one of Austria's most popular dishes.

It was Austrian entrepreneur Dietrich Mateschitz who created the energy drink and brand Red Bull in 1987. He wasn't alone in the process, though.

He created one of the largest drinks empires in the world with the help of a Thai businessman, Chaleo Yoovidhya. The daredevil legend Felix Baumgartner made headlines when he jumped from the stratosphere to Earth as part of a Red Bull campaign back in 2012.

Considering Austria's stunning mountain peaks and alpine pastures, transportation in Austria is not much to worry about. With Austria's spectacular long-distance tourist railways, passengers can take in the sights without having to drive themselves.

The Semmering and Arlberg railways are two of the most famous rail routes. UNESCO declared the Semmering line a World Cultural Heritage Site in 1998, and it runs between Glognitz and Semmering covering 33.54 mi (54 km).

Austria is known not only for its skiing resorts and snowfalls, but it also has the world’s largest ice cave; a complex of caverns and tunnels, with icebergs that hang like daggers and rivers that seem frozen in time.


Austrian History

Austria's turbulent and intriguing history makes it famous all over the world. Austria has, because of its geographical location, been involved in many famous empires, epic battles, and many significant world events over the years.

Between 1273 and 1918, Austria was under the regime of the House of Habsburg (Haus Austria). The Austrian Empire came into being in 1806 when Emperor Francis II of Austria dissolved the Holy Roman Empire.

The dual monarchy formed by Austria and Hungary between 1867 and 1918 collapsed with the defeat in World War I. Following these events, Adolf Hitler, who was Austrian by birth, reasserted his dominance over Austria and Hungary as part of Nazi Germany.

During the Roman Empire, a Celtic kingdom was conquered by the Romans in 15 BC and became the Roman province of Noricum in the mid-1st century AD. It is today's Austria. Charlemagne introduced Christianity to the region during the Frankish invasion of 788 AD. As a result of the Habsburg Empire, Austria became one of Europe's most powerful nations.

The Austrian Empire was reformed in 1867, leading to the formation of Austria-Hungary. Austro-Hungary collapsed in 1918 after World War I ended. This led to the creation of the First Austrian Republic. Nazi Germany invaded and annexed Austria during the Anschluss in 1938.

Austria's former democratic constitution was restored in the wake of World War II, during which the allies occupied Austria. When the Austrian State Treaty was signed in 1955, Austria became a sovereign state. The Austrian Parliament adopted the Neutrality Declaration in the very same year, Austria declared that it will always remain neutral.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for Austria facts then why not take a look at facts about Canada, or facts about Alaska.

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Written by Aashita Dhingra

Bachelors in Business Administration

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Aashita DhingraBachelors in Business Administration

Based in Lucknow, India, Aashita is a skilled content creator with experience crafting study guides for high school-aged kids. Her education includes a degree in Business Administration from St. Mary's Convent Inter College, which she leverages to bring a unique perspective to her work. Aashita's passion for writing and education is evident in her ability to craft engaging content.

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