Austria

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About

Horse Carriage in Vienna

  • Austria is a country in Central Europe
  • Austria has a population of roughly 8.3 million people
  • The majority of the population speaks German, which is also the country’s official language. Other local official languages are Croatian, Hungarian and Slovene.
  • Austria borders Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west, Germany and Czech Republic to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east and Slovenia and Italy to the south.
  • Austria’s terrain is highly mountainous due to the presence of the Alps. Only 32% of the country is below 500m.
  • Austrian food is traditionally of the heavy, hearty “meat and dumplings” variety.

 

HISTORY

  • From the start of the 20th century, the political history of Austria has been closely linked to the misfortunes and disasters of modern German history, mainly the First and Second World Wars and their terrible aftermath.
  • Following an invasion and capture by Nazi Germany in 1938, Austria more or less functioned as a part of Nazi Germany during the Second World War. As a result, a large amount of the population supported Hitler and Austria’s integration into Germany. Austrian soldiers also fought in the Wehrmacht. Cities were bombed heavily by the Allies and concentration camps also existed on Austrian soil.
  • It was not until the end of the war that Austria tried to distance itself from Germany. In 1945, Austria was divided into zones of occupation like Germany. A treaty signed in 1955 recognized Austria’s independence, and prohibit future association with Germany.
  • Austria became a part of the European Union in 1995.
  • Austria entered the European Monetary Union in 1999, and the Euro currency replaced the schilling in 2002.
  • Austria is also part of “borderless Europe”, resulting in many students from all over the European Union studying in Austrian universities and vice verse.


FACTS

    • The German name for Austria is Osterreich, which means ‘Eastern Empire’, referring to the time when Austria was a part of the Holy Roman Empire.
    • About half of Austrian men are overweight, while around one-fifth of Austrian women are overweight.
    • About one fourth of the population of Austria lives in Vienna.
    • Adolf Hitler was born in Braunau am Inn, Austria.
    • Austria is the only continental EU country that is not a member of NATO.
    • The Austrian flag is one of the oldest national flags in the world
    • Ferdinand Porsche, the founder of ‘Porsche’ company, was an Austrian.
    • Schönbrunn Palace, the summer palace of the Habsburgs, has over 1440 rooms.
    • The Austrian Alps boast of being home to the Pasterze Glacier, one of largest glaciers in Europe.
    • The Krimml Falls, with a height of 380 meters, are amongst the highest waterfalls of Europe.
    • The Semmering Railway, between Gloggnitz and Simmering, built over mountains, was one of the greatest civil engineering works of 19th century.
    • The sewing machine was invented by Josef Madersperger, an Austrian.
    • Tiergarten Schönbrunn of Vienna, founded in 1752 is the oldest zoological garden in the world.
    • Vienna once served as the musical center of Europe.
    • Vienna’s Central Cemetery has over 2.5 million tombs (more than the city’s present population), including those of Beethoven, Brahms, Gluck, Schubert, Schoenberg and Strauss.

Avg. Costs

Belvedere Palace in Vienna

  • Average per person per day €125
  • A can of Coke  €0.40
  • A good meal  €15
  • Public toilets must normally be paid for. Prices range between €0.20 and €1, which must either be handed to a toilet assistant or inserted into a slot
  • Hotel with breakfast €50-60, Lunch €6-9, Wine/Beer €15-20
  • Day pass for transport €4-5
  • Museum entry (most) €5-7 (a few) €12
  • ATM withdrawal per day, approximately €400
  • Currency exchange service fee €2-3
  • Main meal of the day is lunch – costs per meal can range from €5-20
  • Drinking age 16 for beer and wine, 18 for spirits
  • Schobrunn Palace – Grand Tour prices – Adult €14.40, Students €12.90, Children €9.90

 

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Currency

Information is coming soon.

Safety

Winding Roads

  • Austria is one of the safest countries in the world.
  • Vienna is rated as the 6th safest city in the world out of 215 cities.
  • Violent crimes are extremely rare and should not concern the average tourist.
  • Beware of pickpockets in crowded places. They are becoming increasingly professional in all areas of Europe.
  • Bicycle theft is extensive in bigger cities, but virtually absent in smaller towns. Always lock your bike to an immobile object.
  • Do not walk on the bike lanes and cross them like you would cross any other road. Some bike lanes are hard to recognize and some cyclists drive rather fast. Walking on bike lines is not only considered to be impolite, but it may also happen that you are hit by a cyclist.

 

Click here to see Canadian Government Travel Reports and Warnings on http://www.voyage.gc.ca/.  Travel Reports offer information on safety and security, local laws and customs, entry requirements, health conditions and other important travel issues.

Climate

Kalskirche, Vienna

  • Austria has a temperate continental climate
  • Summers last from early June to mid-September and can be hot in some years and rainy in others.
  • Day-time temperatures in July and August are around 25° C (77° F), but can often reach 35° C (95° F).
  • Winters last from December to March
  • Winters are cold in the lowlands and very harsh in the Alpine region with temperatures often dropping below -10° C (14° F).

Places to See

Rathaus in Vienna

Schönbrunn Palace

  • A former imperial 1,400-room Rococo summer residence in Vienna, Austria
  • One of the most important cultural monuments in the country
  • Since the 1960s it has been one of the major tourist attractions in Vienna

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Hohensalzburg Castle

  • A castle in the Austrian city of Salzburg, atop the Festungsberg
  • It is one of the largest medieval castles in Europe
  • It has a length of 250 meters and a width of 150 meters

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The Großglockner High Alpine Road

  • A panoramic road in Austria, in the state of Salzburg
  • It connects the state of Salzburg with the state of Carinthia
  • It is named after the Großglockner, Austria’s highest mountain

 

 

 

The Wiener Riesenrad

  • A giant Ferris wheel at the entrance of the Prater amusement park in Leopoldstadt, the second district of Austria’s capital Vienna

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Etiquette

Country Customary Information: Titles are very important; until you are formally invited to use a person’s first name continue to use their title and surname. Presentation and dress is pretty important to Austrian culture. Even in informal environments their entire is neat and conservative. If giving gifts, you should not give red carnations, lilies, or chrysanthemums if giving flowers, always give a odd number, except for 12, even numbers are bad luck. All gifts should be nicely wrapped.

Communication Etiquette: Austrians are very direct with their speech and will not furnish their speech with pleasant gestures. You should not take offence, because they expect to be taken for their word. Handshakes are important, it is good to have a firm handshake and always maintain eye contact. During communication you may only be referred to by your surname, this culture only uses first names with family and close friends.

Business Etiquette: Austrians require supporting data to support ideas or claims. In a meeting environment it is essential to prepare yourself with data to support your ideas. It is also advised to have all presentations translated into both English and German. Business relationships are extremely formal.
Hierarchy and status is a very important element in Austrian business culture. If possible make the effort to communicate in German, even though English is very widely spoken. Don’t speak with your Austrian counterparts about money, religion, and their personal life. Austrians tend to be introverted and private.

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