Portal:Austria
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Portal:Austria

The Austria Portal

Topographical map of Austria
Austria (, ; German: Österreich ['ø:sta?ç] ), officially the Republic of Austria (German: Republik Österreich [?epu'bli:k '?ø:sta?ç] ), is a landlocked East Alpine country in the southern part of Central Europe. It is composed of nine federated states (Bundesländer), one of which is Vienna, Austria's capital and largest city. It is bordered by Germany to the northwest, the Czech Republic to the north, Slovakia to the northeast, Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west. Austria occupies an area of 83,879 km2 (32,386 sq mi) and has a population of nearly 9 million people. While Austrian German is the country's official language, many Austrians communicate informally in a variety of Bavarian dialects.

Austria initially emerged as a margraviate around 976 and developed into a duchy and archduchy. In the 16th century, Austria started serving as the heart of the Habsburg Monarchy and the junior branch of the House of Habsburg - one of the most influential royal dynasties in history. As an archduchy, it was a major component and administrative centre of the Holy Roman Empire. Early in the 19th century, Austria established its own empire, which became a great power and the leading force of the German Confederation, but pursued its own course independently of the other German states following its defeat in the Austro-Prussian War in 1866. In 1867, in compromise with Hungary, the Austria-Hungary Dual Monarchy was established.

Austria was involved in World War I under Emperor Franz Joseph following the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, the presumptive successor to the Austro-Hungarian throne. After the defeat and the dissolution of the Monarchy, the Republic of German-Austria was proclaimed with the intent of union with Germany, but the Allied Powers did not support the new state and it remained unrecognized. In 1919 the First Austrian Republic became the legal successor of Austria. In 1938, the Austrian-born Adolf Hitler, who became the Chancellor of the German Reich, achieved the annexation of Austria by the Anschluss. Following the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945 and an extended period of Allied occupation, Austria was re-established as a sovereign and self-governing democratic nation known as the Second Republic.

Austria is a parliamentary representative democracy with a directly elected Federal President as head of state and a Chancellor as head of the federal government. Major urban areas of Austria include Vienna, Graz, Linz, Salzburg and Innsbruck. Austria is consistently ranked in the top 20 richest countries in the world by GDP per capita terms. The country has achieved a high standard of living and in 2018 was ranked 20th in the world for its Human Development Index. Vienna consistently ranks in the top internationally on quality-of-life indicators.

The Second Republic declared its perpetual neutrality in foreign political affairs in 1955. Austria has been a member of the United Nations since 1955 and joined the European Union in 1995. It plays host to the OSCE and OPEC and is a founding member of the OECD and Interpol. Austria also signed the Schengen Agreement in 1995, and adopted the euro currency in 1999. (Full article...)

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Entrance to Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp

Mauthausen Concentration Camp (known from the summer of 1940 as Mauthausen-Gusen Concentration Camp) grew to become a large group of Nazi concentration camps that was built around the villages of Mauthausen and Gusen in Upper Austria, roughly 20 kilometres (12 mi) east of the city of Linz.

Initially a single camp at Mauthausen, it expanded over time and by the summer of 1940, the Mauthausen-Gusen had become one of the largest labour camp complexes in German-controlled Europe.

In January 1945, the camps, directed from the central office in Mauthausen, contained roughly 85,000 inmates. The death toll remains unknown, although most sources place it between 122,766 and 320,000 for the entire complex. The camps formed one of the first massive concentration camp complexes in Nazi Germany, and were the last ones to be liberated by the Allies. Unlike many other concentration camps, intended for all categories of prisoners, Mauthausen was mostly used for extermination through labour of the intelligentsia, who were educated people and members of the higher social classes in countries subjugated by the Nazi regime during World War II.

Mauthausen was liberated by American troops in May 1945. It was declared a national memorial site in 1949 and a museum opened in 1975.

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Palace and gardens of Schönbrunn

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Statue of Athena outside the Austrian Parliament

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Otto Wagner (13 July 1841 - 11 April 1918) was an architect and city planner. His art nouveau (Jugendstil) buildings and his thoughts on architecture and city planning made him one of the most prominent architects of the late 19th century.

Wagner was very interested in urban planning -- in 1890 he designed a new city plan for Vienna, but only his urban rail network, the Stadtbahn, was built. In 1896 he published a textbook entitled Modern Architecture in which he expressed his ideas about the role of the architect; it was based on the text of his 1894 inaugural lecture to the Academy. His style incorporated the use of new materials and new forms to reflect the fact that society itself was changing. In his textbook, he stated that "new human tasks and views called for a change or reconstitution of existing forms". In pursuit of this ideal, he designed and built structures that reflected their intended function.

In 1897, he joined Gustav Klimt, Joseph Maria Olbrich, Josef Hoffmann and Koloman Moser shortly after they founded the "Vienna Secession" artistic group. From the ideas of this group he developed a style that included quasi-symbolic references to the new forms of modernity.

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