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Austria Country Guide

Austria is located in central Europe near Italy and Slovenia. To the north is German and the Czech Republic. It has cold winters and moderate summers with occasional rain. It has mountainous regions due to the Alps, and about 90 percent of the population speaks German. This is the official language for the country. The other languages spoken are Croatian, Slovene, and Hungarian. All three languages are taught with German is some bilingual schools. It has about 8.4 million people. 

Austria has cultural diversity which has shaped the country. Austrian literature spans nine centuries. Known for Viennese Classicism in music the famous composers like Mozart, and Beethoven set a standard for great achievement in music. The country has chamber music and classical romantic pieces too. The Vienna State Opera is one of the best in the world to attend . Austria also is known for architecture, visual arts, and film. It is truly a cultural Mecca. 

They government strives to make Austria a part of making Europe more cultural. The historic city of Salzburg attracts artists and craftsmen. Historic Vienna is the centre of baroque castles, gardens, buildings, monuments, and parks. Families in Austria are small and close knit and often spend weekends eating, visiting, and helping other family members. The flag is one of the oldest in the world dating back to 1191. About one fourth of the population lives in the capital of Vienna. 

Austria has a green environment from crystal clear lakes to snowy mountain tops. There are forests, vineyards, and marshlands to visit. There are several regions of Austria. The Burgenland has great natural beauty, arts, wine, and culture. Enjoy the Seewinkel National Park with its unique flora and fauna. For the active person enjoy biking, golf and water sports in this region. 

The Carinthia region of Austria has beautiful lakes and mountains. Lower Austria has the forests near the Danube, March and Thaya Rivers. There are mountains and rolling hills, swamps, and river valleys. This region has an abundance of natural beauty with sunflower fields, rivers and pine woods. Nature and culture clash in this region for a truly remarkable experience. Upper Austria has many cycle paths like the Danube Cycle Path known as one of the best in the world. Enjoy water sports in the Salzkammergut Lake District. Austria has a diverse culture and climate. 

Austria food is varied and with meat they enjoy beef, chicken and pork. The most well-known meat wiener schnitzel is made of veal. The veal is tenderized by pounding it with a mallet, dipping it in flour, eggs and bread crumbs. It is fried in butter. Cakes and pastries are popular like the sachertorte a chocolate cake filled with apricot jam and topped with whipped cream. Breakfast is often a roll, cold meats, cheese, coffee and juice. Austria has regional food like cheese and others high in carbohydrates. Dumplings and spatzle are another popular dish. Some regions in Austria are known for fish and wine. Overall Austria offers great diversity in dining and variety in foods.