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The Austria Portal

Topographical map of Austria

Austria is located in the heart of Europe. It is bordered to the north by Czechia and Germany, to the south by Slovenia and Italy, to the west by Liechtenstein and Switzerland, and to the east by Hungary and Slovakia. Its capital city is Vienna.

The origins of modern Austria date back to the ninth century, when the countryside of upper and lower Austria became increasingly populated, the name of Austria Ostarrîchi is first documented in an official document from 996. Since then this word has developed into the German word Österreich.

Austria's political system is that of a federal, parliamentary representative democracy consisting of nine states, it is one of six European countries that have declared permanent neutrality and one of the few countries that includes the concept of everlasting neutrality in their constitution. It is one of Europe's leading industrialised countries,

Austria has been a member of the United Nations since 1955 and joined the European Union in 1995, it also a member of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, whose headquarters is based in Vienna.

Selected article

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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Selected biography

Franz Joseph I of Austria

Franz Joseph I of Austria was (18 August 1830 – 21 November 1916) was Emperor of Austria, King of Bohemia and Apostolic King of Hungary from 1848 until 1916.

Born in Schönbrunn Palace, he became emperor in the tumultuous Revolutions of 1848 at the young age of 18, he initially ruled with absolutism until the 1860s when the defeat in the Austro-Prussian War forced him to sign the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867, which established the dual monarchy with him as King of Hungary. Franz Joseph eventually also allowed the establishment of a constitutional monarchy. Under his later rule, Austria experienced unprecedented industrial growth and a flowering of the arts and culture, his reign would become the longest rule of an Austrian monarch.

He was married to the legendary Elisabeth of Bavaria, their son Crown Prince Rudolph would later commit suicide in Mayerling. World War I broke out in 1914 after the assassination of the heir to the throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Franz Joseph would not witness the collapse of his empire, dying in 1916 at the age of 86 years, in his birthplace, the palace of Schönbrunn, with his passing, an era came to an end.


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Did you know...

  • ... that the first record showing the name "Austria" is from 996 where it is written as Ostarrîchi, referring to the territory of the Babenberg March?
  • ... that Austria currently produces more than half of its electricity by hydropower?


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