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To the north of the river is a richly wooded foothill area that includes a portion of the Bohemian Massif , which extends across the Czech border into the state of Niederösterreich Lower Austria.

This part of Austria is furrowed by many valleys that for centuries served as passageways leading to the east and southeast of Europe and even—in the case of medieval pilgrims and Crusaders—to the Holy Land.

The lowland area east of Vienna, together with the northern part of the state of Burgenland , may be regarded as a western extension of the Little Alföld Little Hungarian Plain.

Austria is a land of lakes, many of them a legacy of the Pleistocene Epoch i. The largest lakes—lying partly in the territory of neighbouring countries—are Lake Constance Bodensee in the west and the marshy Neusiedler Lake Neusiedlersee in the east.

Nearly all Austrian territory drains into the Danube River system. The main watershed between the Black Sea and the North Sea runs across northern Austria, in some places lying only about 22 miles 35 km from the Danube, while to the west the watershed between the Danube and the river systems emptying into the Atlantic and the Mediterranean coincides with the western political boundary of Austria.

In the south the Julian and Carnic Karnische Alps and, farther to the west, the main Alpine range mark the watershed of the region draining into the Po River of northern Italy.

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With nearly three-quarters of the country dominated by the Alps, the alpine climate is predominant. In the east—in the Pannonian Plain and along the Danube valley —the climate shows continental features with less rain than the alpine areas.

It is important to note though that Austria may experience very cold, severe winters, but most of the time they are only around as cold as those in somewhat comparable climate zones, for example Southern Scandinavia or Eastern Europe.

The subarctic and tundra climates seen around the Alps are much warmer in winter than what is normal elsewhere due in part to the Oceanic influence on this part of Europe.

Austria consistently ranks high in terms of GDP per capita , [] due to its highly industrialized economy, and well-developed social market economy.

Until the s, many of Austria's largest industry firms were nationalised; in recent years, however, privatisation has reduced state holdings to a level comparable to other European economies.

Labour movements are particularly influential, exercising large influence on labour politics and decisions related to the expansion of the economy.

Next to a highly developed industry, international tourism is the most important part of the economy of Austria.

Germany has historically been the main trading partner of Austria, making it vulnerable to rapid changes in the German economy.

Since Austria became a member state of the European Union , it has gained closer ties to other EU economies, reducing its economic dependence on Germany.

In addition, membership of the EU has drawn an influx of foreign investors attracted by Austria's access to the single European market and proximity to the aspiring economies of the European Union.

Growth in GDP reached 3. Austria indicated on 16 November that it would withhold the December installment of its contribution to the EU bailout of Greece, citing the material worsening of the Greek debt situation and the apparent inability of Greece to collect the level of tax receipts it had previously promised.

The Financial crisis of — dented the economy of Austria in other ways as well. Since the fall of communism, Austrian companies have been quite active players and consolidators in Eastern Europe.

Between and , 4, mergers and acquisitions with a total known value of bil. EUR with the involvement of Austrian firms have been announced.

EUR in In , the country began construction of a nuclear-powered electricity-generation station at Zwentendorf on the River Danube , following a unanimous vote in parliament.

However, in , a referendum voted approximately Austria currently produces more than half of its electricity by hydropower.

Compared to most European countries, Austria is ecologically well endowed. Its biocapacity or biological natural capital is more than double of the world average: In , Austria had 3.

In contrast, in , they used 6. This means that Austrians use about 60 percent more biocapacity than Austria contains. As a result, Austria is running a biocapacity deficit.

Austria's population was estimated to be nearly 9 million 8. It is known for its cultural offerings and high standard of living.

Vienna is by far the country's largest city. Graz is second in size, with , inhabitants, followed by Linz , , Salzburg , , Innsbruck , , and Klagenfurt , All other cities have fewer than , inhabitants.

According to Eurostat , in there were 1. Of these, , Turks form one of the largest ethnic groups in Austria, numbering around , While 2, Turks left Austria in the same year, 10, immigrated to the country, confirming a strong trend of growth.

The total fertility rate TFR in was estimated at 1. Statistics Austria estimates that nearly 10 million people will live in the country by Standard Austrian German is spoken in Austria, though used primarily just in education, publications, announcements and websites.

It is mostly identical to the Standard German of Germany but with some vocabulary differences. This Standard German language is used in formal contexts across Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein, as well as among those with significant German-speaking minorities: Italy, Belgium and Denmark.

However, the common spoken language of Austria is not the Standard German taught in schools but Austro-Bavarian : a group of Upper German local dialects with varying degrees of difficulty being understood by each other as well as by speakers of non-Austrian German dialects.

Taken as a collective whole, German languages or dialects are thus spoken natively by The Austrian federal states of Carinthia and Styria are home to a significant indigenous Slovene-speaking minority while in the easternmost state, Burgenland formerly part of the Hungarian portion of Austria—Hungary , there are significant Hungarian - and Croatian -speaking minorities.

Of the remaining number of Austria's people that are of non-Austrian descent, many come from surrounding countries, especially from the former East Bloc nations.

Guest workers Gastarbeiter and their descendants, as well as refugees from the Yugoslav wars and other conflicts, also form an important minority group in Austria.

Since the Roma — Sinti gypsies have been an officially recognised ethnic minority in Austria. According to census information published by Statistik Austria for [11] there were a total of , foreign nationals living in Austria.

Of these, the largest by far are , foreign nationals from the former Yugoslavia of whom , speak Serbian; , Croatian; 31, Bosnian — i. The second largest population of linguistic and ethnic groups are the Turks including minority of Kurds with a number of , to , who currently live in Austria.

The next largest population of linguistic and ethnic groups are the , who speak German as their mother tongue even though they hail from outside of Austria mainly immigrants from Germany, some from Switzerland, South Tyrol in Italy, Romania , or the former Soviet Union ; , English; 24, Albanian; 17, Polish; 14, Hungarian; 12, Romanian; 10, Malayali; 7, Arabic; 6, Slovak; 6, Czech; 5, Persian; 5, Italian; 5, Russian; 5, French; 4, Chinese; 4, Spanish; 3, Bulgarian.

The numbers for other languages fall off sharply below 3, In , some of the Austrian states introduced standardised tests for new citizens, to assure their language ability, cultural knowledge and accordingly their ability to integrate into the Austrian society.

Historically Austrians were regarded as ethnic Germans and viewed themselves as such, although this national identity was challenged by Austrian nationalism in the decades after the end of World War I and even more so after World War II.

In , Germany was founded as a nation-state , Austria was not a part of it. After World War I and the breakup of the Austrian monarchy, politicians of the new republic declared its name to be "Deutschösterreich" Republic of German-Austria and that it was part of the German Republic.

A unification of the two countries was forbidden by the treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye as one of the conditions imposed by the victorious Allies of World War I upon the vanquished nation, to prevent the creation of a territorially extensive German state.

After the events of World War II and Nazism , Austria as a country has made efforts to develop an Austrian national identity among its populace, [ citation needed ] and nowadays most do not consider themselves Germans.

Austrians may be described either as a nationality or as a homogeneous Germanic ethnic group , [] that is closely related to neighboring Germans , Liechtensteiners and German-speaking Swiss.

The Turks are the largest single immigrant group in Austria, [] closely followed by the Serbs. The Austrian Serbian Society was founded in An estimated 13, to 40, Slovenes in the Austrian state of Carinthia the Carinthian Slovenes as well as Croats around 30, [] and Hungarians in Burgenland were recognised as a minority and have had special rights following the Austrian State Treaty Staatsvertrag of The right for bilingual topographic signs for the regions where Slovene and Croat Austrians live alongside the German-speaking population as required by the State Treaty is still to be fully implemented in the view of some, while others believe that the treaty-derived obligations have been met see below.

Many Carinthians are afraid of Slovenian territorial claims, [ citation needed ] pointing to the fact that Yugoslav troops entered the state after each of the two World Wars and considering that some official Slovenian atlases show parts of Carinthia as Slovene cultural territory.

The recently deceased governor, Jörg Haider , has made this fact a matter of public argument in autumn by refusing to increase the number of bilingual topographic signs in Carinthia.

Another interesting phenomenon is the so-called " Windischen-Theorie " stating that the Slovenes can be split in two groups: actual Slovenes and Windische a traditional German name for Slavs , based on differences in language between Austrian Slovenes, who were taught Slovene standard language in school and those Slovenes who spoke their local Slovene dialect but went to German schools.

The term Windische was applied to the latter group as a means of distinction. This politically influenced theory, dividing Slovene Austrians into the "loyal Windische" and the "national Slovenes", was never generally accepted and fell out of use some decades ago.

Religion in Austria [] [] []. Since the second half of the 20th century, the number of adherents and churchgoers has declined. Data for from the Austrian Roman Catholic Church list 5,, members, or According to the most recent Eurobarometer Poll , [].

Education in Austria is entrusted partly to the Austrian states Bundesländer and partly to the federal government. School attendance is compulsory for nine years, i.

Pre-school education called Kindergarten in German , free in most states, is provided for all children between the ages of three and six years and, whilst optional, is considered a normal part of a child's education due to its high takeup rate.

Maximum class size is around 30, each class normally being cared for by one qualified teacher and one assistant.

Primary education, or Volksschule , lasts for four years, starting at age six. The maximum class size is 30, but may be as low as It is generally expected that a class will be taught by one teacher for the entire four years and the stable bond between teacher and pupil is considered important for a child's well-being.

Children work individually and all members of a class follow the same plan of work. There is no streaming. Children are given homework daily from the first year.

Historically there has been no lunch hour, with children returning home to eat. However, due to a rise in the number of mothers in work, primary schools are increasingly offering pre-lesson and afternoon care.

As in Germany, secondary education consists of two main types of schools, attendance at which is based on a pupil's ability as determined by grades from the primary school.

The Gymnasium caters for the more able children, in the final year of which the Matura examination is taken, which is a requirement for access to university.

Attendance at one of these further education institutes also leads to the Matura. Some schools aim to combine the education available at the Gymnasium and the Hauptschule, and are known as Gesamtschulen.

In addition, a recognition of the importance of learning English has led some Gymnasiums to offer a bilingual stream, in which pupils deemed able in languages follow a modified curriculum, a portion of the lesson time being conducted in English.

Older pupils often attend further lessons after a break for lunch, generally eaten at school.

As at primary level, all pupils follow the same plan of work. Great emphasis is placed on homework and frequent testing.

Satisfactory marks in the end-of-the-year report "Zeugnis" are a prerequisite for moving up "aufsteigen" to the next class.

Pupils who do not meet the required standard re-sit their tests at the end of the summer holidays; those whose marks are still not satisfactory are required to re-sit the year "sitzenbleiben".

It is not uncommon for a pupil to re-sit more than one year of school. After completing the first two years, pupils choose between one of two strands, known as "Gymnasium" slightly more emphasis on arts or "Realgymnasium" slightly more emphasis on science.

Whilst many schools offer both strands, some do not, and as a result, some children move schools for a second time at age At age 14, pupils may choose to remain in one of these two strands, or to change to a vocational course, possibly with a further change of school.

The Austrian university system had been open to any student who passed the Matura examination until recently.

A bill allowed the introduction of entrance exams for studies such as Medicine. Since , for all EU students the studies have been free of charge, as long as a certain time-limit is not exceeded the expected duration of the study plus usually two terms tolerance.

Some further exceptions to the fee apply, e. Austria's past as a European power and its cultural environment generated a broad contribution to various forms of art, most notably among them music.

Vienna was for a long time an important centre of musical innovation. During the Baroque period , Slavic and Hungarian folk forms influenced Austrian music.

Vienna's status began its rise as a cultural centre in the early 16th century, and was focused around instruments, including the lute.

Ludwig van Beethoven spent the better part of his life in Vienna. Austrian Herbert von Karajan was principal conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic for 35 years.

He is generally regarded as one of the greatest conductors of the 20th century, and he was a dominant figure in European classical music from the s until his death.

International pop super star Johann Hölzel, also known by his stage name Falco was born in Vienna , Austria 19 February Conchita Wurst is also a renowned singer from the Austrian stock.

Contemporary artist Herbert Brandl. Sascha Kolowrat was an Austrian pioneer of filmmaking. Billy Wilder , Fritz Lang , Josef von Sternberg , and Fred Zinnemann originally came from the Austrian Empire before establishing themselves as internationally relevant filmmakers.

Michael Haneke became internationally known for his disturbing cinematic studies, receiving a Golden Globe for his critically acclaimed film The White Ribbon Max Reinhardt was a master of spectacular and astute theatre productions.

Otto Schenk not only excelled as a stage actor, but also as an opera director. Austria was the cradle of numerous scientists with international reputation.

In the 20th century, contributions by Lise Meitner , Erwin Schrödinger and Wolfgang Pauli to nuclear research and quantum mechanics were key to these areas' development during the s and s.

A present-day quantum physicist is Anton Zeilinger , noted as the first scientist to demonstrate quantum teleportation.

In addition to physicists , Austria was the birthplace of two of the most noteworthy philosophers of the 20th century, Ludwig Wittgenstein and Karl Popper.

A focus of Austrian science has always been medicine and psychology, starting in medieval times with Paracelsus.

Eminent physicians like Theodore Billroth , Clemens von Pirquet , and Anton von Eiselsberg have built upon the achievements of the 19th-century Vienna School of Medicine.

Complementing its status as a land of artists and scientists, Austria has always been a country of poets, writers, and novelists.

Austria's cuisine is derived from that of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Austrian cuisine is mainly the tradition of Royal-Cuisine "Hofküche" delivered over centuries.

It is famous for its well-balanced variations of beef and pork and countless variations of vegetables. There is also the "Mehlspeisen" Bakery, which created particular delicacies such as Sachertorte, "Krapfen" which are doughnuts usually filled with apricot jam or custard, and "Strudel" such as " Apfelstrudel " filled with apple, "Topfenstrudel" filled with a type of cheese curd called "topfen", and " Millirahmstrudel " milk-cream strudel.

In addition to native regional traditions, the cuisine has been influenced by Hungarian , Czech , Polish , Jewish , Italian , Balkan and French cuisines, from which both dishes and methods of food preparation have often been borrowed.

The Austrian cuisine is therefore one of the most multicultural and transcultural in Europe. There are also Kärntner Kasnudeln, which are pockets of dough filled with Topfen, potatoes, herbs and peppermint which are boiled and served with a butter sauce.

Kasnudeln are traditionally served with a salad. Eierschwammerl dishes are also popular. The sugar block dispenser Pez was invented in Austria, as well as Mannerschnitten.

Austria is also famous for its Mozartkugeln and its coffee tradition. Beer is sold in 0. The most popular types of beer are lager known as Märzen in Austria , naturally cloudy Zwicklbier and wheat beer.

At holidays like Christmas and Easter bock beer is also available. The Grüner Veltliner grape provides some of Austria's most notable white wines [] and Zweigelt is the most widely planted red wine grape.

The produce of small private schnapps distilleries , of which there are around 20, in Austria, is known as Selbstgebrannter or Hausbrand. Local soft drinks such as Almdudler are very popular around the country as an alternative to alcoholic beverages.

Another popular drink is the so-called "Spezi", a mix between Coca-Cola and the original formula of Orange Fanta or the more locally renowned Frucade.

Due to the mountainous terrain, alpine skiing is a prominent sport in Austria and is extremely valuable in the promotion and economic growth of the country.

Bobsleigh , luge , and skeleton are also popular events with a permanent track located in Igls , which hosted bobsleigh and luge competitions for the and Winter Olympics held in Innsbruck.

The first Winter Youth Olympics in were held in Innsbruck as well. A popular team sport in Austria is football , which is governed by the Austrian Football Association.

However, recently Austrian football has not been internationally successful. Besides football, Austria also has professional national leagues for most major team sports, including the Austrian Hockey League for ice hockey , and the Österreichische Basketball Bundesliga for basketball.

He is currently the only driver to have been champion for both Ferrari and McLaren, the sport's two most successful constructors.

Thomas Muster is a former tennis player and one of the greatest clay courters of all time. Sport played a significant role in developing national consciousness and boosting national self-confidence in the early years of the Second Republic after World War II, through events such as the Tour of Austria cycle race and through sporting successes such as the national football team's run to third at the World Cup and the performances of Toni Sailer and the rest of the "Kitzbühel Miracle Team" in the s.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the country. For other uses, see Austria disambiguation. Country in Central Europe.

Hungarian Slovene Burgenland Croatian [1] [2]. Main article: Name of Austria. Modern Austria honours this document, dated , as the founding of the nation.

Main article: History of Austria. Main article: Politics of Austria. Main article: Foreign relations of Austria. Main article: Austrian Armed Forces.

Main article: States of Austria. Lower Austria. Upper Austria. This section's factual accuracy is disputed.

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Main article: Geography of Austria. Austrian rural area of Schoppernau in summer. Climate data for Lech, Vorarlberg m; average temperatures — Dfc, bordering on Dfb.

Main article: Economy of Austria. Main article: Demographics of Austria. Main article: List of cities and towns in Austria.

Largest cities or towns in Austria Statistik Austria 1 January Main article: Languages of Austria. Main article: Religion in Austria.

Eastern Orthodoxy 8. Protestantism 3. Buddhism 0. None or other Main article: Education in Austria. Main article: Culture of Austria.

Main article: Music of Austria. Further information: List of Austrian artists and architects. See also: List of Austrian writers and Austrian literature.

Main article: Austrian cuisine. Main article: Sport in Austria. Austria portal Tyrol portal. Archived from the original on 24 May Retrieved 23 May Rechtsinformationssystem des Bundes.

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Spanish Asturian has special status. Cangas del Narcea. Corvera de Asturias. Source: INE. Austria was a prefecture of Bavaria created in The word "Austria" is a Latinisation of the German name and was first recorded in the 12th century.

The Central European land that is now Austria was settled in pre-Roman times by various Celtic tribes. The Celtic kingdom of Noricum was later claimed by the Roman Empire and made a province.

Present-day Petronell- Carnuntum in eastern Austria was an important army camp turned capital city in what became known as the Upper Pannonia province.

Carnuntum was home for 50, people for nearly years. The area was known as the marchia Orientalis and was given to Leopold of Babenberg in In , the Babenbergs also acquired the Duchy of Styria.

With the death of Frederick II in , the line of the Babenbergs was extinguished. In the 14th and 15th centuries, the Habsburgs began to accumulate other provinces in the vicinity of the Duchy of Austria.

Although Albert himself only reigned for a year, henceforth every emperor of the Holy Roman Empire was a Habsburg, with only one exception.

The Habsburgs began also to accumulate territory far from the hereditary lands. The Turks made incursions into Styria nearly 20 times, [29] of which some are cited as "burning, pillaging, and taking thousands of slaves".

During the long reign of Leopold I — and following the successful defence of Vienna against the Turks in under the command of the King of Poland, John III Sobieski , [31] a series of campaigns resulted in bringing most of Hungary to Austrian control by the Treaty of Karlowitz in Emperor Charles VI relinquished many of the gains the empire made in the previous years, largely due to his apprehensions at the imminent extinction of the House of Habsburg.

Charles was willing to offer concrete advantages in territory and authority in exchange for recognition of the Pragmatic Sanction that made his daughter Maria Theresa his heir.

With the rise of Prussia , the Austrian—Prussian dualism began in Germany. Austria participated, together with Prussia and Russia, in the first and the third of the three Partitions of Poland in and Austria later became engaged in a war with Revolutionary France , at the beginning highly unsuccessfully, with successive defeats at the hands of Napoleon, meaning the end of the old Holy Roman Empire in Two years earlier, [32] the Empire of Austria was founded.

From to , the Austrians had suffered , casualties. It emerged from the Congress of Vienna in as one of the continent's four dominant powers and a recognised great power.

Because of unsolved social, political, and national conflicts, the German lands were shaken by the revolutions aiming to create a unified Germany.

The various different possibilities for a united Germany were: a Greater Germany , or a Greater Austria or just the German Confederation without Austria at all.

As Austria was not willing to relinquish its German-speaking territories to what would become the German Empire of , the crown of the newly formed empire was offered to the Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm IV.

In , Austria and Prussia fought together against Denmark and secured the independence from Denmark of the duchies of Schleswig and Holstein.

As they could not agree on how the two duchies should be administered, though, they fought the Austro-Prussian War in Defeated by Prussia in the Battle of Königgrätz , [34] Austria had to leave the German Confederation and no longer took part in German politics.

As a result, ruling Austria—Hungary became increasingly difficult in an age of emerging nationalist movements, requiring considerable reliance on an expanded secret police.

Yet, the government of Austria tried its best to be accommodating in some respects: for example, the Reichsgesetzblatt , publishing the laws and ordinances of Cisleithania , was issued in eight languages; and all national groups were entitled to schools in their own language and to the use of their mother tongue at state offices.

Many Austrians of all different social circles such as Georg Ritter von Schönerer promoted strong pan-Germanism in hope of reinforcing an ethnic German identity and the annexation of Austria to Germany.

Although Bismarck's policies excluded Austria and the German Austrians from Germany, many Austrian pan-Germans idolized him and wore blue cornflowers, known to be the favourite flower of German Emperor William I , in their buttonholes, along with cockades in the German national colours black, red, and yellow , although they were both temporarily banned in Austrian schools, as a way to show discontent towards the multi-ethnic empire.

Austria's exclusion from Germany caused many Austrians a problem with their national identity and prompted the Social Democratic Leader Otto Bauer to state that it was "the conflict between our Austrian and German character.

Many Austrians, especially those involved with the pan-German movements, desired a reinforcement of an ethnic German identity and hoped that the empire would collapse, which would allow an annexation of Austria with Germany.

A lot of Austrian pan-German nationalists protested passionately against minister-president Kasimir Count Badeni 's language decree of , which made German and Czech co-official languages in Bohemia and required new government officials to be fluent in both languages.

This meant in practice that the civil service would almost exclusively hire Czechs, because most middle-class Czechs spoke German but not the other way around.

The support of ultramontane Catholic politicians and clergy for this reform triggered the launch of the " Away from Rome " German : Los-von-Rom movement, which was initiated by supporters of Schönerer and called on "German" Christians to leave the Roman Catholic Church.

On 30 October the assembly founded the Republic of German Austria by appointing a government, called Staatsrat.

This new government was invited by the Emperor to take part in the decision on the planned armistice with Italy, but refrained from this business.

This left the responsibility for the end of the war, on 3 November , solely to the emperor and his government. On 11 November, the emperor, advised by ministers of the old and the new governments, declared he would not take part in state business any more; on 12 November, German Austria, by law, declared itself to be a democratic republic and part of the new German republic.

The constitution, renaming the Staatsrat as Bundesregierung federal government and Nationalversammlung as Nationalrat national council was passed on 10 November The Treaty of Saint-Germain of for Hungary the Treaty of Trianon of confirmed and consolidated the new order of Central Europe which to a great extent had been established in November , creating new states and altering others.

On the same day it drafted a provisional constitution that stated that "German-Austria is a democratic republic" Article 1 and "German-Austria is an integral part of the German reich" Article 2.

Over 3 million German-speaking Austrians found themselves living outside the new Austrian Republic as minorities in the newly formed or enlarged states of Czechoslovakia , Yugoslavia , Hungary , and Italy.

The status of South Tyrol was a lingering problem between Austria and Italy until it was officially settled by the s with a great degree of autonomy being granted to it by the Italian national government.

Not only did the Entente powers forbid German Austria to unite with Germany, but they also rejected the name German Austria in the peace treaty to be signed; it was, therefore, changed to Republic of Austria in late The border between Austria and the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes later Yugoslavia was settled with the Carinthian Plebiscite in October and allocated the major part of the territory of the former Austro-Hungarian Crownland of Carinthia to Austria.

This set the border on the Karawanken mountain range, with many Slovenes remaining in Austria. After the war, inflation began to devalue the Krone, which was still Austria's currency.

In autumn , Austria was granted an international loan supervised by the League of Nations. The loan meant that Austria passed from an independent state to the control exercised by the League of Nations.

In , the Schilling was introduced, replacing the Krone at a rate of 10, Later, it was nicknamed the "Alpine dollar" due to its stability.

From to , the economy enjoyed a short high before nearly crashing [ clarification needed ] after Black Tuesday.

The First Austrian Republic lasted until , when Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss , using what he called "self-switch-off of Parliament" , established an autocratic regime tending towards Italian fascism.

In February , several members of the Schutzbund were executed, [61] the Social Democratic party was outlawed, and many of its members were imprisoned or emigrated.

His successor Kurt Schuschnigg acknowledged Austria as a "German state" and that Austrians were "better Germans" but wished for Austria to remain independent.

On 12 March , Austrian Nazis took over government, while German troops occupied the country, which prevented Schuschnigg's referendum from taking place.

Two days later, Austrian-born Hitler announced what he called the "reunification" of his home country with the "rest of the German Reich " on Vienna's Heldenplatz.

He established a plebiscite confirming the union with Germany in April Parliamentary elections were held in Germany including recently annexed Austria on 10 April They were the final elections to the Reichstag during Nazi rule, and took the form of a single-question referendum asking whether voters approved of a single Nazi-party list for the member Reichstag, as well as the recent annexation of Austria the Anschluss.

Jews and Gypsies were not allowed to vote. In the case of Austria, Adolf Hitler's native soil, On 12 March , Austria was annexed to the Third Reich and ceased to exist as an independent country.

The Aryanisation of the wealth of Jewish Austrians started immediately in mid-March, with a so-called "wild" i. The invading Allied powers, in particular the Americans, planned for the supposed "Alpine Fortress Operation" of a national redoubt, that was largely to have taken place on Austrian soil in the mountains of the Eastern Alps.

However, it never materialised because of the rapid collapse of the Reich. At the end of April, most of western and southern Austria were still under Nazi rule.

On 1 May , the federal constitution of , which had been terminated by dictator Dollfuss on 1 May , was declared valid again.

Total military deaths from to are estimated at , Thousands of Austrians had taken part in serious Nazi crimes hundreds of thousands died in Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp alone , a fact officially recognised by Chancellor Franz Vranitzky in Thus, the creation of a separate Western Austrian government and the division of the country was avoided.

Austria, in general, was treated as though it had been originally invaded by Germany and liberated by the Allies. On 15 May , after talks which lasted for years and were influenced by the Cold War , Austria regained full independence by concluding the Austrian State Treaty with the Four Occupying Powers.

On 26 October , after all occupation troops had left, Austria declared its "permanent neutrality" by an act of parliament. The political system of the Second Republic is based on the constitution of and , which was reintroduced in During all other legislative periods, either a grand coalition of SPÖ and ÖVP or a "small coalition" one of these two and a smaller party ruled the country.

Kurt Waldheim , a Wehrmacht officer in the Second World War accused of war crimes , was elected President of Austria from to Following a referendum in , at which consent reached a majority of two-thirds, the country became a member of the European Union on 1 January In reality, Austria is taking part in the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy , participates in peacekeeping and peace creating tasks, and has become a member of NATO 's "Partnership for Peace"; the constitution has been amended accordingly.

Since Liechtenstein joined the Schengen Area in , none of Austria's neighbouring countries performs border controls towards it anymore.

The Parliament of Austria is located in Vienna , the country's capital and most populous city. Austria became a federal , representative democratic republic through the Federal Constitution of The political system of the Second Republic with its nine states is based on the constitution of , amended in , which was reenacted on 1 May The head of state is the Federal President Bundespräsident , who is directly elected by popular majority vote, with a run-off between the top-scoring candidates, if necessary.

The head of the Federal Government is the Federal Chancellor Bundeskanzler , who is selected by the President and tasked with forming a government based on the partisan composition of the lower house of parliament.

The government can be removed from office by either a presidential decree or by vote of no confidence in the lower chamber of parliament, the Nationalrat.

Voting for the Federal President and for the Parliament used to be compulsory in Austria, but this was abolished in steps from to Austria's parliament consists of two chambers.

The composition of the Nationalrat seats is determined every five years or whenever the Nationalrat has been dissolved by the federal president on a motion by the federal chancellor, or by Nationalrat itself by a general election in which every citizen over the age of 16 has the right to vote.

The voting age was lowered from 18 in The Nationalrat is the dominant chamber in the legislative process in Austria. However, the upper house of parliament, the Bundesrat , has a limited right of veto the Nationalrat can—in almost all cases—ultimately pass the respective bill by voting a second time.

This is referred to as Beharrungsbeschluss , lit. While the bicameral Parliament and the Government constitute the legislative and executive branches, respectively, the courts are the third branch of Austrian state powers.

The Constitutional Court Verfassungsgerichtshof exerts considerable influence on the political system because of its power to invalidate legislation and ordinances that are not in compliance with the constitution.

Since , the European Court of Justice may overrule Austrian decisions in all matters defined in laws of the European Union.

This coalition broke up in June After the Grand Coalition broke in Spring a snap election was proclaimed for October NEOS finished fourth with 10 seats 5.

The new government between the centre-right wing and the right-wing populist party under the new chancellor Sebastian Kurz was sworn in on 18 December , but the coalition government later collapsed and new elections were called for 29 September The elections lead to another landslide victory On 26 October , the Federal Assembly passed a constitutional article in which "Austria declares of her own free will her perpetual neutrality".

The second section of this law stated that "in all future times Austria will not join any military alliances and will not permit the establishment of any foreign military bases on her territory".

Since then, Austria has shaped its foreign policy on the basis of neutrality, but rather different from the neutrality of Switzerland. Austria began to reassess its definition of neutrality following the fall of the Soviet Union , granting overflight rights for the UN-sanctioned action against Iraq in , and since , it has developed participation in the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy.

Also in , it joined NATO's Partnership for Peace although it was careful to do so only after Russia joined and subsequently participated in peacekeeping missions in Bosnia.

Meanwhile, the only part of the Constitutional Law on Neutrality of still fully valid is to not allow foreign military bases in Austria.

Austria attaches great importance to participation in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and other international economic organisations, and it has played an active role in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe OSCE.

Helsinki Commission. Both males and females at the age of sixteen are eligible for voluntary service. Since , women volunteers have been allowed to become professional soldiers.

Austria is a landlocked country and has no navy. In , Austria's defence expenditures corresponded to approximately 0.

The Army currently has about 26, [93] soldiers, of whom about 12, are conscripts. Since the end of the Cold War , and more importantly the removal of the former heavily guarded " Iron Curtain " separating Austria and its Eastern Bloc neighbours Hungary and former Czechoslovakia , the Austrian military has been assisting Austrian border guards in trying to prevent border crossings by illegal immigrants.

This assistance came to an end when Hungary and Slovakia joined the EU Schengen Area in , for all intents and purposes abolishing "internal" border controls between treaty states.

Some politicians have called for a prolongation of this mission, but the legality of this is heavily disputed.

In accordance with the Austrian constitution, armed forces may only be deployed in a limited number of cases, mainly to defend the country and aid in cases of national emergency, such as in the wake of natural disasters.

Within its self-declared status of permanent neutrality , Austria has a long and proud tradition of engaging in UN-led peacekeeping and other humanitarian missions.

Currently, larger contingents of Austrian forces are deployed in Bosnia and Kosovo. Austria is a federal republic consisting of nine states German: Bundesländer.

Districts are subdivided into municipalities Gemeinden. Statutory Cities have the competencies otherwise granted to both districts and municipalities.

Vienna is unique in that it is both a city and a state. Austria's constituent states are not mere administrative divisions but have some legislative authority distinct from the federal government, e.

In recent years, it has been questioned whether a small country should maintain ten subnational legislatures. The Ministry in charge of the Austrian corrections system is the Ministry of Justice.

Since the population has risen over 2, and has stabilized at over 8, Austria is a largely mountainous country because of its location in the Alps.

The Alps of western Austria give way somewhat into low lands and plains in the eastern part of the country. The second greater mountain area much lower than the Alps is situated in the north.

According to the WWF , the territory of Austria can be subdivided into four ecoregions: the Central European mixed forests , Pannonian mixed forests, Alps conifer and mixed forests and Western European broadleaf forests.

View of Krems at the end of Wachau valley. The Danube at Linz with cruise ships. With nearly three-quarters of the country dominated by the Alps, the alpine climate is predominant.

In the east—in the Pannonian Plain and along the Danube valley —the climate shows continental features with less rain than the alpine areas.

It is important to note though that Austria may experience very cold, severe winters, but most of the time they are only around as cold as those in somewhat comparable climate zones, for example Southern Scandinavia or Eastern Europe.

The subarctic and tundra climates seen around the Alps are much warmer in winter than what is normal elsewhere due in part to the Oceanic influence on this part of Europe.

Austria consistently ranks high in terms of GDP per capita , [] due to its highly industrialized economy, and well-developed social market economy.

Until the s, many of Austria's largest industry firms were nationalised; in recent years, however, privatisation has reduced state holdings to a level comparable to other European economies.

Labour movements are particularly influential, exercising large influence on labour politics and decisions related to the expansion of the economy.

Next to a highly developed industry, international tourism is the most important part of the economy of Austria. Germany has historically been the main trading partner of Austria, making it vulnerable to rapid changes in the German economy.

Since Austria became a member state of the European Union , it has gained closer ties to other EU economies, reducing its economic dependence on Germany.

In addition, membership of the EU has drawn an influx of foreign investors attracted by Austria's access to the single European market and proximity to the aspiring economies of the European Union.

Growth in GDP reached 3. Austria indicated on 16 November that it would withhold the December installment of its contribution to the EU bailout of Greece, citing the material worsening of the Greek debt situation and the apparent inability of Greece to collect the level of tax receipts it had previously promised.

The Financial crisis of — dented the economy of Austria in other ways as well. Since the fall of communism, Austrian companies have been quite active players and consolidators in Eastern Europe.

Between and , 4, mergers and acquisitions with a total known value of bil. EUR with the involvement of Austrian firms have been announced.

EUR in In , the country began construction of a nuclear-powered electricity-generation station at Zwentendorf on the River Danube , following a unanimous vote in parliament.

However, in , a referendum voted approximately Austria currently produces more than half of its electricity by hydropower.

Compared to most European countries, Austria is ecologically well endowed. Its biocapacity or biological natural capital is more than double of the world average: In , Austria had 3.

In contrast, in , they used 6. This means that Austrians use about 60 percent more biocapacity than Austria contains. As a result, Austria is running a biocapacity deficit.

Austria's population was estimated to be nearly 9 million 8. It is known for its cultural offerings and high standard of living.

Vienna is by far the country's largest city. Graz is second in size, with , inhabitants, followed by Linz , , Salzburg , , Innsbruck , , and Klagenfurt , All other cities have fewer than , inhabitants.

According to Eurostat , in there were 1. Of these, , Turks form one of the largest ethnic groups in Austria, numbering around , While 2, Turks left Austria in the same year, 10, immigrated to the country, confirming a strong trend of growth.

The total fertility rate TFR in was estimated at 1. Statistics Austria estimates that nearly 10 million people will live in the country by Standard Austrian German is spoken in Austria, though used primarily just in education, publications, announcements and websites.

It is mostly identical to the Standard German of Germany but with some vocabulary differences. This Standard German language is used in formal contexts across Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein, as well as among those with significant German-speaking minorities: Italy, Belgium and Denmark.

However, the common spoken language of Austria is not the Standard German taught in schools but Austro-Bavarian : a group of Upper German local dialects with varying degrees of difficulty being understood by each other as well as by speakers of non-Austrian German dialects.

Taken as a collective whole, German languages or dialects are thus spoken natively by The Austrian federal states of Carinthia and Styria are home to a significant indigenous Slovene-speaking minority while in the easternmost state, Burgenland formerly part of the Hungarian portion of Austria—Hungary , there are significant Hungarian - and Croatian -speaking minorities.

Of the remaining number of Austria's people that are of non-Austrian descent, many come from surrounding countries, especially from the former East Bloc nations.

Guest workers Gastarbeiter and their descendants, as well as refugees from the Yugoslav wars and other conflicts, also form an important minority group in Austria.

Since the Roma — Sinti gypsies have been an officially recognised ethnic minority in Austria. According to census information published by Statistik Austria for [11] there were a total of , foreign nationals living in Austria.

Of these, the largest by far are , foreign nationals from the former Yugoslavia of whom , speak Serbian; , Croatian; 31, Bosnian — i.

The second largest population of linguistic and ethnic groups are the Turks including minority of Kurds with a number of , to , who currently live in Austria.

The next largest population of linguistic and ethnic groups are the , who speak German as their mother tongue even though they hail from outside of Austria mainly immigrants from Germany, some from Switzerland, South Tyrol in Italy, Romania , or the former Soviet Union ; , English; 24, Albanian; 17, Polish; 14, Hungarian; 12, Romanian; 10, Malayali; 7, Arabic; 6, Slovak; 6, Czech; 5, Persian; 5, Italian; 5, Russian; 5, French; 4, Chinese; 4, Spanish; 3, Bulgarian.

The numbers for other languages fall off sharply below 3, In , some of the Austrian states introduced standardised tests for new citizens, to assure their language ability, cultural knowledge and accordingly their ability to integrate into the Austrian society.

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Austrias

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