The Republic of Austria is a country in Central Europe. Most of the territory lies within the Alps, the highest point is the Grossglockner at 3800 m.
Neanderthals roamed Central Europe long before modern humans arrived some 45.000 years ago. A famous artefact from that time is the Venus of Willendorf.
Austria's history is intimately related to the Habsburg dynasty that ruled from the 11th century until 1918 when the country became a democratic republic.
Austria, with Vienna at its center, had a huge influence on European culture with composers like Beethoven, Haydn, Liszt, Strauss jr.+sr. and of course Mozart.
But also in science the country played a major role with Lorentz, Boltzmann and Freud.
A dark interlude was the 1938 Anschluss when Austria was forced to join Nazi Germany, much to the pleasure of the population. The Jews were forced out and those that remained became victims of the Holocaust.
After the war the Republic of Austria was restored and today Austria is a wealthy country in the EU with the Euro as currency. But populism, nationalism and even neo-Nazism simmer just below the surface, as highlighted by the recent immigration crisis.
Wintersports are very popular and draw a lot of tourists to the snowy ski-pistes and the after-ski parties..
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