Top 5 things about Austria

Number 1 - History & Heritage

Modern Austria is the German-speaking part of the Austrian (later Austro-Hungarian) Empire ruled by the Habsburg family from 1526 to 1918. The world's largest emerald (2860 carat) is displayed in the Imperial Treasury of the Hofburg (Imperial Palace) in Vienna. Schönbrunn Palace, the summer palace of the Habsburgs, has no less than 1,440 rooms. The oldest zoological garden in the world is the Tiergarten Schönbrunn in Vienna, founded in 1752.

Schönbrunn, Vienna

Number 2 - The significant difference between Austria and Germany

Number 3 - Food

Austrian food is distinctive and delicious, and is traditionally of the stodgy, hearty "meat and dumplings" variety. Wiener Schnitzel (a bread-crumbed and fried veal escalope) is something of a national dish, and Knödel are a kind of dumpling which can be made either sweet or savory according to taste. In Vienna the Tafelspitz (boiled beef with potatoes and horseradish) is traditionally served on Sundays, and is normally accompanied by clear broth with dumplings and herbs. Apart from these, Austria is renowned for its pastries and desserts, the most well-known of which is probably the Apfelstrudel. Additionally, bread is taken seriously in Austria. Almost every village has its own bakery, offering a large choice of freshly baked sweet and savoury rolls daily from 6am. Rye bread (Vollkornbrot, Bauernbrot) is the traditional staple food among peasants. If this is too heavy for you, try the common white bread roll (Semmel). Somewhat surprisingly, it is easier to find good bread outside of Vienna, where the baking industry hasn't yet come to be dominated by industrial scale chain shops.

Wiener Schnitzel

Number 4 - Land & Nature

62% of Austria's total land area is covered by the Austrian Alps. About one fourth of the population of Austria lives in the capital, Vienna. Europe's second highest peak in order of prominence, Großglockner (3,798m, with a prominence of 2,423m) is located in Austria. Austria has 13 peaks above 3,000 metres, and 34 above 2,000 metres.

Alps in Austria

Number 5 - Attractions for visitors

The magnificent South Tower, which alone took 65 years to build, is to this day the highest point in the skyline of Vienna’s inner city. Climb the 343 steps of the tight spiral staircase that leads up to the watchman's lookout 246 feet above street level. The lookout was once used as a fire warden's station and observation point for the defense of the then-walled city. The climb is well worth it: Once at the top, you’ll enjoy the finest view over the Old Town in all of Vienna.

St. Stephen's Cathedral

Credits:

Created with images by ChristianGeorg - "austria flag grossglockner" • max.pfandl - "Schönbrunn Weihnachtsmarkt" • Jen SFO-BCN - "Wiener Schnitzel!" • Pezibear - "landscape mountains alpine meadows" • p_a_h - "Stephansdom"

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