Austria was Celtic (Hallstadt) then as Noricum, part of the Roman Empire, Alaric, who took over Rome, studied at a monastery near Vienna. In the Middle Ages, the Holy Roman Emperors moved to Vienna, then Austria became separate. Medieval documents from Eastern Europe as far as West Ukraine were often in German, and referred to Vienna, showing its influence well before the Austrian Empire. After the first World War, Austria became a small country, under 10 million population, but including the world's then 4th largest city. 'A big head on a small body' they said. In 1938 Hitler invaded his home country and imposed Naziism. Vienna was then the World's largest Jewish centre, many famous people, eg. Sigmund Freud, had to leave. After 1948, Vienna declined as the 'iron curtain' cut eastern Austria off from its natural hinterland.

Austria is a long country, mainly Alpine, with a lot of its population concentrated in the Danube valley in the East near Vienna- which is less than 40 miles from Bratislava, the Slovak capital. Many musicians lived and died in Vienna eg. Mozart, Strauss, Beethoven, Vivaldi. Vienna's also known for history, cafes, coffee, art, architecture, world's wealthiest city, also rated the best city to live in, one of the world's fastest growing- regaining its status as the focus of Eastern Europe. UN rates many of its features as World's best or close- art galleries, museums, orchestras, etc. Other cities are Graz, Linz, Salzburg, Innsbruck. Austria has many nature reserves, tries to be environmentally friendly. It exports quality food, (has 18,500 organic farms!) mach coffee, machinery, cars, wine and tourism is a big industry.

Contributors: Bertholdi

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