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Austria Country Profile: The Charming Capital of Classical Music

Updated: Jun 13, 2022

Austria Classical Music Vienna

The next destination in our country profile series is the wonderful Alpine state of Austria or Österreich, as it is known in its mother tongue. It has been heavily regarded as the birthplace of Classical Music and is almost entirely covered by the Austrian Alps. Surrounded by an enormous 8 different countries, Austria is landlocked and has no access to the sea. So while you won't want to visit the country for a beach holiday, there are plenty of other reasons why you might.

One reason you might want to visit is because of its breathtaking cities; Vienna, Graz and Salzburg, to name a few. The latter being the birthplace of Mozart and the former being where Ludwig van Beethoven lived most of his life. For 47 years, Sigmund Freud also lived in the capital Vienna. It is here that he founded psychoanalysis, the study of mental illness. The country is also the birthplace of Arnold Schwarzenegger, the greatest bodybuilder of all time, and (who they won't want to be reminded of) Adolf Hitler the brutal Nazi dictator.

Key information

Capital city: Vienna

Population: 9 million

Second largest city: Graz

Language(s) spoken: German

Currency: Euro

Head of Government: Alexander Van der Bellen

Austrian landmarks you cannot miss:

1. Schönbrunn Palace

Schonbrunn Palace Vienna Austria

The Palace is the country's most popular landmark for a reason, as well as being a certified UNESCO World Heritage Site. Schönbrunn Palace is where the Habsburgs, the Austrian Royal Family, have resided since 1569 and is truly a spectacular building. Its Baroque architecture, vibrant colours, well-maintained gardens and huge size make it one of the most beautiful palaces in Europe. It boasts a ridiculous 1,441 rooms which is almost double that of Buckingham Palace in London. If you think that's crazy, Schönbrunn isn't even the biggest Palace in Vienna, the Hofburg is, which has an even crazier 2600 rooms.

2. Vienna State Opera

Vienna State Opera at Night

As Austria is the birthplace of Classical music, it would only make sense to tell you about the Vienna State Opera. The original building was opened on the 25th May 1869 after 8 years of construction. It was restored in 1955 after being destroyed during WWII, and can seat just over 1700 people. Visit the Opera House now to hear wonderful performances from the works of Mozart, Van Beethoven and Richard Wagner.

3. Mozart's Birthplace

Mozart Statue, Mozart's Birthplace Salzburg Austria

A visit to the birthplace of one of the country's most famous people, Mozart, should definitely be on your list of things to see in Salzburg. On 27 September 1756, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born on the third floor of the building, where he would then live for 26 years until he moved to Vienna. The whole building was converted in 1880 to a museum that depicts the composer's early life. Since its opening, it is one of the world's most popular museums.

History of Austria Timeline

1273- Habsburg dynasty begins as Rudolf I becomes the King of Germany

1282- The Habsburgs take control of the Duchy of Austria

1686- The Great Siege of Buda. The Austrians took Buda, Hungary, from the Ottoman Empire and annexed the country

1756- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the famous composer was born in Salzburg

1792- During the French Revolutionary Wars, the Austrians are beaten by the French at the Battle of Jemappes

1795- Ludwig Van Beethoven has his first performance, as a pianist, in Vienna

1796- Napoleon beats the Austrians twice, at Millesimo, Italy and Lodi Bridge

1804- The Austrian Empire is formed after Francis II declares himself emperor

1805- French forces seize Vienna after the Battle of Austerlitz on 2nd December. They defeated the allied Russian and Austrian forces

1815- The Congress of Vienna ended. Negotiations were finalised to rearrange Europe following the defeat of Napoleon

1825- Johann Strauss, another major Austrian composer, was born

1856- Sigmund Freud, inventor of psychoanalysis, was born

1867- Austria-Hungary is formed after the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867

1869- The original Vienna Opera House was opened

1889- On 20th April, Adolf Hitler the brutal Nazi Dictator was born in Braunau am Inn.

1908- Austria-Hungary annexed Bosnia and Herzegovina

1914- Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo, this event would mark the beginning of World War One

1918- Austria-Hungary is dissolved after their defeat in World War One

1919- The new Austria and its boundaries were formed after the signing of the Treaty of St Germain

1938- The Anschluss: Austria annexed into Nazi Germany by Hitler

1945- World War Two: Austria becomes occupied by the Allied Forces

1955- Austria joins the United Nations

1995- Austria joins the EU, alongside Finland and Sweden

1999- The country officially adopts the Euro, becoming one of the first countries to do so

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