GEOGRAPHY I GEOLOGY
Austria covers an area 83 855 km2, extending to a width of approx 560 km from west to east and approx 280 km from north to south. Its landscape is dominated by the Alps. An important role in shaping the mountain and valley landscape, dotted with numerous lakes, the movements of the glaciers played, started around 2,5 min years ago (for more information, see. frame The world of glaciers in the Hohe Tauern National Park chapter). Two-thirds of the country is mountainous with three mountain ranges, running from west to east, which force the majority of travelers in that direction to take strictly defined routes.
The North Nigerian Limestone Alps on the border with Germany reach almost heights 3000 m n.p.m. and extend eastward as far as the Vienna Woods. They are separated by the Inn Valley from the High Alps (Central), where the highest peaks of the country rise. Many of them are covered with glaciers, and most of them are over 3000 m in height. Traveling from north to south over this natural obstacle is limited to a few high mountain passes and road tunnels. The highest mountain in Austria is Grossglockner (3797 m n.p.m.). The Limestone Alps to the south, which cover the Karawanki range, form a natural border with Italy and Slovenia.
The most famous, except the mountains, Austria's geographic peculiarity is the mighty Danube. The Salzach River flows into the Innu near Braunau, and this in turn flows into the Danube in Passau, on the German border. The most important rivers in the south-east are Mura and Drawa. There are also many lakes in this area, especially in the Salzkammergut and Carinthia regions. Lake Neusiedl in the east is the largest steppe lake in Central Europe. In the west, a small part of Lake Constance belongs to Austria, through which the Rhine flows (the rest is in Germany and Switzerland).
The most fertile lands lie in the Danube valley, which is satisfied by intensive cultivation 90% Austria's food needs. North of the Danube, the country is predominantly flat and wooded, this is also the case of Burgenland and the areas southeast of Graz. Lower Austria, Burgenland and Styria are the most important wine growing areas.
Austria is located in the Central European climate zone, only its eastern part is influenced by the continental Pannonian climate, with an average July temperature of around 19 ° C and annual rainfall just below 80 cm. Average rainfall across the country is 71 cm per year, only in the west it can be much more. Although the mountains are often covered with clouds, Rarely is there heavy rainfall in the alpine valleys.
Tourists should be prepared for large temperature fluctuations, which varies with height (the higher, the colder it is). At high altitudes, the sun shines very intensely, and in autumn and winter these areas are more sunlit than the alpine valleys. Some tourists are adversely affected by the phenomena (Fóhn) – warm and dry wind blowing from the mountains, mainly in early spring and fall.
The average highest temperatures in Vienna are: in January 1 ° C, in April 15 ° C, in July 25 ° C and in October 14 ° C. Average minimum temperatures are around 10 ° C lower in summer and 4 ° C lower in winter. The temperatures in Salzburg and Innsbruck are similar to those in Vienna, only in winter it is a few degrees cooler.
The population of Austria is approx 8 min residents, of which 1,64 million live in Vienna. The next largest cities are: Graz (245 thousand), Linz (207 thousand), Salzburg (145 thousand) i Innsbruck (120 thousand). There is an average of one square kilometer 95 residents. Native Austrians are mainly people of Germanic origin. The greatest ethnic diversity is in Vienna and the south-eastern regions of the country. Industrial expansion in the last years of the 19th century. caused an influx of emigrants from Europe, mainly from the Czech-speaking part of the former Habsburg Empire.
In year 2001 in Austria there were approx 713 thousand. foreigners, mainly from Turkey, Polish, German, Czech Republic and Slovakia. In the early years 90., when the number of foreigners approached 600 thousand, fears of "flooding the country with a wave of immigrants."” have reached their apogee (which can also be owed to a cynical one, the anti-foreign policy of the Freedom Party), as a result, the federal government has significantly tightened immigration controls. However, Austria continues to struggle with illegal immigration from Eastern Europe, and the expected enlargement of the European Union (guaranteeing the free movement of people between the Member States) for the countries of this part of the continent, many Austrians are genuinely concerned.
Military service is compulsory (six months plus two months thereafter), although it is possible to serve alternative civil service.
Austrians are among the most educated nations in the world. The school system is uniform throughout the country. Children at the age of six start the nine-year period of compulsory education. At the age of 10, make a choice, starting education or in a four-year Hauptschule, or at the five-year Gymnasium. After the Hauptschule, you can complete a one-year vocational training course or choose an extended education at the Polish technical school level. Pupils of lower secondary school after four years may also choose a school that prepares for an occupation or graduate from lower secondary school at the age of 18 years and try your hand at universities. It works in Austria 13 universities and 6 academy of fine arts, offering over 200 thousand. places for students.