Austria (German: Österreich), in long form the Republic of Austria (German: Republik Österreich), is a federal state in Central Europe, without access to the sea. Mountainous country, it is surrounded, in the clockwise, through Germany and Czechia to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west.
Austria has been a member of the European Union and the euro area, respectively since 1995 and 1999. Its official language is German, but since the ratification of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, six other languages (Hungarian, Slovenian, Burgenland-Croatian, Czech, Slovak and Romani) are recognized. Its capital and largest city is Vienna.
Austria is one of the states resulting from the dislocation in 1918 of Austria-Hungary. In the past, it has been a major player in European history, at the heart of major political entities such as the Holy Roman Empire, the Habsburg monarchy, the Austrian Empire and the Germanic Confederation. The many temporal trials she has experienced have made this country a great world power. But, since the end of World War II, Austria has adopted a policy of neutrality in international relations.
The first written mention of the name Austria is in the Historia gentis Langobardorum, and dates from the year 796. Österreich means in Old German "the kingdom of the East". Austria has long been the easternmost of the Western countries. A cross with its Latin equivalent, Austria (from the 12th century), gave Austriche in Middle French, then Austria in French.
Österreich is derived from Ostarrichi, first mention of the name of the country on a document which dates from 996. Previously, the country is known under the name of Ostmark "March of the East", created by the Germanic emperor Otto Ier.
The three largest cities are, in order, Vienna, Graz and Linz.
The Alps occupy two thirds of Austria's floor space. The highest point in the country is the Grossglockner, which rises to 3,797 m.
The longest river is the Danube, which also crosses Germany, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova and Ukraine. Its route in Austria stretches over 350 km.
Austria's transport infrastructure is directly linked to its location, on the one hand within the Alps, and on the other hand to its location as a crossroads in the center of central Europe, both from the point of view of road links. as much as rail. The development of communication routes in the Alps requires numerous tunnels and bridges which have the characteristics of having to withstand extreme weather conditions. Due to its central location, Austria is a transit country, mainly for the North-South and North-South-East axes, and since the fall of the Iron Curtain also for the East-West axis. This therefore implies a clear oversizing of communication routes, especially in sensitive ecological areas, often raising protests from the population.
To cope with this difficult combination of interests, both economic and ecological, certain measures have been made necessary, helping to make Austria a country at the forefront of environmental protection. The Alpine Republic, for example, very early on imposed the use of catalytic converters on motor vehicles. Some traffic lanes are only open to trucks with reduced noise pollution. However, various deregulations have led, mainly among certain populations such as those of the Inn Valley, to a feeling of being forgotten by the authorities.