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Travel & Tourism . Tourist Guide to the Country

Austria History and Culture




History

Settled in prehistoric times, the central European land that is now Austria was overrun in pre-Roman times by various tribes, including the Celts. Thousands of years ago the Celts were the original settlers, mining the area for iron. Romans followed, and then other tribes such as, Huns, Ostrogoths, Lombards, Turks and Bavarians.

After the fall of the Roman Empire, of which Austria was part, the area was invaded by Bavarians and Slavic Avars. Charlemagne conquered the area in C.E. 788 and encouraged colonization and Christianity. In 1252, Ottokar, King of Bohemia, gained possession, only to lose the territories to Rudolf of Hapsburg in 1278. Thereafter, until World War I, Austria's history was largely that of its ruling house, the Hapsburgs. Austria was home of the Habsburgs, the continent's most influential and long-lasting dynasty.

During World War I, Austria-Hungary was one of the Central powers with Germany, Bulgaria, and Turkey, and the conflict left the country in political chaos and economic ruin. Austria, shorn of Hungary, was proclaimed a republic in 1918, and the monarchy was dissolved in 1919.

At the end of World War I, the multiethnic Austro-Hungarian empire was broken up, creating Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Romania, while other territories became parts of Poland, Italy and Yugoslavia. Austria became the small German-speaking country we know today (population: almost 8 million). The country slowly emerged from its imperial past, via an uneasy and unsatisfactory alliance with Germany, to become one of the most highly developed European countries.


Culture
Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, Vienna was a world center of culture, particularly in music and literature. Austrian fine art usually is considered with the art of southern Germany. A distinctive Austrian style, however, is manifested in the refined baroque architecture and sculpture of the 17th and 18th centuries, notably in Vienna, Salzburg, and Melk.


 

Acknowledgements: ASIATRAVELMART.COM








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