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Friday 31st October
Austria Facts
The German name for Austria is Osterreich which means Eastern Empire. This refers to the time when Austria was part of the Holy Roman Empire.

Lamprechtsofen (1,631 metres), in the Leoganger Steinberger area, Salzburg, is one of the deepest caves in the world.

Austria's highest peak is the Grossglockner (3,798 m) - the "great bell".

The Pasterze Glacier, one of Europe's largest glaciers, is in the Austrian Alps.

Fast-flowing Austrian rivers, fed by glaciers, are used to produce hydroelectric power.

Austria's largest natural lake is Lake Neusiedler.

Austria's World Heritage sites include the Ferto/Neusiedler Lake area, the Hallstatt-Dachstein Salzkammergut Cultural Landscape and the Wachau stretch of the Danube Valley.

The Semmering Railway, between Gloggnitz in the State of Lower Austria and Simmering in the State of Styria, was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1998. The railway built over mountains in the mid nineteenth century was one of the greatest civil engineering works of its time.

In 1991 a mummified body from the Stone Age was found in the ice of the Otztal Alps between Austria and Italy. Tattoos, thought to have been for medical purposes (a form of acupuncture), were found on the body.

A goddess statuette, known as the Venus of Willendorf, was discovered near the town of Willendorf in Austria in 1908. The figurine, now in the Natural History Museum in Vienna, was carved from limestone over twenty thousand years ago.

Over one hundred and fifty temples, built between 4800 BC and 4600 BC, have been discovered beneath the countryside and cities of the Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary.

Salt (salz) was mined at Salzburg and Hallstatt from the early Iron Age.

Vienna became the capital in the twelfth century.

In 1192 Leopold V the Austrian ruler held the English king Richard, known as "the Lion Heart", until payment of a ransom.

In the sixteenth century the Austrian Empire included Austria, Belgium, Czecho-slovakia, Hungary, the Netherlands, Spain, Spanish American colonies and parts of Italy and former Yugoslavia.

In 1683 the Polish King, saved Vienna from a Turkish siege. When the Turks left, a large amount of coffee was found in the Turkish supplies. This find led to the first coffee house in Vienna.

Marie-Antoinette, the wife of France's King Louis XVI, was the daughter of Marie Theresa the Habsburg ruler of Austria.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the composer, was born in Salzburg in 1756.

Vienna, the capital of the Austrian Empire, was Europe's musical centre.

Gregor Johann Mendel (1822-1884), the biologist and botanist, established the basis of modern genetics. Mendel was born in Hyncice in the present-day Czech Republic; at the time of Mendel's birth Hyncice was within the Austrian Empire.

Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), the famous psychologist and the forefather of modern-day psychology and psychoanalysis, became professor at the University of Vienna in 1902.

During the early twentieth century Alfred Adler contributed to the foundations of modern psychology.

Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein (1889-1951) was an Austrian philosopher who taught at Trinity College, Cambridge.

The First World War (1914-1918) broke out after the assassination in Sarajevo of Archduke Franz Ferndinand, the Habsburg heir to the Austrian-Hungarian throne.

Adolf Hitler (1889-1945) was born in Braunau am Inn, Austria.

Lotte Lenya, the Austrian singer and actress married Kurt Weill, the well known German composer.

The Sound of Music is based on the true story of the Von Trapp family and their escape from Nazi Austria.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, the famous Hollywood actor, was born in Thal in Austria, close to Graz. In 2003 Schwarzenegger became the thirty-eighth Governor of California in the USA.

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