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Austria - Land Of Research


Austria, officially the Republic of Austria, is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west. The territory of Austria covers 83,855 square kilometers (32,377 sq mi) and has a temperate and alpine climate. Austria's terrain is highly mountainous due to the presence of the Alps; only 32% of the country is below 500 meters (1,640 ft), and its highest point is 3,798 meters (12,461 ft). The majority of the population speaks German,which is also the country's official language. Other local official languages are Croatian, Hungarian and Slovene.

The origins of Austria today date back to the time of the Hapsburg dynasty as a part of the Holy Roman Empire of German Nation; Austria became one of the great powers of Europe. In 1867, the Austrian Empire was reformed into Austria-Hungary. The Hapsburg (Austro-Hungarian) Empire collapsed in 1918 with the end of World War I, Austria used the name German Austria in attempt for union with Germany but was forbid due to the Treaty of Saint Germain. The First Austrian Republic was established in 1919. In the 1938 Anschluss, Austria was occupied and annexed by Nazi Germany. This lasted until the end of World War II in 1945, after which Nazi Germany was occupied by the Allies and Austria's former democratic constitution was restored. In 1955, the Austrian State Treaty re-established Austria as a sovereign state, ending the occupation. In the same year, the Austrian Parliament created the Declaration of Neutrality which declared that the Second Austrian Republic would become permanently neutral.

Today, Austria is a parliamentary representative democracy comprising nine federal states.The capital and largest city, with a population exceeding 1.6 million, is Vienna. Austria is one of the richest countries in the world, with a nominal per capita GDP of $43,723 (2010 est.). The country has developed a high standard of living and in 2010 was ranked 25th in the world for its Human Development Index. Austria has been a member of the United Nations since 1955, joined the European Union in 1995,and is a founder of the OECD. Austria also signed the Schengen Agreement in 1995, and adopted the European currency, the euro, in 1999.

Geography



Austria is a largely mountainous country due to its location in the Alps.The Central Eastern Alps, Northern Limestone Alps and Southern Limestone Alps are all partly in Austria. Of the total area of Austria (84,000 km2 or 32,433 sq mi), only about a quarter can be considered low lying, and only 32% of the country is below 500 metres (1,640 ft). The Alps of western Austria give way somewhat into low lands and plains in the eastern part of the country.

It can be divided into five areas, the biggest being the Eastern Alps, which constitute 62% of nation's total area. The Austrian foothills at the base of the Alps and the Carpathians account for around 12% and the foothills in the east and areas surrounding the periphery of the Pannoni low country amount to about 12% of the total landmass. The second greater mountain area (much lower than the Alps) is situated in the north. Known as the Austrian granite plateau, it is located in the central area of the Bohemian Mass and accounts for 10% of Austria. The Austrian portion of the Vienna basin comprises the remaining 4%.

Climate


The greater part of Austria lies in the cool/temperate climate zone in which humid westerly winds predominate. With over half of the country dominated by the Alps, the alpine climate is the predominant one. In the east—in the Pannonian Plain and along the Danube valley—the climate shows continental features with less rain than the alpine areas. Although Austria is cold in the winter (−10 – 0 °C), summer temperatures can be relatively warm, with average temperatures in the mid-20s and record temperatures in the mid to high 30s° C(68°Fahrenheit).

Demographics



Austria's population estimate in January 2011 was 8,404,252.The population of the capital, Vienna, exceeds 1.6 million(2.2 million including the suburbs), representing about a quarter of the country's population. It is known for its vast cultural offerings and high standard of living.

Vienna is by far the country's largest city. Graz is second in size, with 250,099 inhabitants, followed by Linz (188,968), Salzburg (150,000), and Innsbruck (117,346). All other cities have fewer than 100,000 inhabitants.

Language

German, Austria's official language, is spoken natively by 88.6% of the population—followed by Turkish (2.3%), Serbian (2.2%), Croatian (1.6%), Hungarian (0.5%), Bosnian (0.4%) and Slovenian (0.3%).

According to census information published by Statistik Austria for 2001 there were a total of 710,926 foreign nationals living in Austria. Of these, 124,392 speak German as their mother tongue (mainly immigrants from Germany, some from Switzerland and South Tyrol, Italy). The next largest populations of linguistic and ethnic groups are 283,334 foreign nationals from the former Yugoslavia (of whom 135,376 speak Serbian; 105,487 Croatian; 31.551 Bosnian; 6,902 Slovenian and 4,018 Macedonian); 123,417 speak Turkish; 25,155 English; 24,446 Albanian; 17,899 Polish; 14,699 Hungarian; 12,216 Romanian; 7,982 Arabic; 6,891 Slovak; 6,707 Czech; 5,916 Persian; 5,677 Italian; 5,466 Russian; 5,213 French; 4,938 Chinese; 4,264 Spanish; 3,503 Bulgarian. The populations of the rest fall off sharply below 3,000. Between 200,000 and 300,000 ethnic Turks (including minority of Turkish Kurds) currently live in Austria. They are the largest single immigrant group in Austria, closely followed by the Serbs.

Religion

At the end of the 20th century, about 74% of Austria's population were registered as Roman Catholic,while about 5% considered themselves Protestants. Since the second half of the 20th century, the number of adherents and churchgoers has started declining. Data for the end of 2005 from the Austrian Roman Catholic church lists 5,662,782 members, or 68.5% of the total Austrian population, and a Sunday church attendance of 753,701 or 9% of the total Austrian population. Data for the end of 2008 published by the Austrian Roman Catholic church shows a further reduction to 5,579,493 members or 66.8% of the total Austrian population, and a Sunday church attendance of 698,527 or 8% of the total Austrian population.

About 12% of the population declared that they have no religion. in 2001. Of the remaining people, around 340,000 are registered as members of various Muslim communities, mainly due to the influx from Turkey, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo. About 180,000 are members of Orthodox Churches (mostly Serbs), more than 20,000 are active Jehovah's Witnesses and about 8,100 are Jewish.

Education

Responsibility for educational in Austria is entrusted partly to the Austrian states (Bundesländer) and partly to the federal government. School attendance is compulsory for nine years, i.e. usually to the age of fifteen.

Kindergarten education, free in most states, is provided for all children between the ages of three and six years and, whilst optional, is considered a normal part of a child's education, due to its high take up rate. Maximum class size is around 30, each class normally being cared for by one qualified teacher and one assistant. Standard attendance times are 8 am to 12 am, with extra afternoon care also frequently provided for a fee.

Primary education, or Volksschule, lasts for four years, starting at age six. Maximum class size is 30, but may be as low as 15. It is generally expected that a class will be taught by one teacher for the entire four years and the stable bond between teacher and pupil is considered important for a child's well-being. The so called "3Rs"(Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic) dominate lesson time, with less time allotted to project work than in the UK. Children work individually and all members of a class follow the same plan of work. There is no streaming. Lessons begin at 8 am and last until noon or 1 pm with hourly five- or ten-minute breaks. Children are given homework daily from the first year. Historically there has been no lunch hour, with children returning home to eat. However, due to a rise in the number of mothers in work, primary schools are increasingly offering pre-lesson and afternoon care. As in Germany, secondary education consists of two main types of schools, attendance at which is based on a pupil's ability as determined by grades from the primary school. The Gymnasium caters for the more able children, in the final year of which the Matura examination is taken, which is a requirement for access to university. The Hauptschule prepares pupils for vocational education but also for various types of further education (Höhere Technische Lehranstalt HTL = institution of higher technical education; HAK = commercial academy; HBLA = institution of higher education for economic business; etc.). Attendance at one of these further education institutes also leads to the Matura. Some schools aim to combine the education available at the Gymnasium and the Hauptschule, and are known as Gesamtschulen. In addition, a recognition of the importance of learning English has led some Gymnasiums to offer a bilingual stream, in which pupils deemed able in languages follow a modified curriculum, a portion of the lesson time being conducted in English.

The Austrian university system had been open to any student who passed the Matura examination until recently. A 2006 bill allowed the introduction of entrance exams for studies such as Medicine. In 2001, an obligatory tuition fee ("Studienbeitrag") of €363.36 per term was introduced for all public universities. Since 2008, for all EU students the studies have been free of charge, as long as a certain time-limit is not exceeded (the expected duration of the study plus usually two terms tolerance). When the time-limit is exceeded, the fee of around €363.36 per term is charged. Some further exceptions to the fee apply, e.g. for students with a year's salary of more than about €5000. In all cases, an obligatory fee of €15.50 for the student union and insurance is charged

Miss World Austria 2012:

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-RXmWth_UQnY/T_coGKFtMZI/AAAAAAAAjDs/TGkEPo9T9lg/s1600/amina-dagi-miss-austria-world-2012-11.jpg 

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