Austria, a small landlocked Alpine nation in Central Europe is one of Europe’s most visited destinations. Stunning natural landscapes and cities with old European charm attract visitors to the country from all corners of the globe. Despite its small size, Austria has played a major role in shaping European history and culture. Some of the most interesting facts associated with Austria have been mentioned below.
Austria Has The World’s Largest Ice Cave
The Eisriesenwelt is a limestone and ice cave located in the Hochkogel mountain in Werfen, Austria. It is the world’s largest ice cave and is over 42 km long. The Eisriesenwelt was formed by the erosive action of the Salzach River. Snow thawing from the glaciers around the cave drained into it and froze in the winter to result in the ice formations. Today, over 2 million tourists visit the site each year.
In 1788, The Austrian Army Defeated Itself
During the Austro-Turkish War, a drunken brawl and mistaken identity led to a massive loss for Austria. When the Ottoman army arrived in Karansebes on September 1788 they found victory awaiting them. They saw no need to engage in battle as the Austrian army had fought against each, killing their men, and leaving no one to defend the town against the Ottomans.
Austria Is The Land Of Music
During the 18th and 19th centuries, Vienna was the European capital of classical music and an important hub of musical innovation. The patronage of the Habsburgs, the then royals of Austria, allowed top musicians from other parts of Europe to practice their art in the country. Legendary musicians like Mozart, Beethoven, Joseph Haydn, Johann Strauss II, and others are all associated with Vienna.
The “Sound Of Music” Was Filmed In Austria
Austria’s association with music does not end here. The biggest grossing musical of all time, “The Sound of Music” was filmed in Austria. The film was released on March 2, 1965. Millions across the globe watched the film whose stunning scenery, family values, and music captivated all hearts. Since the release of the film Salzburg became a top tourist destination and even today, thousands of “The Sound of Music” fans continue to visit the filming locations of the film in Austria.
Mountains Dominate The Landscape Of Austria
Only 32% of Austria is below 500 m and only one-quarter of the nation can be considered low lying. Austria is a highly mountainous country. It is located within the Alps and includes most of Northern and Southern Limestone Alps and the Central Eastern Alps. The highest point in the country is at an elevation of 3,798 m.
Austria Is An Anti-Nuclear Country
Austria is one of the world’s few countries that do not support nuclear power development. The country has no nuclear power stations and remains opposed to nuclear power.
The World’s Oldest Surviving Zoo Is In Austria
Opened on July 31, 1752, the Tiergarten Schönbrunn is the oldest continually operating zoo in Austria. It is located on the grounds of the Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna. This zoo is regarded as a scientifically administered zoo where the primary purpose is the conservation of species and the creation of awareness about the need for such conservation.
Austria Has The Oldest Surviving Restaurant In Europe
First mentioned in a 9th-century document by a scholar, St. Peter’s Stiftskelle is believed to be Europe’s oldest documented restaurant. However, for some time in its history, the restaurant was forced to close down due to Napoleon’s invasion and reopened later. This restaurant is located in St Peter's Abbey in Salzburg. It has eleven distinct dining rooms with the most recent one dating to the 17th century. The oldest of these rooms are carved into stone cliffs. Over the centuries, the St. Peter’s Stiftskelle has hosted many dignitaries including members of various royal families.
Austria Is A Winter Sport Paradise
With over 400 ski resorts, Austria is a dream destination for those in love with winter sports. Tirol in the country offers the best skiing opportunity. The country has a huge variety of facilities and attractions for visitors of all kinds. Safety is of topmost concern in the country and hence, the ski resorts are required to maintain high technical standards on their facilities.
Austria Is Often Regarded As The Birthplace Of Waltz
Waltz, a beautiful and graceful dance form performed in ballrooms today traces its roots in similar dances performed centuries back in the countryside and later the royal courts of Austria. By the 16th century, this gliding dance form had become popular in most of Europe.