The history of civilization in Austria dates as far back as prehistoric times when it provided homes for various tribes from different parts of Europe. The Celts arrived around 450 BC, settling on the fertile lands of the Danube River. A kingdom known as Noricum developed that spread from Tyrol to the eastern edge of the Alps. This kingdom was made up of both Celts and the Illyrian people who had come to Austria from the Balkan Region.
The next great empire in Austria was the Roman Empire which began to establish administrative regions and fortresses around 15 BC. Various groups including the Germanic Alemanni, the Slavs and the Bavarians invaded Austria following the collapse of the Roman Empire. By the 7th century, the Bavarians were the most successful of the groups and created a large German-speaking state.
The 11th century witnessed the rise in power of the Battenberg family. Once owners of a small part of the country, they were successful in expanding to take over much of present-day Austria. When the Battenberg family’s power began to wain in the 13th century, it was the House of Habsburg who stepped in. This family remained in power in Austria until the end of the First World War.
Early in the 19th century, Napoleon embarked on his crusade through Europe and Austria was no exception. The Habsburgs however survived and the Biedermeier period began. This time in Austria was one of great cultural expression and development. Many artists, writers and musicians flourished in Austria during this period.
During the middle of the 19th century, the famous Austro-Hungarian Empire came into existence combining German, Serbian, Czech and other lands into one central power. This union was known as “KuK”, which stood for the King and Kaiser monarchy as the Kaiser of Austria was now the King of Hungary. Despite a dual monarch, the countries developed separately and the empire fell after the First World War which also dissolved the monarchy.
In March 1938, Hitler returned to the home of his birth when he invaded Austria, retaining control until 1945. The occupation and annexation of Austria, commonly referred to as the Anschluss, was one of the first major steps that Hitler took to create a Greater German Reich. Austria’s Jewish population suffered greatly under Hitler and some 65,000 Jewish people died in concentration camps. When the war ended, Austria became a republic and declared its intentions to remain a predominantly neutral country. This second republic proved to be a peaceful time for Austria and the economy began to recover from the World Wars.
Today Austria is famous for its cultural experiences and incredible landscapes. The home of Mozart is still known for its classical music and amazing choirs while stunning architecture, museums and galleries abound. The Alps, one of the country’s best-known features, provides year-round attractions with several winter sports and excellent hiking in the summer. More than just the backdrop for The Sound of Music, Austria is an incredible destination waiting to be explored.
Austria Travel Information
At Goway we believe that a well-informed traveller is a safer traveller. With this in mind, we have compiled an easy-to-navigate travel information section dedicated to Austria.
Learn about the history and culture of Austria, the must-try food and drink, and what to pack in your suitcase. Read about Austria's nature and wildlife, weather and geography, along with 'Country Quickfacts' compiled by our travel experts. Our globetrotting tips, as well as our visa and health information, will help ensure you're properly prepared for a safe and enjoyable trip. The only way you could possibly learn more is by embarking on your journey and discovering Austria for yourself. Start exploring… book one of our Austria tours today!
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