officially Republic of Austria, federal republic (1995 est. pop.
7,987,000), 32,374 sq mi (83,849 sq km), central Europe. It is bounded
by Slovenia and Italy (S), Switzerland and Liechtenstein (W), Germany
and the Czech Republic (N), and Slovakia and Austria (E). Its capital
and by far its largest city is Vienna.
The Alps traverse Austria from west to east and occupy three fourths
of the country. The highest peak in Austria is the Grossglockner
(12,460 ft/3,798 m) in the Hohe Tauern group. The scenic beauty
of Tyrol, the Salzkammergut, Innsbruck, the Austrian Alps, Kärnten,
and Salzburg city, and the attractions of Vienna and other cultural
centers have made Austria a major European tourist center. The country
is drained by the Danube River and its tributaries, the Inn, the
Enns, the Mürz, and the Mur.
Its nine provinces (Ger. Bundesländer) are Vorarlberg, Tyrol,
Salzburg, Carinthia, Styria, Upper Austria, Lower Austria, Burgenland,
and Vienna. German-speaking, over 99% of Austrians are of Germanic
ethnic origin, and some 78% are Roman Catholics. Since 1945, Austria
has received nearly 2 million refugees from elsewhere in Europe,
though many of these continued on to other destinations. In 1996
about 300,000 of the nation's workforce were foreign laborers. There
are universities in Vienna, Salzburg, Innsbruck, Graz, Klagenfurt,
Leoben, and Krems an der Donau.