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    Slovakia: Tatra Mountains. Go Now!

    The Tatra Mountains (pictured) form the backdrop of this rural country, whose culture is rooted in this beautiful landscape. Go Now!

  • Bulgaria!

    Bulgaria: An old Turkish bridge. Go Now!

    The isolated mountains of Bulgaria hide cultural gems around every corner, including this old Turkish bridge in the Rhodopi Mountains. Explore Bulgaria!

  • Italy!

    Italy: Rome' historic buildings. Go Now!

    Crumbling buildings in Rome (pictured) only add to the atmosphere in a country where old is redefined and western civilization begins. Explore Italy!

  • Portugal!

    Portugal: Palace of Pena. Go Now!

    Although next to the seas and made famous by trade, Portugal boasts dynamic landscapes and architecture, including the Palace of Pena (pictured) near the town of Sintra. Go to Portugal!

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AustriaThe name Austria is the English version of the name in German, which is Osterreich. This German name is literally translated to mean "eastern empire."



The Austrians have been a model of power, class, and sophistication seemingly forever. However, this status is somewhat short-lived and only defines a small group of Austrians. While the Austrians share many cultural similarities throughout the country, the lifestyle of the people differs greatly from region to region.

With a diverse landscape, the Austrian people have always lived different lifestyles. Those along the Danube River have lived as farmers, while those in the mountains have survived by finding plants, raising animals, and trading with others. In between, lifestyles abound and even today this diversity continues, although perhaps the mountain dwellers occupy their weekend with skiing or hiking and the urbanites spend their time at a club or theater.

Despite the vast lifestyle differences in the past and today, the culture across the people is very similar. The Austrian speak a dialect of German similar to that of Bavaria, while their foods, dress, and religion are also somewhat throughout the country. Catholicism dominates the people and Austrian dishes are incredible popular, including wiener schnitzel and apple desserts. However, there are still sub-cultures with differing foods, clothing, etc.

Through history Austria has led the world in numerous spheres, including many aspects of "high culture." Famous composers and music call the country home, the theater and opera are among the best in the world, and the country has been a stomping ground for many architectural achievements, including being a center of the Baroque movement. This all came with the power of the Hapsburgs, who controlled much of Europe. This was a time when European influence arrived to Austria and Austrian influence spread throughout Europe. It was a time when survival, farming, and raising animals became easier while money and attention shifted to arts, socialization, and technological advancements.

Today Austria remains a leader in numerous fields, but has done so more quietly in recent years. Vienna remains a political center, but few people seem to focus on this as family, friends, and life are more important day to day. The people remain tied together through their culture and history, but spend most of their free time living the lifestyle of their dreams, whether that be in the Alps or in the historic city of Salzburg.

Information for Austria was last updated: March, 2014 ● View our: Sources & Special Thanks