Thursday, January 15, 2009
Austria is a country of startling contrasts, from the Alps in the west to the Danube Basin in the east. One of the world's premier skiing regions, it is also noted for its historical buildings, world-class museums and galleries, and breathtaking mountain scenery.The country's glorious architectural riches include reminders of the once-powerful Hapsburgs, who dominated central Europe for seven centuries. The capital, Vienna, is magnificent with its ornate Opera House and the imperial Hofburg. Austria's other cities are similarly infused with historical magic, notably Mozart's birthplace, Salzburg, with stunning baroque churches set before a backdrop of snow-covered peaks, and Innsbruck, in the centre of Austria's Alps.Austria has produced and inspired a catalogue of cultural figures. During the 17th and 18th centuries, Austria - and, in particular, Vienna - became a focal point of the cultural renaissance. Remnants of Mozart's legacy are everywhere. However, Austria has also yielded people such as artists Klimt and Schiele, composers Mahler and Schubert, psychologists Freud and Rank, and philosophers such as Husserl and Wittgenstein.