Although Austria is rarely in the headlines these days, it was once part of a dominant European power. Following is an overview of this postcard country. An Overview of Austria for Travelers With its prime location in mainland Europe, Austria was a major player in economic, military and political terms when it was known as the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Alas, this role was significantly diminished after World War I when victorious allies divided the empire. A much smaller Austria came onto the scene and has developed into an ideal travel and relocation destination. Famous Austrians dot the historical record. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Ludwig van Beethoven were mavericks in music. In psychology, a certain Sigmund Freud made just a slight impact. Currently, the Governator, Arnold Schwarzenegger, was born in Austria. The official name of the country is Republic of Austria. It covers a relatively small area of land, 32,000 square miles. The capital is beautiful Vienna, which has a population of just over 1.6 million people. Other cities of note include Salzburg and Innsbruck which has hosted a winter Olympics. The country is predominantly a mountainous one and has a climate categorized as continental with plenty of rain and snowfall. Summers in the mountains of Austria are simply dazzling. You can pull up pictures on the Internet or simply watch the movie, The Sound of Music. The people of Austria are known as “Austrians.” The total population for the country is just over 8 million people, and barely growing each year at a rate of .4 percent. The ethnicity of Austrians breaks down as 98 percent German with a mix of neighboring country natives mixed in. The dominant language is German. Roman Catholic is the faith of 73 percent of Austrians although 12 percent claim no religion at all. The literacy rate in this well-developed country is 98 percent. Life expectancy for women is 81.7 years while men average 75.9. As this overview of Austria demonstrates, the country has seen all sides of the power ledger. Regardless, Austria is a beautiful country with a rich cultural heritage and is definitely worth a visit.