Austrian Facts

A wealth of finds of the Illyrians and the Celts from the Hallstatt period (800-400 BC) and the following La-Tène period as well as finds from Roman times (15 BC - 500 AD)can be seen in the museums.
Many churches were built in Salzburg in the Romanticism period but only a few remains are left (St.Pter´s Abbey and the Franciscan church).
From medieval times we can still find frescos in the Nonnberg monastery.
St.Peter´s Abbey was centre of illuminations, many of them can bee seen in the
national library in Vienna.
During the Gothic perion again many churches were built.
Gothic glass paintings can be seen in St Lenhard´s church in Tamsweg in the
and Nonnberg monastery. The many carved altars (e.g. St.Leonhard´s church)
found in Salzburg are true masterpieces. Important Gothic painters are Conrad Laib and Rueland Frueauf, but also Wolf Huber and Albrecht Altdorfer painted in Salzburg.
From the Renaissance period almost nothing has remained.
In the time during Renaissance and Baroque Hellbrunn castle with its beautiful murals and gardens was built in mannerism style.
The most productive area as far as art is conscerned was the Baroque period; beside early Baroque churches we find masterpieces of the famous Austrian architects Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach (Kollegienkirche, Dreifaltigkeitskirche and Castle Kleßheim) and Johann Lukas von Hildebrandt (Mirabell castle).
Many works from the period of early Classicism, mainly by Wolfgang and
Johann Baptist Hagenauer (parsh churches of Hallein and Böckstein), can be found in Salzburg.
Examples of Historism (19th century, from new Gothic to late Baroque) are Castle Anif (Tudor Gothic) and the parish churche of Badgastein, by Friedrich von Schmidt and the parish church of St.Johann im Pongau, both new Gothic style.


The area of the northern edge of the Alps, the region of the city of Salzburg,
the Flachgau and the Salzkammergut region, has a very humid climate.
The westerly and northwesterly winds found mainly in Central Europe move
Atlantic air masses towards Austria which collect at the edge of the Alps.
This leads to cloud formations and consequently to precipitations.
Average precipitation in Salzburg city is 1286mm, falling on an average 184 days, mainly in summer. So no wonder Salzburg has its very own rain, the "Salzburger Schnürlregen".
Typical of the lower regions are mild winters and moderately warm summers
(average yearly teperature in Salzburg is 12° C, highest average temp. in June 18°C, in January -2°C).
Towards the centre of the Alps precipitation drops to average Central European level.
In summer precipitation falls as heavy showers and during thunderstorms.
In autumn and winter the mountaintops and peaks show clearly more sunshine and
clearer air (excellent clear view)than the valleys,-this is particularly true for valleys leading out of the Alps which are often covered with a thick blanket of fog.
Zell am See, for example, has an average of 50-65 hours of sunshine in January/February,
the mountain station on the Schmittenhöhe about 100.
In basins and closed valleys the cold air gathers and cools off even further, while the higher lying layers of air are warmed by the sun. The result is a sudden drop in temperature (normally the temperature drops about 1°C per 200m).
A special wind found in the Alps is the Foehn, a warm and heavy wind falling
from the north side of the Alps.


In the Hohe Tauern mountains alone live approx. 10,000 different types of
animals. Some species even live on the glaciers. The most famous species are
the Alpine ibex and the timid, but quick chamois. Its habitats are especially
the upper edge of the forest and the rock faces. There are only few golden
eagles and griffon vultures left. The bearded vulture, which lived here in
former times, gets introduced once again. The marmot that has its habitat in
the high mountains (1300 m -2700 m) can´t be found very often. In dangerous
situations it whistles and disappears in caves in the soil where it also
Especially in the twilight and when it is raining the alpine salamander can be
observed. Still at an altitude of 3000m the snow mouse and the snowbird can be
found. The snowbird even hatches the eggs here. Insects live on the glaciers,


According to the different levels of altitude, there are also different zones
of vegetation between the northern edge of the Alps (400 to 600 m) and the high
mountain area of the Hohe Tauern. There, some summits are higher than 3000 m.
The Alpine foothills are a region of agricultural use. The forests were replaced
by meadows and fields. Especially in the upper region of the Alpine foothills
one can still find some forests. In the so called sub-Alpine mixed woodland grow
not only beech trees and firs, but also Scotch elms, yews, maples etc. (this
woodland has been often replaced by spruce forests).
Between the altitudes of 600 m and 1600 m there is woodland where spruces, beech
trees, larches and pine trees can be found,
At the upper edge of the forest especially spruces and larchs are growing. In
the Hohe Tauern mountains high alpine stone pines can be found. The mountain
pine is typical for the chalkey plateaus.
Beyond the upper edge of the forest, the Alpine pastures begin (1500 - 2300 m).
Here a typical Alpine flora is growing: arnica, all types of gentians, globle
flower etc. Here only few stone pines, mountain pines and larchs can be seen.
Also an Alpine heath is found: heahter, blueberry, cranberry, lichens and
especially the red Alpine rose.
In the rocky area (2300 - 2700 m) there grow not only moss and lichens, but
also some other plants like the edelweiss . The glacier buttercup can be still
found at altitudes of 2000 - 4000 m and is therefore the highest flowering
plant in Europe.
On Alpine terraces also moors exist. Cotton grasses, heather and dwarf Arctic
birches are characteristic of this biotope.


The Salzburg province covers a surface of 7,154 km2, which makes it the sixth-
largest of Austria´s nine provinces (8.5 % of the national territory).
Salzburg owes its name to rich salt deposits ("white gold"), which created its
wealth in medieval times.
Salzburg borders Germany in the northeast, Upper Austria in the north and
northeast, Styria in the southeast, Carinthia and East Tirol in the South, Italy
along a few kilometers and Tirol in the southwest.
Almost a third (144,000) of the about 495,000 inhabitants of Salzburg province
live in the regional capital Salzburg. Salzburg province consists of the city
of Salzburg with its own statute and the five political districts Hallein,
Salzburg-surroundings, St. Johann im Pongau, Tamsweg and Zell am Ziller as well
as 119 municipalities, among which besides the city of Salzburg 3 town and
29 market municipalities.
Today´s administrative organization follows the historical natural division of
the landscape: the Flachgau in the north (Salzburg-surroundings and the city of
Salzburg) comprises the Alpine foothills and a part of the Salzkammergut; the
Tennengau (Hallein) follows in the south; the Pongau (St. Johann im Pongau)
consists of the middle Salzach and upper Enns valleys; in the southwest lies
the Pinzgau (Zell am See), the biggest district in terms of surface, which is
divided into the Mittelpinzgau (Zell am See until Unken) and Unterpinzgau (Bruck
until Lend); finally the Lungau (Tamsweg) in the southeast.
The main river is the Salzach, which runs in a deep-cleft longitudinal valley
from the west to the east before turning to the north in a marked knee-shaped
The most important tributary is the Saalach river.
Together with the provinces Carinthia and Tirol, Salzburg created the national
park Hohe Tauern in order to protect a unique landscape.


The province of Salzburg offers a whole palette of geological landscapes:
the relatively flat Alpine foothills, the precipitous limestone Alps and the glacier-covered main Alpine crest of the Hohe Tauern Range.
The wide basin of Salzburg was produced by the Salzachtal glacier.
To the north and the east lie the fan-like moraines of a glacier from the ice-age.
The basins between these hills are filled with clear blue lakes (Wallersee, Mattsee and Obertrumer See), wild moors and lush fields. To the east rise the mountains of the Salzkammergut,
where you find the Fuschl lake and the famous Wolfgangsee lake.
To the south the Salzach cuts its way through the limestone Alps, forming a valley between the Berchtesgaden mass and the Hagenberg range to the west and the Osterhorn and the Tennen range to the east.
The limestone Alps are made of mighty layers of carbonite, here you find large deposit of salt, for example on the Dürnberg mountain near Hallein (the mine was closed in 1989).
To the west lie the Hochkönig, the Steinernes Meer (stone sea), and the Loferer
and Leogang mountains, all part of the limestone Alps.
The slate Alps (Kitzböhel Alps), softer and greener than the steep limestone
walls of the Karst plateau are found between the limestone Alps and the Salzach valley.
South of the river Salzach we find Salzburg´s highest peak, the Grossglockner (3674), situated in the Hohe Tauern, a range of the Central Alps, formed by gneiss and slate.
In the Tauern valleys, carved out by glaciers in the ice-age, rivers fall down over steep cuesta scarps (Krimmler waterfalls) or have cut out deep gorges Lichtenstein gorge and Kitzloch gorge).


Due to its copper deposits in Mühlbach and Bischofshofen Salzburg was
centre of east Alpine copper production during the Bronze Age (1900-900 BC).
From 800 BC onwards salt mining on the Dürnberg mountain near Hallein
formed the economic basis of the Celts who had settled in this area.
In 1 BC the settlement Iuvavum belonged to the Celtic kingdom of Noricum.
During Roman times (15 BC - 500 AD)Iuvavum (Salzburg), situated at major transit routes, was capital of a political district.
In 6 AD the Bavarians started to move into this region.
In 696 St.Rupert founded a monastery and so created the new bishopric and
city of Salzburg. Thus began the conversion to Catholizism in the Alpine region. began.
The diocese founded in 739 developped into the leading centre of art and culture
in the southeastern Alps.
Rich donations of land which Salzburg received by Bavarian dukes and nobles made the bishopric an independent political unit within the Holy Roman Empire.
In 1803 the last archbishop fled from the troops of Napoleon.
After about 100 years Salzburg was secularized.
After the Congress of Vienna in 1816 Salburg became part of Austria,
subordinated to Upper Austria. In 1850 Salzburg finally became
an independant crownland of the Austrian Empire and an economic and cultural
upturn began.
In 1920 Salzburg became a federal country of the newly founded
Republic of Austria. After the German invasion in 1938 the country became Reichsgau of the German Reich, after the war Salzburg remained ocuupied by the allied powers until 1955.


In the 5th century AD various tribes, mainly from Bohemia, settled in the region
of the Alpine foothill sand melted into one single tribe, the Bavarians. During the 6th century they moved into the Flachgau region and into the fertile Saalfelden basin where they met tribes of Celtic and Roman origin
who became part of the tribe. In the centuries to follow the tribe spread out into the south of the Salzburg basin and into the Pinzgau and Pongau region.
The Lungau, which was then settled by Slavonic tribes was taken in the 10th century.
Main settling areas are the Alpine foothills and the wide valleys, mainly along
the rivers Salzach and Saalach. The major part of the population lives in the city of Salzburg and in the Flachgau region (Salzburg Land).
A continuity as far as settlements are concerned has been found in the Alpine foothills since Roman times (luvavum = Salzburg).
Most towns in Salzburg were founded for military or economic reasons and because of the salt deposits in this region.


Visitor Information

The Austrian accomodations are divided into different official categories. You can
choose between first-class hotels (five stars), simple inns (one star) and so on.

*****luxury hotels
****first-class hotels
***elevated hotels, pensions, inns
**average hotels, pensions, inns
*simple hotels, pensions, inns


As an Austrian citizen you need a certificate issued by the police, stating
that the holder has no criminal record, an examination from an aviation doctor
and a trainee pilot card (from the Federal Office of civil aviation, Vienna)
Minimum age: for gliding 16 years, for hang-gliding and para-gliding 16 years,
for motor planes 17 years, ballooning 17 years and parachuting 17 years.
Valid pilot´s licenses from German and Swiss guests are accepted, from guests
from other countries for sports and touristical aims are accepted only for a
limited time.


Generally the shops in the Tyrolian towns are open from Monday to Friday
9am-6pm, Saturday 9am-12noon. Some shops are closed at lunch time (12noon-2pm).
Grocer´s shops often open before 8am and close at 6.30pm. Every first Saturday
of the month the shops stay open till 5pm.
In the big centers of tourism the shops are open at the weekend, too.

Mostly the banks are open from Monday to Friday, 8am-12.30noon and 1.30pm-3pm
(Thursday till 5pm).


The currency is the Austrian Shilling (ATS), 100 Groschen each.
Banknotes of ATS 20, 50, 100, 500, 1000 and 5000 and coins of Groschen 10 and
50 as well as of ATS 1, 5, 10 and 20.

Foreign currencies are exchanged at all banks and exchanges to the current
Rates of exchange:

ATS 100 = DM 14,21DM 1 = ATS 7,00
ATS 100 = sfr 11,95sfr1 = ATS 8,40

Eurocheques are accepted everywhere and can be made out up to the amount
of ATS 2.500. Up to the same amount you can withdraw money with an
Eurocheque-card at the cash dispensers. If you lose your Eurocheque-card
you have to turn to the Central Service for "lost" notices of Eurocheque-cards
in Frankfurt am Main (Germany) (Tel. from Austria:00 49/69/74 09 87; day and
night service); the card will then be blocked immediately.
The international credit cards are accepted by most banks, bigger hotels
and restaurants, car rentals and many shops.
If you lose your credit card you have to inform the respective organisation:
American Express (Tel.00 49/69/72 00 16), Diners Club (Tel.00 49/69/26 03 50),
Eurocard (Tel.00 49/69/79 33 19 10), Visa (Tel. 00 49/69/79 20 13 33)

Foreign exchange control:
The import and export of foreign currencies is not liable to any restrictions.
Any amount of Austrian Shillings can be importet, but they just can be exportet
up to an amount of ATS 50,000.


Austria is a member of the European Union and represents with the other EU-
member states a common economic area, the EU-internal market. Within
the European Union the exchange of goods for personal aims is duty-free, but
there is an upper limit, e.g. for voyagers older than 17 years 800 cigarettes,
10 litres spirits and 90 litres wine.
The maximum amount of the exchange of goods with Non-EU-member-countries is
valid for goods that have been bought in Duty-Free-Shops.

Voyagers (older than 17 years) from Non-EU-countries can import duty-free
to Austria: 200 cigaretts or 50 cigars or 250 g tobacco, 2 litres of wine or
other alcoholic drinks up to 22 Vol. % and 1 litre of spirits. Souvenirs up to
ATS 400 are duty-free.

Citizens of Non-Eu-countries can enlist the tax-refund. When buying products
to the value of more than ATS 1000 please ask for the Tax-Refund-Cheque or
the form U34.


For the entry and for a stay of not more than 3 months a passport or a valid
identity card are sufficent. Children up to 16 years just need a entry in the
passport of the parents.


In Austria lead-free regular petrol (octane number 91), Euro-Super (lead-free,
octane number 95), Super Plus (octane number 98, lead-free petrol with lead
substitute for older vehicles), diesel and liquid gas are available.


When entering Austria, dogs and cats need a veterinarian health certificate with current
rabies vaccination certificate. At the entry the vaccination certificate has to have
at least 30 days and not more than 1 year.


Medical care is guaranteed at the doctor´s practices and hospitals.
Who has no internationally valid medical insurance record card ( is
accepted by the National health general practitioner ), has to pay
the treatment.

Chemist´s shop
Opening hours: Mon to Fri: 8am - 12noon and 2pm - 6pm, Sat: 8am - 12noon.
Night, weekend and holiday duty: at every closed chemist´s shop you find
a piece of advice about the next open chemist´s shop.


The general traffic regulations don´t differ from the regulations in other European countries.
Maximum speed:
Country roads 100 km/h, motorways 130 km/h
Especially the secondary streets in the Alps are partly one-way streets and are rich of bends.
Often it´s necessary to have exceptional driving skills. Many mountain passes are closed in
winter. Alpine passes that are open all year through are the Brennerpass, Fernpass,
Reschenpass and the Arlbergpass.


1st January: New Year´s Day
6th January: Feast of the Three Kings
March/April: Easter Monday
1st May: National Holiday
May/June: Ascension of Christ, Whit monday, Feast of the Corpus Christi
15th August: Assumption of the Virgin Mary
26th October: National Holiday
1th November: All Saints´ Day
8th December: Immaculate Conception
25th December: Christ Day
26th December: Stephen´s Day
School holidays: Christmas (2 weeks), February (1 week vacation), 19th March
(Josefitag-regional holiday), Eastern (1 week), July/August/beginning of September
(8 weeks summer holidays), 2nd November (All Souls´ Day)


Fire brigades122
Breakdown service


Opening hours of the post offices: 8am-12noon and 2pm-6pm
Main post offices in bigger towns: 24 hours service
Postage for foreign countries: letters ATS 7, postcards ATS 6

Telephone calls within Austria are graded according to zones and
cost less from 6pm to 8am as well as on weekends.
Public pay phones: for local calls you need coins of ATS 1, for
long-distance calls coins of ATS 10.
Telephone cards are available at the post offices to the price of
ATS 95 and ATS 50.

Dialling from Austria to
Great Britain0044

Dialling to Austria from Germany, Italy, Switzerland 0043
After the respective national dialling code the local dialling code must
be dialled without "0".

Information about telephone numbers
Europe (without Germany)1613
Non-European countries1614