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Picture perfect: Schloss Schönbühel. But there is more to Austria than just being beautiful.

Image: Uaoei1, CC BY-SA 4.0

Unless you̵

7;re into skiing, double monarchies or the “Sound of Music”, you’re probably not thinking much about Austria. And yet everyone’s second favorite alpine republic is a place of many strange and wonderful facts. If you don’t believe us, check out these infographics produced by @austrianmaps. Here are ten things you will never be able to find out about Austria again.

Stuck in the middle

Image: Austrian maps

Austria is far from nowhere. Or, conveniently in the middle everywhere. Which of these two truths sounds more true depends on the resilience of your travels (or needs). As this map shows, the Austrian capital Vienna (it’s that round thing in the upper right corner) is almost perfectly equidistant between the two metropolises ending in Europe to the northwest and southeast. Other maps show Austria just as closely in the middle between Madrid and Moscow (if you are on city trips); and Ibiza and Crimea (if you are more of a beach man).

Moderately interesting

Image: Austrian maps

In their mission statement on Twitter, the Austrian maps promised “maps of Austria from moderately interesting to terrible.” To set the bar at the right height, we get the Austrian version of the Indiana map. But don’t let that put you off: Innsbruck is a beautiful city (go check out the Golden Roof, completed in 1500) and close to the Alps (take the Hungerburgbahn cable car) from the city center straight up the mountain).

Traffic from left to right

Image: Austrian maps

Centuries ago, which side of the road you were driving was political. This is because Napoleon, the great equalizer, introduced right-wing traffic wherever he went. Which may explain why his unfavorable enemies, the British, were so stubborn on the other side of the road. The Austrians weren’t too keen on him either, so when he left, they went back to … chaos: right-hand traffic here, left-hand traffic there. In 1915, Austria-Hungary generalized left-wing traffic, but protests led to the reintroduction of right-wing traffic in Vorarlberg in 1921, which was not so worrying because at that time the country was connected only to the rest of Austria through two mountain passes. Following a common pact across Europe in 1927 for right-hand traffic, the rest of Austria also came back, but not immediately and not all at once, as the states could not agree on a single timetable. On April 2, 1930, the west of the country (near the town of Land) moved from left to right. Carinthia and Eastern Tyrol switched on July 15, 1935. After the annexation of Austria by Nazi Germany, on July 1, 1938, the German traffic code came into force, imposing right-wing movement. Except in Vienna and the surrounding areas, where the left movement remained in force until September 19, 1938.

The Austrian Peneclave

Image: Austrian maps

Jungholz is an Austrian city, but is surrounded by all countries of Germany. Does that make it an exclave? It would do so if it did not touch the rest of Austria at any point, the summit of Sorgschrofen, where four border lines meet: two German and two Austrian. Which means that Jungholz is a peneclax (ie “almost exclave”, just as a peninsula is “almost an island”). However, as it can only be reached through German territory, it is cut off from direct access to the rest of Austria and is thus a ‘practical exclave’. The city is therefore economically compatible with its Bavarian (and later German) neighbors, but these differences are mostly within the European Union. It still supports both German and Austrian postal codes.

We will meet again, Mr. Bond!

Image: Austrian maps

If you are a picturesque enough country, James Bond will come to compete in the centers of your cities, killing any number of Her Majesty’s enemies and scaring the locals pointlessly. Austria is especially preferred – visited by no less than four repetitions of Secret Agent 007: George Lazenby (“On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”), Roger Moore (“The Spy Who Loved Me”), Timothy Dalton (“Living Diaries”) lights ”) and Daniel Craig (“ Ghost ”,“ Quantum of Consolation ”). And in Austria there are still many places to blow up, the map helpfully suggests. If we were looking for places for the next Bond (m / f), the Kaprun Dam and the Zwendendorf Nuclear Power Plant would also be at the top of our list.

World cities bigger than Austria

Image: Austrian maps

Austria may be a suitable country with a flag and a president and all the other attributes of modern statehood, but it is quite well aware of its own miniature. This is certainly due to the fact that he was once a senior partner in a much larger nation: the Austro-Hungarian Empire, one of Europe’s main powers until his death after the First World War. With a certain masochism (named after Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, an Austrian), this map shows cities around the world – many, not even capitals, that have a larger population than Austria, which has a population of 9 million.

Between the mountains and the fields

Image: Austrian maps

Austria’s national anthem is the last tune written by Mozart before his death. This was the official story, but it turned out to be too good to be true: the Masonic hymn was probably written by one of Mozart’s colleagues. Texts of much later origin describe Austria as “Land der Berge, Land am Strome, Land der Äcker, Land der Dome” (“Land of the mountains, land by the river Donau, land of flight, land of the cathedral domes”). What does this cover? Quite, as this map shows, but not all of Austria, not far away. But then, “land of bits in between” does not have exactly this chemical ring.

To have a ball

Image: Austrian maps

They are not yet on any UNESCO World Heritage List, but Vienna’s balls really should be. If not because they are a spectacular, age-old tradition filled with intricate dresses, manners and straits of classical music, then because they are both completely out of place in the modern world – and a wonderful escape from it. Every winter, the Hofburg Palace, the Vienna City Hall, the Vienna State Opera and other places in the city are filled with so many dancing debutants and intrigues that you can be forgiven for thinking that the Kaiser is still sitting on his throne. In total, Vienna has about 400 annual balls, many of which are organized by professional guilds, such as the academic association, the medical profession or even the real estate sector. As the map shows, even some countries have their own ball: Upper and Lower Austria, Tyrol, Styria and Vorarlberg and … Moscow. Of course, Moscow is not an Austrian state. Although there is a lot of money with money that would not mind. Not all Russian fairy tales gravitate towards London. There is something to go around, and some of them like to dress and dance. And when that happens, it’s not so hard to imagine that it’s 1815 again, Vienna is the largest congregation of diplomats in the world (there to eradicate the Treaty of Vienna), and Moscow still has a king on the throne. .

Egg in card

Image: Austrian maps

Q: How much fun can card makers have? A: As far as the imagination allows. Example: this Easter-themed card (hence the shining lamb), comparing the egg-likeness of the different Austrian states. Vienna is the country that most overlaps with an egg of the same size (0.905), Elongated Burgenland (also known as Austrian Chile) least egg-like condition (0.521). And what does this teach us? That it can be fun to keep track of the data, even if it takes you to a dead end where it will take you seriously. Sometimes it’s worth a good chin laugh.

Not that kind of church organ

Image: Austrian maps

There are still emperors in Vienna, but they are all dead and buried. However, just by looking at the number of burial sites, you might think that there are three times more dead killers than there actually were in real life. This is because in a gloomy way, the emperors and other royal families of the Habsburgs were traditionally buried in three parts: their bodies in the crypt of the Capuchins, minus their hearts (which went to the Loreto chapel), and also their internal organs ( which have been preserved – if that is the correct word – in St. Stephen’s Cathedral). All cards are reproduced with kind permission. For more Austrian map madness, see Austrian maps on Twitter. Strange cards # 1029 Do you have a strange card? Tell me at strangemaps@gmail.com.




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