Austria is brimming with fine art, music and wonderful architecture, but it is by no chance that this country earned its culture. The history of Austria is filled with struggles, decadent monarchs, religious extremism and war. If you look back into the depths of history, you will see that this has always been a country segregated into various tribes and rulers. The Vandals, the Romans and the Celts all breached Austrian borders and left their mark on its landscape and its traditions. The Romans conquered Austria and ruled over it for many centuries. However, when the Roman Empire collapsed in the fifth century, so did Austria’s national security.
A succession of violent invasions followed until the 8th century when Charles the Great conquered the country and began the vigorous spreading of Christianity. It was in this era that Austria earned its name and became part of the House of Babenberg until the 13th century. The Habsburgs, Austria’s most famous monarchy, took control of the country from this point right up until World War One. Ruling for nearly eight centuries, it is not surprising that Austria’s cultural heritage stems very much from this royal family. So much of its city architecture and the artefacts in Austrian museums are the direct influence of the Habsburgs. The family also expanded the Austrian Empire and it was during the latter half of the last millennium that the most famous writers, artists and musicians in Austrian history were produced. Napoleon’s defeat of the Austrians in 1806 gave rise to the Austro-Hungarian Empire which united Austria with Serbia, Germany and Czech states, making it a considerable European and World power.
When Austria and Germany lost the First World War Austria was turned into a Republic and it remained this way until it came under Germany’s control again in 1938 with the rise of Hitler and the Nazis. When the Second World War ended Austria declared that it would henceforth be constitutionally neutral. It continues to keep this vow and became a member of the European Union in 1995.