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Austria (German: Österreich, Czech: Rakousko, Slovenian: Avstrija; Croatian: Austrija; Serbian: A???????; Hungarian: Ausztria; see also other languages) is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It borders Germany and the Czech Republic to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west. Its capital city is Vienna.
Austria is a parliamentary representative democracy consisting of nine federal states and is one of six European countries that have declared permanent neutrality and one of the few countries that included the concept of everlasting neutrality in their constitution. Austria is a member of the United Nations and the European Union since 1995.
Austria is a largely mountainous country due to its location in the Alps. The Central Eastern Alps, Northern Limestone Alps and Southern Limestone Alps are all partly in Austria. Of the total area of Austria (84 000 km² or 32,000 sq. mi), only about a quarter can be considered low lying, and only 32% of the country is below 500 metres (1,640 ft). The high mountainous Alps in the west of Austria flatten somewhat into low lands and plains in the east of the country.
Austria may be divided into 5 different areas. The biggest area are the Austrian Alps, which constitute 62% of Austria's total area. The Austrian foothills at the base of the Alps and the Carpathians account for around 12% of its area. The foothills in the east and areas surrounding the periphery of the Pannoni low country amount to about 12% of the total landmass. The second greater mountain area (much lower than the Alps) is situated in the north. Known as the Austrian granite plateau, it is located in the central area of the Bohemian Mass, and accounts for 10% of Austria. The Austrian portion of the Viennese basin comprises the remaining 4%.
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