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Austria, officially named the Republic of Austria, in German Republik Österreich, is a landlocked federal republic in Central Europe. It consists of nine federated states. It borders Liechtenstein and Switzerland to the west, Italy and Slovenia in the south, Hungary and Slovakia to the east, and the Czech Republic and Germany in the north.

Austria is a member of the UN, the Council of Europe and the European Union, and is part of the Schengen Area and the Eurozone. The capital is Vienna. The country is a major tourist destination that draws visitors with its picturesque landscape, extensive alpine terrain and high level of services. Approximately 60 percent of the country is covered with mountains. The highest point is the Grossglockner, at 3,798 m above sea level in the High Tauern Mountains. Austria is also famous for its beautiful lakes. The largest of these is Lake Neusiedl, a shallow steppe lake.

According to the 1920 Constitution, Austria is a federal parliamentary republic, with the Federal President as the head of state.

AUSTRIAN MINT (Münze Österreich AG)

The Austrian Mint is among the world’s leading mints. It strikes all the circulating coins of Austria as well as prestigious collector coins and medals. The history of this mint dates back 800 years. In 1194, the Austrian and Styrian Duke Leopold V of Babenberg captured the English King Richard I the Lionheart, returning from the Third Crusade. As a ransom for his release, Richard I paid Leopold an enormous 100,000 pounds of silver. Leopold V decided to use half of this loot to strike coins from it.

Two hundred years later, the mint is first mentioned in the historical sources. First it was situated near the Hoher Markt, later on Wollzeile Street and in the Winter Palace of Prince Eugene on Himmelpfortgasse. In the first half of the 19th century, the mint moved to Am Heumarkt Street in the centre of Vienna, where it is still situated today. From 1830 to the present day, an annular coin press is used for minting, capable of striking up to 750 coins per minute.

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