Carinthia, Austria Overview

Carinthia, the southernmost federal state of Austria, on the border with Slovenia and Italy, 9 538 km 2, (2017) 561 100 residents.

Carinthia comprises the catchment area of ​​the upper Drau (between Oberdrauburg and Lavamünd) with its tributaries Möll, Lieser, Gurk and Lavant (from the north) as well as the Gailtal; between the two the Gailtal Alps. The west-east extension is 160 km, that from north to south is between 45 and 70 km. Carinthia is divided into eight political districts and two cities with their own statutes; The capital is Klagenfurt.


According to the state constitution of 1996 (amended several times), a state parliament (36 members), which is elected for a five-year term, enacts the state laws and exercises political control over the state government, which consists of the state governor as well as two state governor deputies and four state councilors the length of its legislative term is chosen. Referendums, petitions and votes (on legislative decisions of the state parliament) are provided as direct democratic rights of the citizens of the country.

Flag and coat of arms: The flag consists of three equally wide horizontal stripes in gold over red over white and bears the country’s coat of arms in the middle. – The coat of arms goes on the coat of arms of Duke Ulrich III. dating back to 1237. The shield is split in gold and red and shows in the heraldic right, gold field three black, red-tongued and reinforced, striding lions, in the red field a silver bar.

Country nature

According to historyaah, Carinthia forms a self-contained basin landscape between the Karawanken and Carnic Alps in the south, the Hohe Tauern in the northwest, the Gurk and Seetal Alps as well as the Packalpe in the north and the Koralpe in the east with only a few natural passages (valley of the upper Drau, through the valley of the Gailitz to Italy [Kanaltal], through the Olsabach valley to the Neumarkter Sattel and over the Obdacher Sattel in the Lavanttal also to the Murtal, and down to Slovenia).

It is divided into the mountainous upper Carinthia (core: upper Drautal with Möll, Lieser and Gail Valley) and the most flachwelligere and by individual flatness (u a.. Customs, madder and Jaunfeld) embossed Unterkärnten whose core area of the Klagenfurt basin is the largest inner-alpine basin of the Eastern Alps (between Gurktal Alps and Karawanken), from which the Saualpe separates the Lavant valley as a relatively closed valley. There are four large ones in Carinthia (Wörther See, Ossiacher See, Millstätter See and Weißensee) and around 200 smaller lakes with a total of around 60 km 2.

With the Pasterze in the Großglockner area, Carinthia has the largest glacier in Austria. The Schütt, at the southern foot of the Dobratsch in the lowest Gailtal, is one of the most powerful landslide areas in the Eastern Alps (last Dobratsch landslide: 1348).

Climate: In terms of climate, Carinthia is a transition area between the northern and southern Alpine variants of the temperate climate zone. Although the annual maximum precipitation – corresponding to the northern Alpine climate variant – is in summer, a not inconsiderable part of the annual precipitation falls in autumn in the Gail and upper Drau valleys – often in the form of heavy downpours. The Klagenfurt Basin, on the other hand, already has a continentally influenced climate and, as it is enclosed on all sides, often shows temperature reversals (i.e. in the cold seasons the temperatures in the basin are often lower than on the surrounding mountains). Overall, the climate is stimulating in winter, but weak in summer.


In the lower Gailtal (Zilja), in the Rosental (Rož) and in the Jaunfeld (Podjuna) the Slovenian minority settles in a mixed situation with the German-speaking majority. Carinthia had its highest population level in 1996 (almost 562,000 residents), then the number of residents declined due to a negative migration balance; Only since 2013 has the number of residents increased again slightly due to growing immigration from abroad. Almost 57% of the country’s area is over 1,000 m above sea level, but only a small part of the population lives here. Overall, the population density of Carinthia with 59 residents / km 2 is significantly lower than the overall Austrian average (105 residents / km 2); the most densely populated are the southern Klagenfurt Basin and the Lavant Valley.

Religion: The last census to collect data on religious affiliation was in 2001. At that time around 77% of the population were Catholic and around 10% Protestant. Since then, only the membership numbers of the individual religious communities can be used as a basis. The Catholics are administratively assigned to the Gurk-Klagenfurt diocese. According to ecclesiastical information, this diocese had 375 906 members in 2015. The Protestant Christians belong to the Evangelical Church of the Augsburg and Helvetic Confessions in Austria (cross-state superintendence [diocese] Carinthia and East Tyrol). The number of Muslims living in Carinthia was around 17,000 in 2012 (source: statista).


In a comparison of the Austrian federal states, Carinthia ranks third to last in terms of economic power with a gross domestic product (GDP) per resident of (2015) € 33,300. Carinthia’s contribution to national GDP is 5.5%. The regional unemployment rate in 2016 was 5.4%, slightly below the national average (6.0%).

Agriculture and forestry have continued to lose importance; their contribution to gross value added (GVA; at manufacturer prices) is 1.9% (2014) (1970: 10.3%; 2000: 2.6%), only slightly above the Austrian average (1.4%). The focus of production is cattle breeding (dairy and meat industries), for which almost 80% of the agricultural area is used. Agriculture (cultivation of maize, barley, oats, wheat and potatoes as well as fruit) is of less importance. In the structure of agricultural and forestry holdings, the number of part-time holdings predominates (over 70%); the full-time businesses are concentrated in the Klagenfurt Basin. Almost half of the total land area is forested, around 30% is used for agriculture. Forestry is practiced intensively.

Mineral resources: In mining, magnesite extraction (Radenthein) is worth mentioning. The hydropower plants on the Drau are important for generating energy. At around 51% (2014), Carinthia has the highest share of renewable energies (based on gross final energy consumption) among the federal states.

Industry: Industrial centers have formed around Klagenfurt (also a trading center with the Austrian wood fair), Villach, Wolfsberg and Spittal an der Drau. The focus is on the electrical engineering and electronics, building materials, wood and food industries as well as machine and steel construction. The share of the secondary sector in GVA is 31.7% (2014), above the Austrian average (28.3%).

Tourism: In tourism, Carinthia ranks third behind Tyrol and Salzburg with 13 million overnight stays (2017) (corresponds to 9.0% of all overnight stays by tourists in Austria). Summer vacationers dominate; The Carinthian lakes are particularly popular. The share of foreigners in the overnight stays is almost two thirds. The share of tourism in the GVA is 6.4% (national average: 4.9%).


The central traffic junction is Villach, where all important road connections such as the Tauernautobahn (European north-south transit route), the Wörtherseeautobahn and the Südautobahn (from Vienna to Italy) as well as railway lines such as the Tauernbahn (connection to Salzburg), the Südbahn (to Vienna and Italy) and the Karawankenbahn (to Slovenia) cross. The most important border crossings are Thörl-Maglern, Naßfeld- and Plöckenpass (to Italy) and Loiblpass, Wurzenpass and Rabenstein (to Slovenia). Klagenfurt-Annabichl Airport is also of international importance. Inland shipping on the Carinthian lakes focuses on tourism.

Carinthia, Austria

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