Introduction

Located in Western Europe, The Principality of Liechtenstein is bordered by Switzerland to the west and by Austria to the east. Total area is approximately 62 square miles. The estimated population is 35,000. The capital city is Vaduz while the biggest city is Schaan.

The form of government of Liechtenstein is a constitutional monarchy with 11 municipalities. It is reputed among countries as a winter sports destination since much of its terrain is mountainous. Both in the north (Unterland) and in the south (Oberland), its landscape is characterized with cultivated fields and small farms. With its strong financial sector, Liechtenstein gained a reputation as a tax haven. Although a member of the European Free Trade Agreement, Liechtenstein is not part of the European Union.

People

The primary language of the population in Liechtenstein is Alemannic, while the official language is Standard German.

Approximately one-third of the population is foreign-born, coming from neighboring countries. With regard to the workforce, about two-thirds are foreign-born.

In the 2000 census, 87.9% of the population is Christian, of which 76% are Roman Catholic, while about 7% are Protestant, Islam makes up 4.8%, undeclared represents 4.1% and 2.8% declared no religion.

The literacy rate of Liechtenstein is 100%. Liechtenstein's education is ranked as the 10th best in the world.

Geography

Bordered to the east by Austria and to the west by Switzerland, Liechtenstein is situated in the Upper Rhine valley of the European Alps. With the river serving as the entire western border of Liechtenstein, the country is only about 15 miles long. Liechtenstein rises to higher altitudes in its eastern part with the Grauspitz at 8,527 feet as its highest point. Prevailing southerly winds make the climate of Liechtenstein comparatively mild, despite its alpine location. Its mountain slopes are well suited for winter sports.

Liechtenstein has 11 municipalities called Gemeinden. The Gemeinden mostly consist of only one town. Eschen, Gamprin, Mauren, Ruggell, and Schellenberg are within the electoral district of Unterland (the lower county). Balzers, Planken, Schaan, Triesen, Triesenberg, and Vaduz are within Oberland (the upper county).

History

The ancient Roman province of Raetia included the territory of modern-day Liechtenstein. The name of the country was derived from the Liechtenstein dynasty, based in Castle Liechtenstein in Lower Austria, controlled by the family at least from 1140 to the thirteenth century, and from 1807 onwards. Liechtenstein became a sovereign member state of the Holy Roman Empire on January 23, 1719.

Liechtenstein was a member of the Confederation of the Rhine from July 25, 1806 when it was founded, until the dissolution of the Confederation on October 19, 1813.

Liechtenstein joined the German Confederation from June 20, 1815 up to August 24, 1866, presided over by the Emperor of Austria.

Liechtenstein was first closely tied to the Austrian Empire and later to Austria-Hungary up until the end of World War I.

During World War II, Liechtenstein remained neutral.

Famous Attractions

Summer in Liechtenstein offers conquering peaks high up in the mountains, taking athletic tours with your bike, making refreshing plunges into cold lakes, and experiencing lively cultural and city festivals.

Winter in Liechtenstein offers a wide range of winter activities and relaxing recreation. You may glide down the snowy hills, skate through 9 miles of idyllic nature, and enjoy a family vacation in small and cozy Malbun.

The Liechtenstein Center gives the unique and free opportunity to get a comprehensive picture of the diversity of this small state using state-of-the-art multimedia technology and fascinating film footage.

"Visiting Vaduz with Goethe" is an exciting voyage of discovery through art, architecture, culture, history, gastronomy, and wine.

Skiing will be a pleasurable experience at Malbi-Park in Malbun on a nearly 40,000 square feet surface of snow.

Galina falconry (Falknerei) is an exciting experience. One can never get as close to eagles, falcons, hawks and eagle-owls anywhere else in the world.

The four-seat Sareis chairlift brings one up to a 6,561 feet elevation to the Sareiserjoch, which is both a mountain restaurant and an ideal starting point for many hikes.

Nightlife

Finding the balance between relaxation and activity, experiencing nature in all its facets, and indulging in the joy of movement - this is recreation in Liechtenstein, both indoor and outdoor, even at night!

Balzers, Eschen, Gamprin-Bendern, Mauren, Nendeln, Ruggell, and Schaan have numerous bars, dancing-bars, and nightclubs that are open until early morning. These are perfect places for people seeking entertainment to enjoy and rejuvenate with assorted drinks and savory and mouth-watering food items after a very busy day.

Culture

Liechtenstein has been strongly affected by external cultural influences. The most notable are those originating in the southern German-speaking areas of Europe, including Austria, Bavaria, Switzerland, and specifically Tirol and Vorarlberg. Preserving the culture and history of the country rests on the Historical Society of the Principality of Liechtenstein.

Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein is the largest museum. It is an international museum of modern and contemporary art with an important international art collection. The building by the Swiss architects Morger, Degelo and Kerez is a landmark in Vaduz. The museum collection is also the national art collection of Liechtenstein.

Liechtenstein National Museum is the other important museum. It has a permanent exhibition on the cultural and natural history of Liechtenstein as well as special exhibitions. There are also a Stamp museum and a Ski museum.

Vaduz Castle, Gutenberg Castle, the Red House and the ruins of Schellenberg are the most famous historical sites of Liechtenstein.

A significant part of the culture in Liechtenstein involves music and theatre. There are two main theatres and numerous music organizations such as the Liechtenstein Musical Company, the annual Guitar Days and the International Josef Gabriel Rheinberger Society; and two main theatres.

The Liechtenstein Museum in Vienna houses the Private Art Collection of the Prince of Liechtenstein, considered as one of the world's leading private art collections.

Cuisine

Gourmet restaurants, guesthouses, alpine cabins, and a truly princely wine culture makes Liechtenstein a culinary paradise.

With its global and cosmopolitan orientation, Liechtenstein provides the best among both local, European and international cuisine. This ranges from home style cooking, local specialties, seasonal, vegetarian, middle class to upper class, with prices from favorable, medium to expensive, subject only to the preference of one's palate and wallet.