Burgenland, the “Land of Castles,” is Austria’s youngest state, which joined the republic after the monarchy’s collapse following WWI. What to name the new territory became the first item of business.
The Burgenland region tells one of Austria’s youngest and certainly more interesting stories. After the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918, Europe’s borders drastically changed. Among those changes, the western-most part of Hungary, previously known as “German Western Hungary,” was designated for Austria. The idea was for parts of the Moson, Sopron and Vas counties (in German Wieselburg, Ödenburg, and Eisenburg) to be incorporated into Austria. Hence, ‘Burgenland’ was established as an official state of the new Republic of Austria in November 1921.
Today, the country’s youngest province occupies the sunny edge of Central Europe’s vast Pannonian plain, with wide-open spaces, interrupted here and there by idyllic vineyards, shimmering Lake Neusiedl and an assemblage of imposing fortresses and castles. The richness of history and cultural diversity in this small region is unparalleled, and very worth taking the 40 minutes trip south from Vienna.