Carinthia is now an Austrian federal state consisting of the bigger part of the historic region of the same name, which is now divided between the countries of Austria and Slovenia. Despite this division the people on both sides still have a lot in common in the field of culture, and beside being citizens of their countries, they have a strong sense of Carinthian identity. When Slovenia gained its independence from Yugoslavia in 1991 and finally managed to introduce democracy and a free-market economy, the people of Carinthia could at last reunite as a European region - and this is a region that is doing exceptionally well.

Austrian Carinthia has a population of over half a million, and it is the country's most Southern state, sharing borders not only with Slovenia, but also with Italy.

Most of the landscape is mountainous, but especially in the East of Carinthia there is quite a high number of alpine peaks. The Grossglockner, the highest mountain in Austria, is actually shared by Carinthia and Tyrol.

The state has a significant number of ski resorts. What many people like about Carinthia when they compare it with Tyrol, is the fact, however, that it has fewer tourists. If what you are looking for is a cozy bed and breakfast in a lonely valley, then Carinthia certainly is for you. Its close proximity to the Mediterranean is another aspect that many visitors cherish about it.

Klagenfurt (called Celovec by the Slovenian minority) is the state's capital. It has a population of just under a hundred thousand and belongs to the more laid-back regional capitals within Europe.

According to legend it was founded in the middle ages at the very spot where a dragon had just been slain. Although this is probably not true, the city does have a mysterious-looking statue of a dragon in the heart of its old town - this is now one of the preferred meeting places for young and old people alike. Klagenfurt is also a center of culture. Every year a very important contest for young writers is held, where they read their works in front of a jury - and the whole German-speaking world listens.

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