The Wachau (German pronunciation: [vaˈxaʊ]) is an Austrian valley with a picturesque landscape formed by the Danube river. It is one of the most prominent tourist destinations of Lower Austria, located midway between the towns of Melk and Krems that also attracts "connoisseurs and epicureans". It is 40 kilometres (25 mi) in length and was already settled in prehistoric times. A well-known place and tourist attraction is Dürnstein, where King Richard the Lion-Heart of England was held captive by Duke Leopold V. The architectural elegance of its ancient monasteries (Melk and Göttweig Abbey), castles and ruins combined with the urban architecture of its towns and villages, and the cultivation of vines as an important agricultural produce are the dominant features of the valley.
Austria (i// or //; German: Österreich [ˈøːstɐˌʁaɪç] ( listen)), officially the Republic of Austria (German: Republik Österreich (help·info)), is a federal republic and a landlocked country of roughly 8.47 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Hungary and Slovakia to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west. The territory of Austria covers 83,855 square kilometres (32,377 sq mi) and has a temperate and alpine climate. Austria's terrain is highly mountainous due to the presence of the Alps; only 32% of the country is below 500 metres (1,640 ft), and its highest point is 3,798 metres (12,461 ft). The majority of the population speak local Bavarian dialects of German as their native language, and German in its standard form is the country's official language. Other local official languages are Hungarian, Burgenland Croatian, and Slovene.