Official name: Principality of Liechtenstein
Area: 160 square kilometers (62 square miles)
Highest point on mainland: Grauspitz (2,599 meters/8,527 feet)
Lowest point on land: Ruggeller Riet (430 meters/1,411 feet)
Hemispheres: Northern and Eastern
Time zone: 1 P.M. = noon GMT
Longest distances: 9.4 kilometers (5.8 miles) from east to west; 24.5 kilometers (15.2 miles) from north to south
Land boundaries: 76 kilometers (47 miles) total boundary length; Austria 35 kilometers (22 miles); Switzerland 41 kilometers (25 miles)
Territorial sea limits: None
1 LOCATION AND SIZE
With an area slightly smaller than that of Washington, D.C., Liechtenstein is one of the smallest countries in the world, and the fourth-smallest in Euroh2. Shaped like an elongated triangle, it is sandwiched between the Swiss cantons of Graubünden and St. Gall to the south and west, and the Austrian province of Vorarlberg to the north and east.
2 TERRITORIES AND DEPENDENCIES
Liechtenstein has no territories or dependencies.
Liechtenstein has a continental climate tempered by a warm south wind called the fohn. Even at the upper Alpine elevations, winter temperatures rarely drop below -15°C (5°F), and lowland temperatures average -5°C (24°F) in January. Summer highs are generally between 20°C (68°F) and 28°C (82°F). Annual precipitation ranges from 91 to 114 centimeters (36 to 45 inches). The higher Alpine peaks are snowcapped year-round.
4 TOPOGRAPHIC REGIONS
The western third of Liechtenstein lies on flat land in the floodplain of the Rhine River, which forms its western boundary. The eastern region consists of Alpine highlands.
5 OCEANS AND SEAS
Liechtenstein is landlocked.
6 INLAND LAKES
Liechtenstein has no major inland lakes.
7 RIVERS AND WATERFALLS
The Rhine River and its tributaries drain most of Liechtenstein. The mountain valleys to the east are drained by the Samina River, which rises in the southeast and flows northward through Liechtenstein's mountains into Austria.
There are no deserts in Liechtenstein.
9 FLAT AND ROLLING TERRAIN
An unusual hill formation, called the Eschnerberg, rises to heights of 730 meters (2,395 feet) on the flat terrain of Liechtenstein's western plains area. Meadows and pastureland make up about 40 percent of the total land area.
10 MOUNTAINS AND VOLCANOES
Liechtenstein's Alpine foothills and peaks are located on a spur of the Rhaetian Alps called the Rhätikon Massif. Three main valleys traverse the country's mountains. Their highest point is the Grauspitz, which rises to 8,527 feet (2,599 meters) on the southeastern border with Switzerland.
11 CANYONS AND CAVES
Over the course of many centuries, water has carved a gorge 300 meters (985 feet) deep in the Salzach Valley.
12 PLATEAUS AND MONOLITHS
An unusual hill formation, called the Eschnerberg, rises to heights of 730 meters (2,395 feet) on the flat terrain of Liechtenstein's western plains area.
13 MAN-MADE FEATURES
Former marshland on the banks of the Rhine was reclaimed for agricultural use in the first half of the twentieth century. Both concrete and wooden bridges span the Rhine, connecting Liechtenstein to neighboring Switzerland.
DID YOU KNOW?
Liechtenstein is one of only two countries in the world that are doubly landlocked (surrounded by other landlocked countries). The other is Uzbekistan.
14 FURTHER READING
Cussans, Thomas, ed. Fodor's Switzerland. New York: Fodor's Travel Publications, 1988.
Frommer's Switzerland and Liechtenstein . New York: Prentice Hall Travel, 1994.
Greene, Barbara. Valley of Peace: The Story of Liechtenstein . Vaduz: Liechtenstein Verlag, 1947.
Lonely Planet World Guide: Destination Liechtenstein. http://www.lonelyplanet.com/destinations/europe/liechtenstein/ (accessed April 13, 2003).