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Linz is the third largest city of Austria and capital of the state of Upper Austria (Oberösterreich). It is located in the north centre of Austria, approximately 30 km south of the Czech border, on both sides of the river Danube, the longest river of the European Union and Europe's second-longest (after the Volga). The population of the city proper is 188,968 (2001), and 271,000 in the agglomeration. The city was founded by the Romans, who called it "Lentia", but there was already a Celtic settlement called "Lentos"; probably their word for the winding of a river. It was a provincial and local government city of the Holy Roman Empire, and an important trading point connecting several routes, on either side of the river Danube from the East to the West and Bohemia and Poland from north to the Balkans and Italy to the south.

Being the city where the Habsburg Emperor Friedrich III spent his last years, it was, for a short period of time, the most important city in the empire. It lost its status to Vienna and Prague after the death of the Emperor in 1493. The agglomeration includes (parts of) 13 other municipalities with together 271,000 inhabitants. Linz is also part of the Linz-Wels-Steyr metropolitan area of Upper Austria, home to around one third of the state's population (460,000 people) and second-largest urban area in Austria. The composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart wrote his Symphony No. 36 (1783) in Linz for a concert to be given there, and the work is known today as the Linz Symphony. The first version of Anton Bruckner's Symphony No. 1 in C minor is known as the Linz version. The city is now home to a vibrant music and arts scene that is well-funded by the city and the state of Upper Austria.

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