Chartered in 1839 as the capital of the Republic of Texas, Austin
became the state capital when Texas was admitted to the Union in 1846 as
the twenty-eighth state. Austin is now the fourth largest city in the state
and the sixteenth most populous city in the nation.
Nestled in the heart of the Texas Hill Country, the city of Austin has the rich diversity of a large city and the friendly charm of a small town. A temperate climate, 28 miles of urban hike-and-bike trails and more than 11,000 acres of parkland encourage outdoor activities and a relaxed, casual lifestyle. Austin has political and intellectual stature as the seat of Texas government and the home of a world class university. During the last decade, the city's advanced technology research and development sector has blossomed into a billion-dollar market. Populated in part by UT- Austin alumni who fell in love with the city's unique beauty and character, Austin has one of the most highly educated populations in the nation.
The Colorado River forms Lake Austin and Town Lake as it flows
through downtown Austin. Upstream, dams create five large lakes where sailors,
skiers, campers, swimmers, and sunbathers enjoy Austin's temperate climate
from March through October. Not far from downtown Austin, the Barton Springs
swimming pool is formed by a natural spring gushing 27 million gallons of
water a day into a limestone bed. The Hill Country winds south and west from
Austin laced with sparkling rivers and breathtaking vistas, a welcome respite
to weary urbanites --- and exhausted graduate students.