We just started our crowdfunding campaign for the second Extinguished Countries guidebook: the Habsburg Empire. You can now pre-order your copy of the guide and join us in this new adventure in Europe’s history! Watch the campaign video here:
Extinguished Countries is a series of travel guidebooks to countries that no longer exist.
Extinguished Countries is a project at the crossroads of history, journalism and travel literature. We don’t follow today’s borders but take you on a journey through time and space to lost kingdoms, republics and empires, looking for what unites us rather than divides us. It’s a time machine for travellers!
Extinguished Countries started in 2020 with a successful crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter. In 2021 we published our first guidebook: Republic of Venice, a journey through seven states and a 1000-year old republic. Now, it’s time for an even bigger adventure, one that explains many of the challenges that Europe is facing today: the Habsburg Empire.
Why is this important?
At a time when Europe is experiencing resurgent nationalism, the Extinguished Countries guidebooks show that throughout history, countries change–and sometimes even disappear. They leave behind composite cultural legacies, which are part of the reason why, today we have many things in common, not only with our neighbours, but also with people that might live far away and were once connected to us. There are legends, traditions, dishes that we share from our common past, and that bring us closer rather than farther apart.
This is not a nostalgic or revisionist journey. Even if our guides play the game of imagining that a former country still exists, their objective is not to celebrate defunct political realities. On the contrary: by interviewing hundreds of people from Vienna to L’viv and from Budapest to Sarajevo, we show different perspectives. Besides gathering different perspectives from residents and scholars of a former empire, our guidebooks introduce a new way of traveling. You’ll be walking on today’s streets, but at the same time traveling back in time, following maps and itineraries from the past. It’s a sort of augmented reality that allows you to hop on and off from the present into the past.
The Habsburg Empire
For over six centuries, until the end of the First World War, the Habsburgs ruled over a big part of Europe. The shape of their empire varied greatly throughout history (it even included Mexico at one moment!). At the time of its downfall, the Habsburg Empire included parts of 13 contemporary countries: Austria, Hungary, Czechia, Slovakia, Poland, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro and Italy.
Our guidebook will take you across the Alps and along the Danube. You’ll discover a dinasty both fascinating and terrible, a multilingual and multicultural society and a rich history, the legacy of which is still visible today. It’s a story of epic battles and technological discoveries, social transformation and revolutions.
What’s in the book?
Legends, recipes, maps, fun facts and much more… The book is the result of hundreds of interviews with historians, linguists, researchers, chefs and other people with very different backgrounds. You’ll get their best stories and insights as well as extra book, movie and travel tips. The chapters are structured by today’s countries, preceded by a handy historical introduction. You can focus on the countries you are interested in, or read it all in one go—you’ll find it hard to put down.
The Habsburg Empire is a 320-page illustrated guidebook that spans 13 different countries and over six centuries of history. We’ll go to seaside destinations, mountain villages and big metropolises, observe them as they are today and as they were a few centuries ago. The book’s pocket format (21,5 x 14,5 cm) makes it a convenient read not only during your travel preparations, but also throughout your journey.