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9 tiny countries with big appeal

By: Josh Lew on Nov. 21, 2013, 9 a.m.
Landscape in Balzers, Lichtenstein, during beautiful sunrise

Photo: Mino Surkala/Shutterstock

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The Principality of Liechtenstein is a German-speaking nation that appears on the map as a small dot between Austria and Switzerland. Known for its beautiful mountain scenery, ski resorts, classic architecture and quaint alpine villages, the country draws a large number of tourists throughout the year. Because of its strong political and economic ties with Switzerland, Liechtenstein uses the Swiss Franc. People seeking a Swiss high-end shopping experience head to the retail outlets in Liechtenstein's capital, Vaduz, which also boasts plenty of classic architecture.

Established in the 18th century, Liechtenstein is the last remnant of the Holy Roman Empire, whose rulers once controlled much of Central and Eastern Europe. Today, the country has a population of slightly more than 30,000 people. It is ruled by a constitutional monarchy, with a popularly elected parliament handling most of the governing responsibilities.