Trieste is a city and seaport in northeastern Italy. It is situated towards the end of a narrow strip of land lying between the Adriatic Sea and Italy's border with Slovenia, which lies almost immediately south and east of the city. Trieste is located at the head of the Gulf of Trieste and throughout history it has been influenced by its location at the crossroads of Germanic, Latin and Slavic cultures. In 2009, it had a population of about 205,000 and it is the capital of the autonomous region Friuli-Venezia Giulia and Trieste province. Trieste was one of the oldest parts of the Habsburg Monarchy from 1382 until 1918. In the 19th century, it was the most important port of one of the Great Powers of Europe. As a prosperous seaport in the Mediterranean region, Trieste became the fourth largest city of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In the fin-de-siecle period, it emerged as an important hub for literature and music. However, the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Trieste's union to Italy after World War I led to some decline of its "Mittel-European" cultural and commercial importance. Enjoying an economic revival during the 1930s and throughout the Cold War, Trieste was an important spot in the struggle between the Eastern and Western blocs. Today, the city is in one of the richest regions of Italy, and has been a great centre for shipping, through its port, shipbuilding and financial services.