History of Vienna
May we take you back in time for a moment, leaving present-day Vienna and going back to Babenberg times, or even further back to ancient times, when the Romans founded their Vindobona...
(note: for the "newer" history refer to here)
Archaeological artefacts found in and around the city give evidence that the area has been populated at least during Neolithic times (the most famous sculpture is the Venus von Willendorf that dates back to 25000 BC). Favourable climate and fertile soil as well as the near Danube river promoted these settlements.
Celts and Romans
A fortified Celtic settlement at the premises of nowaday Vienna was founded around 500 BC and was known as Vedunia. Around 15 BC Vienna came under Roman dominance and was from then on (known as Vindobona) dedicated as a frontier city to guard the external borders of the Roman Empire against tribes settling north of the Danube. In 180 BC the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius died in the city during a military campaign.
After the Romans had been driven out during the invasion of the barbarians in the 5th century, the Langobards seized control of the region, followed by the Slavic and Avar peoples, which in turn were kicked out by the Magyars a couple of decades later.
Early Middle Ages
The Magyars were defeated by Otto I, a German king, after which the Babenberg dynasty made Vienna their residence within the Markgrafschaft Ostarrichi in 976. The country prospered and was made a duchy in 1156 (Privilegium Minus). In these times the Schottenstift - which is still around these days - was founded.
After the death of Friedrich II, the last Babenberg heir in 1246, the country was seized by the Bohemian king Ottokar, who alienated the German nobility with this move. Rudolf I was elected king and defeated Ottokar in a large battle in 1278, which gave him power over the Austrian lands and established a centuries-long reign of the Habsburg dynasty.
Rise of the Habsburgs
Developing in peaceful times under the Habsburg rule, the city gains reputation with the foundation of the Vienna University (lat: Alma Mater Rudolphina) in 1365 by Rudolf IV., which makes it one of the oldest universities in Europe. Vienna eventually became capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1556 after the Habsburgs had gained Hungary and Bohemia.
In 1529, Ottoman forces under Suleiman I. laid siege on Vienna, but the attempt so seize the city was thwarted by the far outnumbered defenders. In 1683 the City was besieged once again by a large army led by Kara Mustafa. After 2 months a Polish relief army under Jan III Sobieski was able to defeat the Ottomans decicively.
During the following decades, the Ottoman Empire was pushed back far to the Balcans, thus allowing Vienna to prosper in peace. Substantial building projects were carried out by famous architects such as Fischer von Erlach and Lukas von Hildebrandt and after overcoming extensive plague epidemics in 1679 and 1713, the city quickly grew to about 200.000 inhabitants by 1790.
We hope you enjoy the visit on this site and your time in Vienna!