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A Glimpse into

From the Romans to Mozart, Viennese history has been shaped by many non-natives over the centuries, but this has contributed to the city’s present-day cosmopolitan feel. Explore the fascinating history of the Austrian capital in our interactive timeline.


0-100 AD

Vindobona was established in the 1st century AD as a Roman army base, and was a strategic stronghold in the Empire’s wars with the Gaols and Germanic tribesmen. It wasn’t, however, the biggest settlement in the region; the capital of the province was Pannonia, some 12 miles south on the River Danube.

The Romans establish Vindobona


Richard the Lionheart is captured in Vienna

After pushing north from Italy and Iberia, the Romans established the defensive city of Vindobona on the border of the empire in around 15BC. This frontier city became an important defence against the Germanic tribes of the north.


The history of Schönbrunn Palace began in the Middle Ages, when a country manor and abbey were established on the site of the Katterburg estate. In the coming centuries, the estate would eventually fall into the possession of the Habsburgs, who constructed the incredible palace we see today.

The legacy of Schönbrunn begins


The Habsburgs reign from the Hofburg

Having risen to power in the 14th century, the powerful Habsburg dynasty made Vienna their stronghold, establishing the Hofburg Palace in the 15th century. From here, the sovereigns of Austria ruled for over 600 years, first as rulers of patrimonial lands, then as emperors of the Holy Roman Empire, and finally as the imperial emperors of Austria.


The Siege of Vienna

In the early 16th century, Sultan Suleiman laid siege to Vienna, seeking to claim the ‘Golden Apple’ of Europe for the Ottoman Empire. The city was besieged for three weeks, before Suleiman was forced to withdraw his troops. The Ottomans tried again three years later, but that too resulted in failure – making Vienna one of the few capitals in central Europe not to have been influenced by Ottoman rule.


Mozart relocates to Vienna

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart relocated to Vienna from his hometown of Salzburg in 1781, aged just 25. There, he spent his most prolific years as a composer, writing many of his most esteemed works and playing in the city’s iconic venues, including the Hofburg, Schönbrunn Palace and the National Library. He is buried in the city’s atmospheric Cemetery of St Marx.


Napoleon defeats Vienna at the Battle of Austerlitz

French statesman and military leader Napoleon Bonaparte defeated the rulers of Austria at the Battle of Austerlitz in 1805, and would later spend time at Schönbrunn Palace. It’s for this reason that the palace is home to the popular ‘Napoleon Room’.


Vienna and the Fin de Siècle

When the lauded Fin de Siècle movement swept across Europe in the late 19th century, it had a huge impact on Vienna and its historic ruling classes. With the roots of modernism sewn throughout art, music, writing and science coming to the fore, the city was transformed by a series of drastic reforms which would leave the ancient House of Habsburg battered and irrelevant – paving the way for a republic.


Vienna in the War Years

With the Habsburg left in tatters after WWI, the roaring twenties brought new life to the Austrian Republic. However, this wasn’t to last, with Vienna gripped by Nazism throughout WWII.

Vienna today

Today, Vienna is revered as one of Europe’s most beautiful cities, providing an architectural showcase which encompasses the Medieval, the Baroque, and Viennese Classicism. In 2001, much of the historic city received UNESCO World Heritage Site status, and this, coupled with its wonderful arts heritage and café culture, make it one of the true highlights of the Danube.