Vienna History: view of Vienna from Josefstadt, 1690

Vienna History – 11 Key Milestones You Need To Know

Vienna history. Whether you plan a trip to my hometown, work on a school report or simply want to fill a gap in your knowledge of European history: Knowing the key events in Vienna’s history will help you understand the fabric of politics and culture in Austria’s capital and beyond.

Vienna history: 'Heil Hitler' objects at Vienna's Military MuseumWar, glamour, and diplomacy run through the key stages of local history, in this particular order. Learn how we changed from an Empire running an absolutistic monarchy to a small democracy running an international hub for diplomacy.

I have sliced Vienna’s history into 11 key historic facts that shaped local life, and in part influenced Central Europe. Some of the stories are coloured with my own family’s past, for example life in Vienna during the Second Republic, followig World War II.

My top three history and heritage tours in town, run by historians and super knowledgable licensed tour guides: Vienna – City of Many Pasts; Vienna’s Ringstrasse Walk With A Historian; and Modern History and Judaism;

1. Roman Vienna

Romans Set Up New Military Camp Vindobona Close to The Danube. Even Emperor Marcus Aurelius spent some time there – Roman Vienna

2. Richard Lionheart

King Richard Lionheart Captured in Vienna by Austrian Count. He was later imprisoned in a castle in one of the most picturesque parts of the Danube – Richard Lionheart

3. Siege of Vienna

In 1529, Ottoman Sultan Suleiman decides to conquer the ‘Golden Apple’, as Vienna was called. More under Siege of Vienna.

4. Battle of Vienna

More than 150 years after their first attempt, the Turks strike again in the Battle of Vienna in 1683.

5. French Wars

Why does Schönbrunn Palace have a Napoleon room? What Napoleon did in Vienna during the French Wars.

6. Congress of Vienna

Many of the roots of Europe’s political territories lie in the famous Congress of Vienna that restructured Europe and provided much of its current shape.

7. Metternich 1848

One of the most powerful politicians in 19th century Europe was Prince Metternich. Learn in Metternich 1848 how the Habsburg’s illustrous chancellor ran an absolutistic regime that provoked a rare revolution in Vienna.

8. Fin de Siècle Vienna

Probably the most radical era in Viennese history, the period between 1890 and 1918 turned the city and country upside down. When radical ideas in politics, society, art, architecture and music reached their heights, the Habsburg Empire crumbled. Find out about the key highlights of Fin de Siècle Vienna and how you can connect with them when in Vienna.

9. Austria’s First Republic

While the Habsburg Empire and World War I are widely known, the Austria’s First Republic that came after deserves more attention. Read what life in Vienna was like during the period that prepared for a warm welcome of Adolf Hitler.

10. Austria’s Second Republic

What was it like to grow up in Vienna after World War II? My mother was a little girl then. Many of her stories have flown into this personal account of Vienna during the Austria’s Second Republic.

11. United Nations Headquarters

Having lost an Empire and two world wars, Austria made an effort to save itself from falling into political insignificance while stabilising its neutral status. Read how the United Nations Headquarters in Vienna came about and which international institutions you can find there today.

The World Of The Habsburgs

Vienna history. The history of the Habsburgs is an absolutely fantastic source of information on the seven-century-reign of this dynasty in Austria and across Europe. This very visual award-winning virtual exhibition The World of the Habsburgs creates an intriguing puzzle of the Habsburgs and the historic epochs they lived in.

My favourite tool is the timeline which connects Habsburg members with historic objects, events, locations, society, economy and art history. Highly recommended.

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