From the Roman Military Camp to the End of the First Millenary - History of Vienna

Military camp

View on Vindobona

Roman Vindobona

Like many other cities of Continental Europe, Vienna originated in ancient Roman times. In the first century AD, the Romans set up a military camp, called Vindobona, which formed part of the large number of similar facilities along the Limes frontier. The camp was situated in what is today the core of the city. The course of the wall is reflected, to this day, in a series of very striking streets in the inner city. From the third century, there is evidence for a civilian settlement in the southeast, a little outside the camp. Much less is known about its layout and buildings, however, than about the camp. Neither of these facilities on the site of the present city had any significance within the ancient "cityscape" of Austria. The late 4th and 5th centuries began to see the dramatic decline not only of the Roman Empire in general but also of Vindobona in particular. Archaeological evidence provides information of a devastating fire in the storage area at the beginning of the 5th century.

Settlement

No written records have survived from the period between the 5th to 6th centuries and the 9th century to tell about the fate of this small settlement on the Danube. But research on the basis of archaeological and onomastic evidence suggests that we must assume that at least some "remainder settlement" continued to exist. The protection provided by the remnants of the ancient camp fortifications, which continued well into the 13th century, was made further use of. It may have been as early as the Carolingian period that the first churches were established in the area. Of course, it would be impossible to speak of a city or even urban structures, particularly in the light of the fact that the settlement, whose present name was first mentioned in 881, was to see turbulent times in the wake of the Magyar expansion, in the 9th and 10th centuries.

Römermuseum (Wien Museum)

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Municipal and provincial archives of Vienna (Municipal Department 8)
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