The capital city of Austria started as a modest Celtic settlement in 500 BC and around 15 BC the Romans had a fortified military camp here called Vindabona.
For centuries the House of Babenberg ruled till that family line became extinct and the House of Habsberg took over in 1246. The city was the unofficial capital of the Holy Roman Empire. Under Habsberg rule Vienna florished and grew into Europe's grand cultural center.
Ottoman armies were stopped at the city gates twice, the last time in the 1683 Battle of Vienna.
After Napoleon's defeat the European powers convened at the Congress of Vienna and, between the elegant dances, redrew the map of the continent.
Towards the end of WWII the city saw heavy fighting between Russian and German forces. The victors divided Vienna into four sectors and it was not till 1955 before Austria, with Vienna as its capital, became an independent state again.
Presently Vienna has largely regained its stature by hosting many international institutions and congresses and the city is a gateway to the Eastern European neighbours.
Vienna's long and rich history is reflected in its many buildings and monuments, the must-sees are the imperial summer residency Schloss Schonbrunn, Prince Eugen's Baroque Schloss Belvedere, the inner city with the St Stevens Cathedral and of course the 120 years old Ferris wheel in the Prater park.