The city of Vienna has kind of an odd but prominent place in Ottoman history. It was never part of the empire, but two Ottoman attempts to conquer it bookend the period of the empire’s greatest territorial reach and military power. The second of those attempts, the 1683 Battle of Vienna, serves as the empire’s high water mark, after which it began shedding territory. Today is the anniversary of the end of the 1529 Siege of Vienna, the first time the Ottomans tried to capture the city. While it, too, failed, its failure didn’t signal a decline in Ottoman power so much as it defined the empire’s territorial limits and led to a period of relative stasis in eastern and central Europe. It was also the first major battle of the centuries-long rivalry between the Ottomans and the Habsburgs, a rivalry that defined much of European history.
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