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The First Ottoman Siege of Vienna

After the fall of Buda/Ofen on September 11, 1529 Sultan Suleiman led an Ottoman army up to the gates of Vienna, where they arrived on September 24. By the time Suleiman reached Vienna in late September, heavy rains and bad roads (coupled with the Habsburgs’ closure of the Danube) had forced him to leave most of his heavy artillery behind in Belgrade.

Vienna was protected by medieval fortifications built in the middle of the thirteenth century, but only 17,000 men defended the city against an Ottoman army of over 200,000, half of whom were combat troops. The lack of heavy artillery forced the Ottomans to dig tunnels and fill them with gunpowder in order to destroy Vienna’s medieval walls. However, as the siege dragged on the huge Ottoman army faced supply shortages and these difficulties exacerbated by bad weather. After a major final assault on October 12 had failed, Suleiman decided to withdraw.

Matthias Pfaffenbichler

© KHM-Museumsverband, Wissenschaftliche Anstalt öffentlichen Rechts.
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