Austria the Republic of Austria, is a country in Central Europe comprising 9 federated states. Its capital, largest city and one of nine states is Vienna. Austria has an area of 83,879 km2, a population of nearly 9 million people and a nominal GDP of $477 billion, it is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north and Slovakia to the east and Italy to the south, Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west. The terrain is mountainous, lying within the Alps; the majority of the population speaks local Bavarian dialects as their native language, German in its standard form is the country's official language. Other regional languages are Hungarian, Burgenland Croatian, Slovene. Austria played a central role in European History from the late 18th to the early 20th century, it emerged as a margraviate around 976 and developed into a duchy and archduchy. In the 16th century, Austria started serving as the heart of the Habsburg Monarchy and the junior branch of the House of Habsburg – one of the most influential royal houses in history.
As archduchy, it was a major component and administrative centre of the Holy Roman Empire. Following the Holy Roman Empire's dissolution, Austria founded its own empire in the 19th century, which became a great power and the leading force of the German Confederation. Subsequent to the Austro-Prussian War and the establishment of a union with Hungary, the Austro-Hungarian Empire was created. Austria was involved in both world wars. Austria is a parliamentary representative democracy with a President as head of state and a Chancellor as head of government. Major urban areas of Austria include Graz, Linz and Innsbruck. Austria is ranked as one of the richest countries in the world by per capita GDP terms; the country has developed a high standard of living and in 2018 was ranked 20th in the world for its Human Development Index. The republic declared its perpetual neutrality in foreign political affairs in 1955. Austria has been a member of the United Nations since 1955 and joined the European Union in 1995.
It is a founding member of the OECD and Interpol. Austria signed the Schengen Agreement in 1995, adopted the euro currency in 1999; the German name for Austria, Österreich, derives from the Old High German Ostarrîchi, which meant "eastern realm" and which first appeared in the "Ostarrîchi document" of 996. This word is a translation of Medieval Latin Marchia orientalis into a local dialect. Another theory says that this name comes from the local name of the mountain whose original Slovenian name is "Ostravica" - because it is steep on both sides. Austria was a prefecture of Bavaria created in 976; the word "Austria" was first recorded in the 12th century. At the time, the Danube basin of Austria was the easternmost extent of Bavaria; the Central European land, now Austria was settled in pre-Roman times by various Celtic tribes. The Celtic kingdom of Noricum was claimed by the Roman Empire and made a province. Present-day Petronell-Carnuntum in eastern Austria was an important army camp turned capital city in what became known as the Upper Pannonia province.
Carnuntum was home for 50,000 people for nearly 400 years. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the area was invaded by Bavarians and Avars. Charlemagne, King of the Franks, conquered the area in AD 788, encouraged colonization, introduced Christianity; as part of Eastern Francia, the core areas that now encompass Austria were bequeathed to the house of Babenberg. The area was known as the marchia Orientalis and was given to Leopold of Babenberg in 976; the first record showing the name Austria is from 996, where it is written as Ostarrîchi, referring to the territory of the Babenberg March. In 1156, the Privilegium Minus elevated Austria to the status of a duchy. In 1192, the Babenbergs acquired the Duchy of Styria. With the death of Frederick II in 1246, the line of the Babenbergs was extinguished; as a result, Ottokar II of Bohemia assumed control of the duchies of Austria and Carinthia. His reign came to an end with his defeat at Dürnkrut at the hands of Rudolph I of Germany in 1278. Thereafter, until World War I, Austria's history was that of its ruling dynasty, the Habsburgs.
In the 14th and 15th centuries, the Habsburgs began to accumulate other provinces in the vicinity of the Duchy of Austria. In 1438, Duke Albert V of Austria was chosen as the successor to his father-in-law, Emperor Sigismund. Although Albert himself only reigned for a year, henceforth every emperor of the Holy Roman Empire was a Habsburg, with only one exception; the Habsburgs began to accumulate territory far from the hereditary lands. In 1477, Archduke Maximilian, only son of Emperor Frederick III, married the heiress Maria of Burgundy, thus acquiring most of the Netherlands for the family. In 1496, his son Philip the Fair married Joanna the Mad, the heiress of Castile and Aragon, thus acquiring Spain and its Italian and New World appendages for the Habsburgs. In 1526, following the Battle of Mohács, Bohemia and the part of Hungary not occupied by the Ottomans came under Austrian rule. Ottoman expansion into Hungary led to frequent conflicts between the two empires evident in the Long War of 1593 to 1606.
The Turks made incursions into Styria nearly 20 times, of which some are c
Freedom Party of Austria
The Freedom Party of Austria is a right-wing populist, national-conservative political party in Austria. The party, led by Heinz-Christian Strache, is a member of the Europe of Nations and Freedom group in the European Parliament, as well as of the Movement for a Europe of Nations and Freedom; the FPÖ was founded in 1956 as the successor to the short-lived Federation of Independents, representing the "Third Camp" of Austrian politics, i.e. pan-Germanists and national liberals opposed to both socialism and Catholic clericalism. The party's first leader was a former Nazi functionary and SS officer; the FPÖ, a third party with modest support, was admitted to the Liberal International in 1979 and participated in a government led by the Social Democratic Party, following the 1983 legislative election. When Jörg Haider was chosen as new FPÖ leader in 1986, the party started an ideological turn towards right-wing populism; this new political course soon resulted in a strong surge in electoral support, although it led the SPÖ to break ties.
In 1993, after a controversial proposal on immigration issues, the adherents of a position closer to classical liberalism broke away from the FPÖ and formed the Liberal Forum, which took over the FPÖ's membership in the LI and would eventually merge into NEOS. In the 1999 legislative election the FPÖ placed second and won 26.9% of the vote, its best-ever result in a nationwide election, for the first time came ahead of the Austrian People's Party by a small margin. The FPÖ reached a coalition agreement with the ÖVP in 2000, but ceded the chancellorship to the ÖVP to appease international opinion; the FPÖ soon became uncomfortable with governing and fell in the 2002 legislative election, in which it obtained only 10.0% of the vote. In 2005 increasing internal disagreements in the FPÖ led Haider and several leading members to defect and form the Alliance for the Future of Austria, which replaced the FPÖ as government partner. Since under Strache's leadership, the party has again attracted an increase in its popular support.
In the 2013 legislative election the FPÖ won 20.5% of the vote and, more it came ahead either of the SPÖ or the ÖVP in some state elections, entered in an SPÖ-led government in Burgenland and gained more than 30% of the vote in Vienna. In the 2016 presidential election, FPÖ member Norbert Hofer won the first round, receiving 35.1%, but was defeated by The Greens' candidate Alexander Van der Bellen, 53.8% against 46.2%, in the final run-off. In the nationwide 2017 legislative snap elections the FPÖ had the aim to finish first and make Strache chancellor, they gained to 26% of the vote, which meant a narrow third place, entered government as a junior partner in a coalition with the ÖVP, with ÖVP leader Sebastian Kurz as chancellor. Among other things, the party supports the unification of South Tyrol with Tyrol, therefore, the South Tyrolean secessionist movement, which notably includes its South Tyrolean sister party Die Freiheitlichen; the FPÖ is a descendant of the pan-German and national liberal camp dating back to the Revolutions of 1848 in the Habsburg areas.
During the interwar era, the national liberal camp fought against the mutually-hostile Christian Social and Marxist camps in their struggles to structure the new republic according to their respective ideologies. After a short civil war, the Federal State of Austria, an authoritarian Christian Social dictatorship, was established in 1934. By 1938, with the Anschluss of Austria into Nazi Germany, the national liberal camp had been swallowed whole by Austrian National Socialism and all other parties were absorbed into Nazi totalitarianism. Both Socialists and Christian Socials were persecuted under the Nazi regime, the national liberal camp was scarred after the war due to guilt by association with National Socialism. In 1949, the Federation of Independents was founded as a national liberal alternative to the main Austrian parties—the Social Democratic Party and the Austrian People's Party, successors to the interwar era Marxist and Christian Social parties; the VdU was founded by two liberal Salzburg journalists—former Nazi Germany prisoners—who wanted to stay clear of the mainstream socialist and Catholic camps and feared that hostility following the hastily devised postwar denazification policy might stimulate a revival of Nazism.
Aiming to become a political home to everyone not a member of the two main parties, the VdU incorporated an array of political movements—including free-market liberals, former Nazis and German nationalists, all of whom had been unable to join either of the two main parties. The VdU won 12% of the vote in the 1949 general election, but saw its support beginning to decline soon afterward, it evolved into the FPÖ by 1955/56 after merging with the minor Freedom Party in 1955. The first FPÖ party leader was Anton Reinthaller, a former Nazi Minister of Agriculture and SS officer, he had been asked by ÖVP Chancellor Julius Raab to take over the movement rather than let it be led by a more socialist-leaning group. While the majority of former Nazis had joined the two main parties in absolute numbers, they formed a gre
Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor
Ferdinand II, a member of the House of Habsburg, was Holy Roman Emperor, King of Bohemia, King of Hungary. He was the son of Archduke Charles II of Inner Austria, Maria of Bavaria. In 1590, his parents, who were devout Catholics, sent him to study at the Jesuits' college in Ingolstadt, because they wanted to isolate him from the Lutheran nobles. In the same year, he inherited Inner Austria—Styria, Carinthia and smaller provinces—from his father. Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor, the head of the Habsburg family, appointed regents to administer Inner Austria on behalf of the minor Ferdinand. Ferdinand was installed as the actual ruler of the Inner Austrian provinces in 1596 and 1597. Rudolph II charged him with the command of the defense of Croatia and southeastern Hungary against the Ottoman Empire, he regarded the regulation of religious issues as a royal prerogative and introduced strict Counter-Reformation measures from 1598. First, he ordered the expulsion of all Protestant pastors and teachers he established special commissions to restore the Catholic parishes.
The Ottomans captured Nagykanizsa in Hungary in 1600. A year Ferdinand tried to recapture the fortress, but the action ended with a defeat due to the unprofessional command of his troops in November 1601. During the first stage of the family feud known as the Brothers' Quarrel, Ferdinand supported Rudolph II's brother, who wanted to convince the melancholic Emperor to abdicate, but Matthias' concessions to the Protestants in Hungary and Bohemia outraged him, he planned an alliance to strengthen the position of the Catholic Church in the Holy Roman Empire, but the Catholic princes established the Catholic League without his participation in 1610. Philip III of Spain, the childless Matthias' nephew, acknowledged Ferdinand's right to succeed Matthias in Bohemia and Hungary in exchange for territorial concessions in 1617. Spain supported Ferdinand against the Republic of Venice during the Uskok War in 1617–18; the Diets of Bohemia and Hungary confirmed Ferdinand's position as Matthias' successor only after he had promised to respect the Estates' privileges in both realms.
The different interpretation of the Letter of Majesty, which summarized the Bohemian Protestants' liberties, gave rise to an uprising, known as the Second Defenestration of Prague on 23 May 1618. The Bohemian rebels established a provisional government, invaded Upper Austria and sought assistance from the Habsburgs' opponents. After Matthias' death on 20 March 1619, Ferdinand was elected Holy Roman Emperor, but the Protestant Bohemian Estates dethroned him and offered the crown to the Calvinist Frederick V of the Palatinate on 26 August; the Thirty Years' War had begun in 1618 as a result of inadequacies of his predecessors Rudolf II and Matthias. But Ferdinand's acts against Protestantism caused the war to engulf the whole empire; as a zealous Catholic, Ferdinand wanted to restore the Catholic Church as the only religion in the Empire and to wipe out any form of religious dissent. The war left the Holy Roman Empire devastated, its cities in ruins, its population took a century to recover. Born in the castle in Graz on 9 July 1578, Ferdinand was the son of Charles II, Archduke of Austria, Maria of Bavaria.
Charles II, the youngest son of Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor, had inherited the Inner Austrian provinces—Styria, Carniola, Fiume and parts of Istria and Friuli—from his father in 1564. Being a daughter of Albert V, Duke of Bavaria, by Charles II's sister Anna, Maria of Bavaria was her husband's niece, their marriage brought about a reconciliation between the two leading Catholic families of the Holy Roman Empire. They were devout Catholics, but Charles II had to grant concessions to his Lutheran subjects in 1572 and 1578 to secure the predominantly Protestant nobles and burghers' financial support for the establishment of a new defense system against the Ottoman Turks. Ferdinand's education was managed by his mother, he matriculated at the Jesuits' school in Graz at the age of 8. His separate household was set up three years later, his parents wanted to separate him from the Lutheran Styrian nobles and sent him to Ingolstadt to continue his studies at the Jesuits' college in Bavaria. Ferdinand chose Paul the Apostle's words—"To Those Who Fight Justly Goes the Crown"—as his personal motto before he left Graz in early 1590.
His parents asked William V, Duke of Bavaria, to oversee his education. Charles II died unexpectedly on 10 July 1590, he had named his wife, his brother Archduke Ferdinand II, their nephew Emperor Rudolph II, his brother-in-law Duke William V the guardians of Ferdinand. Maria and William V tried to secure the regency for her, but Rudolph II, the head of the Habsburg family, appointed his own brothers—first Ernest in 1592, in 1593, Maximilian III—to the post; the Estates of Inner Austria urged the Emperor to achieve Ferdinand's return from Bavaria, but Maria resisted and Ferdinand continued his studies at the Jesuits' university. Ferdinand and his maternal cousin, Maximilian I, were the only future European rulers who studied at a university in the late 16th century, he attended the classes, although his delicate health forced him to stay in his chamber. His religiosity was reinforced during his studies: he did not miss the Masses on Sundays and feast days and made pilgrimages to the Bavarian shrines.
Ferdinand completed his studies on 21 December 1594, but Rudolph II allowed him to return to Graz only two months later. Before leaving for his homeland, Ferdinand solemnly promised to support the university and the Jesuits. Ma
North railway (Austria)
The North railway is a two-track, electrified railway line that runs from Vienna, Austria to Břeclav, Czech Republic. It was built by the Emperor Ferdinand North Railway company as a part of the Warsaw-Vienna railway. Media related to north railway at Wikimedia Commons
Market town or market right is a legal term, originating in the Middle Ages, for a European settlement that has the right to host markets, distinguishing it from a village and city. On the European continent, a town may be described as a "market town" or as having "market rights" if it no longer holds a market, provided the legal right to do so still exists. In Britain it remains in common use as a loose descriptive term for small rural towns with a hinterland of villages, it is sometimes reflected in their names, as with Market Rasen, or Market Drayton. Modern markets are in special halls, but this is a recent development; the markets were open-air, held in what is called the market square, centred on a market cross. They were and are open one or two days a week; the primary purpose of a market town is the provision of goods and services to the surrounding locality. Although market towns were known in antiquity, their number increased from the 12th century. Market towns across Europe flourished with an improved economy, a more urbanised society and the widespread introduction of a cash-based economy.
The Domesday Book of 1086 lists 50 markets in England. Some 2,000 new markets were established between 1200 and 1349; the burgeoning of market towns occurred across Europe around the same time. Market towns most grew up close to fortified places, such as castles or monasteries, not only to enjoy their protection, but because large manorial households and monasteries generated demand for goods and services. Historians term these early market towns "prescriptive market towns" in that they may not have enjoyed any official sanction such as a charter, but were accorded market town status through custom and practice if they had been in existence prior to 1199. From a early stage and administrators understood that a successful market town attracted people, generated revenue and would pay for the town's defenses. From around the 12th century and European kings began granting charters to villages allowing them to create a market on specific days. Framlingham in Suffolk is a notable example of a market situated near a fortified building.
Additionally, markets were located where transport was easiest, such as at a crossroads or close to a river. When local railway lines were first built, market towns were given priority to ease the transport of goods. For instance, in Calderdale, West Yorkshire, several market towns close together were designated to take advantage of the new trains; the designation of Halifax, Sowerby Bridge, Hebden Bridge, Todmorden is an example of this. A number of studies have pointed to the prevalence of the periodic market in medieval towns and rural areas due to the localised nature of the economy; the marketplace was the accepted location for trade, social interaction, transfer of information and gossip. A broad range of retailers congregated in market towns – peddlers, hucksters, stallholders and other types of trader; some were professional traders occupied a local shopfront such as a bakery or alehouse, while others were casual traders who set up a stall or carried their wares around in baskets on market days.
Market trade supplied for the needs of local consumers whether they were visitors or local residents. Braudel and Reynold have made a systematic study of European market towns between the 13th and 15th century, their investigation shows that in regional districts markets were held once or twice a week while daily markets were common in larger cities. Over time, permanent shops began opening daily and supplanted the periodic markets, while peddlers or itinerant sellers continued to fill in any gaps in distribution; the physical market was characterised by transactional exchange and bartering systems were commonplace. Shops had higher overhead costs, but were able to offer regular trading hours and a relationship with customers and may have offered added value services, such as credit terms to reliable customers; the economy was characterised by local trading in which goods were traded across short distances. Braudel reports. However, following the European age of discovery, goods were imported from afar – calico cloth from India, porcelain and tea from China, spices from India and South-East Asia and tobacco, sugar and coffee from the New World.
The importance of local markets began to decline from the mid-16th century. Permanent shops which provided more stable trading hours began to supplant the periodic market. In addition, the rise of a merchant class led to the import and exports of a broad range of goods, contributing to a reduced reliance on local produce. At the centre of this new global mercantile trade was Antwerp, which by the mid-16th century, was the undisputed largest market town in Europe. A good number of local histories of individual market towns can be found. However, more general histories of the rise of market-towns across Europe are much more difficult to locate. Clark points out that while a good deal is known about the economic value of markets in local economies, the cultural role of market-towns has received scant scholarly attention. In Denmark, the concept of the market town has existed since the Iron Age, it is not known, the first Danish market town, but Hedeby and Ribe were among the first. Per 1801, there were 74 market towns in Denmark.
The last town to gain market rights was Skjern in 195
Archduke Charles, Duke of Teschen
Archduke Charles Louis John Joseph Laurentius of Austria, Duke of Teschen was an Austrian field-marshal, the third son of Emperor Leopold II and his wife, Maria Luisa of Spain. He was the younger brother of Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor. Despite being epileptic, Charles achieved respect both as a commander and as a reformer of the Austrian army, he was considered one of Napoleon's more formidable opponents. He began his career fighting the revolutionary armies of France. Early in the wars of the First Coalition, he saw victory at Neerwinden in 1793, before being defeated at Wattignies 1793 and Fleurus 1794. In 1796, as chief of all Austrian forces on the Rhine, Charles defeated Jean-Baptiste Jourdan at Amberg and Würzburg, won a victory at Emmendingen that forced Jean Victor Marie Moreau to withdraw across the Rhine, he defeated opponents at Zürich, Ostrach and Messkirch in 1799. He reformed Austria's armies to adopt the nation-at-arms principle. In 1809, he entered the War of the Fifth Coalition and inflicted Napoleon's first major setback at Aspern-Essling, before suffering a defeat at the bloody Battle of Wagram.
After Wagram, Charles saw no more significant action in the Napoleonic Wars. As a military strategist, Charles was able to execute complex and risky maneuvers of troops. However, his contemporary Carl von Clausewitz criticize his rigidity and adherence to "geographic" strategy. Austrians remember Charles as a hero of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars. Charles was born in Tuscany, his father Grand Duke of Tuscany, generously permitted Charles's childless aunt Archduchess Marie Christine of Austria and her husband Albert of Saxe-Teschen to adopt and raise the boy in Vienna. Charles spent his youth in Tuscany, at Vienna and in the Austrian Netherlands, where he began his career of military service in the wars of the French Revolution, he commanded a brigade at the Battle of Jemappes, in the campaign of 1793 distinguished himself at the Action of Aldenhoven and the Battle of Neerwinden. In this year he became Governor of the Habsburg Netherlands, an office he lost with the occupation of the Low Countries by the French revolutionaries in 1794.
The year he became Governor he received the army rank of Lieutenant Field Marshal. Shortly thereafter another promotion saw. In the remainder of the war in the Low Countries he held high commands, was present at the Battle of Fleurus. In 1795 he served on the Rhine, in the following year, he was entrusted with chief control of all the Austrian forces on that river, his conduct of the operations against Jourdan and Moreau in 1796 marked him out at once as one of the greatest generals in Europe. At first falling back and avoiding a decision, he marched away, leaving a mere screen in front of Moreau. Falling upon Jourdan, he beat him in the battles of Amberg and Würzburg, drove him over the Rhine with great loss, he turned upon Moreau's army, which he defeated and forced out of Germany. In 1797 he was sent to arrest the victorious march of General Bonaparte in Italy, he conducted the retreat of the over-matched Austrians with the highest skill. In the campaign of 1799 he once more opposed Jourdan, whom he defeated in the battles of Ostrach and Stockach, following up his success by invading Switzerland and defeating Masséna in the First Battle of Zurich, after which he re-entered Germany and drove the French once more over the Rhine.
Ill-health, forced him to retire to Bohemia, but he was soon recalled to undertake the task of checking Moreau's advance on Vienna. The result of the Battle of Hohenlinden had, foredoomed the attempt, the archduke had to make the armistice of Steyr, his popularity was now such that the Perpetual Diet of Regensburg, which met in 1802, resolved to erect a statue in his honor and to give him the title of savior of his country, but Charles refused both distinctions. In the short and disastrous war of 1805 Archduke Charles commanded what was intended to be the main army in Italy, but events made Germany the decisive theatre of operations. With the conclusion of peace he began his active work of army reorganization, first tested on the field in 1809. In 1806 Francis II named the Archduke Charles a field marshal, as Commander in Chief of the Austrian army and Head of the Council of War. Supported by the prestige of being the only general who had proved capable of defeating the French, he promptly initiated a far-reaching scheme of reform, which replaced the obsolete methods of the 18th century.
The chief characteristics of the new order were the adoption of the nation in arms principle and the adoption of French war organization and tactics. The army reforms were not yet completed by the war of 1809, in which Charles acted as commander in chief, yet so it proved a far more formidable opponent than the old and was only defeated after a desperate struggle involving Austrian victories and large loss of life on both sides, its initial successes were neutralized by the reverses of Abensberg and Eckmühl but, after the evacuation of Vienna, the archduke won a strong victory at the Battle of Aspern-Essling but soon afterwards lost at the Battle of Wagram. At the end of the campaign the archduke gave up all his military offices; when Austria joined the ranks of the allies during the War of the Sixth Coalition, Charles was not given a command and the post of commander-in-chie
Siege of Vienna
The Siege of Vienna in 1529 was the first attempt by the Ottoman Empire, led by Suleiman the Magnificent, to capture the city of Vienna, Austria. The siege came in the aftermath of the 1526 Battle of Mohács, which had resulted in the death of the King of Hungary and the descent of the kingdom into civil war, with rival factions supporting the Habsburg Archduke Ferdinand I of Austria and others supporting the Ottoman backed John Zápolya; the Ottoman attack on Vienna was part of their intervention into the Hungarian conflict, intended in the short term to secure Zápolya's position. Historians disagree in their interpretation of Ottoman long-term goals and regarding what motivations lay behind the choice of Vienna in particular as the target of the campaign; the failure of the siege marked the beginning of 150 years of bitter military tension and reciprocal attacks, culminating in a second siege of Vienna in 1683. There is speculation by some historians that Suleiman's main objective in 1529 was to assert Ottoman control over the whole of Hungary, the western part of, under Habsburg control.
The decision to attack Vienna after such a long interval in Suleiman's European campaign is viewed as an opportunistic manoeuvre after his decisive victory in Hungary. Other scholars theorise that the suppression of Hungary marked the prologue to a premeditated invasion of Europe. In August 1526, Sultan Suleiman I decisively defeated the forces of King Louis II of Hungary at the Battle of Mohács, paving the way for the Ottomans to gain control of south-eastern Hungary, his brother-in-law, Archduke Ferdinand I of Austria, brother of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, claimed the vacant Hungarian throne. Ferdinand won recognition only in western Hungary, thus Hungary became divided into Royal Hungary and Ottoman Hungary until 1700. Following the Diet of Pozsony on 26 October, Ferdinand was declared king of Royal Hungary due to the agreement between his and Louis's families, cemented by Ferdinand's marriage to Louis's sister Anna and Louis's marriage to Ferdinand's sister Mary. Ferdinand set out to enforce his claim on Hungary and captured Buda in 1527, only to relinquish his hold on it in 1529 when an Ottoman counter-attack stripped Ferdinand of all his territorial gains.
In the spring of 1529, Suleiman mustered a great army in Ottoman Bulgaria, with the aim of securing control over all of Hungary and reducing the threat posed at his new borders by Ferdinand I and the Holy Roman Empire. Estimates of Suleiman's army vary from 120,000 to more than 300,000 men, as mentioned by various chroniclers; as well as numerous units of Sipahi, the elite mounted force of the Ottoman cavalry, thousands of janissaries, the Ottoman army incorporated a contingent from Moldavia and renegade Serbian warriors from the army of John Zápolya. Suleiman acted as the commander-in-chief, in April he appointed his Grand Vizier, a Greek former slave called Ibrahim Pasha, as Serasker, a commander with powers to give orders in the sultan's name. Suleiman faced numerous obstacles from the onset; the spring rains that are characteristic of south-eastern Europe and the Balkans were heavy that year, causing flooding in Bulgaria and rendering parts of the route used by the army passable. Many large-calibre cannons and artillery pieces became hopelessly mired or bogged down, leaving Suleiman no choice but to abandon them, while camels brought from the empire's Eastern provinces, not used to the difficult conditions, were lost in large numbers.
Sickness and poor health became common among the janissaries, claiming many lives along the perilous journey. Suleiman arrived in Osijek on 6 August. On the 18th he reached the Mohács plain, to be greeted by a substantial cavalry force led by John Zápolya, who paid him homage and helped him recapture several fortresses lost since the Battle of Mohács to the Austrians, including Buda, which fell on 8 September; the only resistance came at Pozsony, where the Turkish fleet was bombarded as it sailed up the Danube. As the Ottomans advanced towards Vienna, the city's population organised an ad-hoc resistance formed from local farmers and civilians determined to repel the inevitable attack; the defenders were supported by a variety of European mercenaries, namely German Landsknecht pikemen and Spanish musketeers sent by Charles V. The Hofmeister of Austria, Wilhelm von Roggendorf, assumed charge of the defensive garrison, with operational command entrusted to a seventy-year-old German mercenary named Nicholas, Count of Salm, who had distinguished himself at the Battle of Pavia in 1525.
Salm arrived in Vienna as head of the mercenary relief force and set about fortifying the three-hundred-year-old walls surrounding St. Stephen's Cathedral, near which he established his headquarters. To ensure the city could withstand a lengthy siege, he blocked the four city gates and reinforced the walls, which in some places were no more than six feet thick, erected earthen bastions and an inner earthen rampart, levelling buildings where necessary to clear room for defences; the Ottoman army that arrived in late September had been somewhat depleted during the long advance into Austrian territory, leaving Suleiman short of camels and heavy artillery. Many of his troops arrived at Vienna in a poor state of health after the tribulations of a long march through the thick of the European wet season. Of those fit to fig