Siege of Vienna (04:12)
The Viennese held out against the Turkish army in 1683. Count von Starhemberg knew Christian Europe was at stake. Grand Vizier Mustafa Pasha had to conquer Vienna before the winter; despite underground mines and cannons, he could not breach its walls.
Ottoman Empire (02:19)
After two months of siege, the Viennese were short of supplies and exhausted. Learn about the Turkish tribe that conquered the near East and Balkans.
Fall of Constantinople (04:17)
Mohammed prophesized Muslim conquest of the Byzantine capital famous for its wealth. In 1453, Sultan Mehmed II used artillery to breach the city walls.
Ottoman Rule of Constantinople (05:39)
The Ottomans justified expansion through the jihad concept. Learn about the 1453 massacre of Christians in the Hagia Sophia, later converted to a mosque. Mehmed II practiced religious tolerance.
Christian Religious Divisions (02:27)
After 1453, the Ottoman Empire expanded into Europe. Martin Luther challenged the Catholic Church in Worms. Charles V was occupied by defending the Holy Roman Empire against the Turks.
Turkish Threat (02:50)
The Ottomans first attacked Vienna in 1529—led by Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. Early snowfall forced him to abandon the siege. Catholics and Protestants reunited against the common enemy.
Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq (05:36)
The Habsburgs and Ottomans maintained diplomatic relations. In 1554, an ambassador traveled to Istanbul for peace talks. He was impressed by Topkapi Palace and wrote about Turkish culture and technology. Learn about harem rivalries and fratricide.
Attempts at Peace (01:47)
In 1562, de Busbecq signed a cease-fire with the Ottomans. Suleiman wanted tribute, and did not plan to keep the agreement.
Thirty Years' War (02:19)
Emperor Ferdinand II planned to suppress the Reformation and restore Church unity. In 1618, a conflict began that depopulated entire regions and fragmented the Holy Roman Empire. The 1648 Treaty of Westphalia prevented future wars over religion.
Defending Vienna (03:00)
In September 1683, Starhemberg deployed all his forces to the city walls; learn about their engineering. Mustafa believed the "golden apple" would fall in a day. The Viennese managed to detect Ottoman tunnels and prevent mines from exploding.
Preparing for Holy War (02:40)
Starhemberg sent an appeal to Christian allies. Polish King John Sobieski agreed to support the Habsburgs and attack the Ottomans outside Vienna. Both sides prayed before the final battle.
Battle of Vienna (03:03)
Polish forces attacked the Ottomans outside Vienna. Mustafa fled to save the Ottoman Army. The defeat marked a turning point; the Turks lost territory in the Balkans and the Europeans gained equal military and political ground.
Shifting Empires (03:26)
The Age of Exploration increased European power; Western civilization modernized while the Ottomans focused on traditional values and gradually lost territory. In 1923, Turkey was founded and underwent reforms, including secularization and modernization. Today, there is an Islamic renaissance.
Credits: The Turks at the Gates of Vienna (00:29)
Credits: The Turks at the Gates of Vienna
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