The High Middle Ages

The High Middle Ages

To the Holy Land via the Danube

In the age of the Crusades, the Danube was accorded a less peaceful role as a military highway. From the 11th to the 13th century, crowds of pilgrims, not all of whom were motivated by purely pious intentions, rolled down the river to get to the Holy Land via the Balkans and Asia Minor. Regensburg served as an assembly point for the crusaders. The Steinerne Brücke, or stone bridge, which was completed in 1146, made it possible for the formidable host to cross the river rapidly. In 1189, Emperor Frederick Barbarossa set himself at the head of the Third Crusade. In Regensburg, he boarded Danube ships together with his royal household, while ahead of them, barges carrying provisions, tents and weapons glided down the Danube. The land army marched onwards along the right bank of the river. From Vienna, at that time already the Babenbergs’ town of residence, the Hohenstaufen emperor set off eastwards again. The magnificent festivities on the Danube left a deep impression on contemporary witnesses. However, only a few crusaders actually reached their intended destination in the Promised Land, and still fewer returned home.

King Richard the Lionheart
Crusaders and traders
Knights, castles and minstrels
The Nibelungs on the Danube
The Wittelsbachs found Danube towns
Linz, supremely privileged by the Habsburgs
Vienna becomes the capital of Austria
Route suggestions for drivers