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From border garrison of the Roman Empire to magnificent Baroque seat of the Hapsburgs, Vienna's fortunes swung between survival and expansion. By the late nineteenth century it had become the western capital of the sprawling Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, but the twentieth century saw it degraded to a 'hydrocephalus' cut off from its former economic hinterland. After the inglorious Nazi interlude, Vienna began the long climb back to the prosperous and cultivated city of 1.7 million inhabitants that it is today. Subjected to constant infusions of new, Vienna has both assimilated and resisted cultural influences from outside, creating its own sui generis culture.