Linz was a fortified Celtic village when the Romans took over and named it Lentia. By the 8th century, when the town came under Bavaria’s rule, its name had changed to Linze, and by the 13th century it was an important trading town for raw materials out of Styria. In 1489 Linz became the imperial capital under Friedrich III until his death in 1493.

Like much of Upper Austria, Linz was at the forefront of the Protestant movement in the 16th and 17th centuries. With the Counter-Reformation, however, Catholicism made a spectacular comeback. The city’s resurgence in the 19th century was largely due to the development of the railway, when Linz became an important junction.

Adolf Hitler was born in nearby Braunau am Inn and spent his school days here. His Nazi movement built massive iron and steel works, which still employ many locals. After WWII Linz was at the border between the Soviet- and US-administered zones. Since 1955, Linz has flourished into an important industrial city, port and provincial capital.