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The Siege of Vienna led by King John III Sobieski. Public domain

Monument to famous Siege of Vienna halted

Officials in Vienna have decided not to erect a previously commissioned statue of Polish King Jan III Sobieski, the savior of Vienna in 1683.

Published: November 26, 2019, 7:33 am

    Vienna

    The hero was to have been commemorated with the statue, which would have stood on the Kahlenberg, on high terrain close to Vienna from which he launched his charge against the Turks to relieve the siege of Vienna.

    The statue, which was created by a Polish sculptor, has now been returned to Poland and is on display in Krakow. It was said to be too “controversial”. The Turks lost the battle at the Gates of Vienna 334 years ago.

    Austrian daily, Kronen Zeitung that the Battle of Vienna, September 12, 1683, had ended in a crushing defeat of the besieging Turkish army. Since 2013 it has been planned to erect a monument to the leader of the relieving army, King Jan III Sobieski. But the project has been halted.

    The first “draft” was rejected by the monument committee, and its foundation on the Kahlenberg heights remains empty.

    The groundbreaking ceremony for the monument to the courageous and canny leader took place in 2013, and the foundation has been ready on the Kahlenberg for months now. Jan III Sobieski (1629-1696) was to be honored for his immense contribution to the rescue of Vienna from the approach of the Turkish army under Grand Vizier Kara Mustafa.

    Sobieski mobilized 27 000 men, and with his hussars led a decisive cavalry charge on the elite troops of the Grand Vizier. The Turks, who had killed thousands of people in the burning of Vienna’s surrounding areas alone, fled.

    Polish media reported however that the City of Vienna has rejected the design, and a new statue is to be designed. The spokesperson for the mayor of Vienna confirmed this.

    “The Advisory Council for monuments and memorials has commented on the design. The City of Vienna is still committed to the monument.” The first design is to be revised and installed on the existing foundation on the coming anniversary.

    Johann Gudenus of the FPÖ, the Austrian Freedom Party, noted: “If this delaying tactic to show consideration for Turkish voters succeeds, it would be a scandal… The Poles are just as in the dark about this as we are: why has the City of Vienna slammed the brakes on this project.”

    The mayor’s office “guarantees that there will be a new draft for the statue” and this monument will be erected “of course on the Kahlenberg”.

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