Kulchitsky at the Battle of Vienna 1683

The Cossacks joined forces with the Austrian and Polish troops who were also outside the city, and together they waited for an opportune time to attack. But before such an attack could be made, an understanding as to the time of the attack had to be made between the allied forces and the besieged Viennese. The attack had to be simultaneous from within the city and from without of it to succeed at all.

Some one from the city had to steal through the Turkish encampment, get to the allied forces and notify them when the joint attack was to be made.

Of the few who volunteered to undertake this exceedingly dangerous task, a Ukrainian trader and former Cossack, who at that time happened to be in Vienna, was chosen. His name was George Kulchitsky. He was chosen chiefly because he could easily pass for a Turk since he had previously spent ten years in Turkey, where he ran a coffee house.

Stealing out of the city walls on August 13th, Kulchitsky boldly started to walk through the huge Turkish camp, consisting of over 25,000 tents, singing various Turkish ditties and songs with which he was well acquainted. This impudence nearly proved to be his undoing, for his singing attracted the attention of a high Turkish officer, who, liking Kulchitsky’s singing, asked him to step into his tent and entertain him further. After treating him with some coffee, the Turkish officer asked Kulchitsky who he was. Kulchitsky, without losing any of his equanimity replied that he was a Turkish buyer, who had joined the Turkish forces in order to perhaps run across some good business. He convinced the Turk so well that the latter even advised him how to get some business.

In this manner did Kulchitsky, principally because of his coolness and courage in the face of danger and because of his brazen effrontery, manage to reach the Ukrainian Cossacks and their allies, deliver his message, and then return the same way back to Vienna on the 17th of August. The rest is a matter of common knowledge. As a reward for his bravery Kulchitsky was awarded the huge stores of coffee which the Turks in their hurry had left. The Christians did not want it since in those days very few of them drank coffee.

With this coffee Kulchitsky opened up the first coffee house in Europe, which with the passage of time, grew to be very popular with the Viennese, and in Europe as well. Today, this original coffee house of Kulchitsky’s still stands on the same spot in Vienna.

More: http://www.ukrweekly.com/old/archive/1933/013307.shtml

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