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After the Turkish siege of Vienna was broken in 1683 King Jan Sobieski III of Poland paraphrased the famous quote from Julius Caesar. Jan Sobieski led the largest cavalry charge in history, 18,000 horsemen attacked and routed the Ottoman forces outside Vienna. There have been 13 attempts to build a monument to Jan Sobieski and the Polish Winged Hussars in Vienna. It now looks like this last attempt will fail.
The story from The First News:
The foundation stone for the monument in Vienna was laid six years ago on the 330th anniversary of the battle. The unveiling of the monument was planned for 12 September 2018 on the 335th anniversary of the relief of Vienna.
However, last July, the new mayor of Vienna, Michael Ludwig, announced that he was withdrawing from the project.
Piotr Zapart, initiator of the project and chairman of the monument’s organising committee said in an interview with radio station RMF FM, “We had all the agreements in place; the cooperation with Vienna, as well as with Kraków was great; there was a signed agreement between the Mayor of the Kraków, Jacek Majchrowski, and the Mayor of Vienna, Michael Häupel.
“On 11 July, President Jacek Majchrowski and I were invited to meet the new mayor Michael Ludwig. And there we were told that a new committee had said that the monument did not meet the artistic standards, was archaic and therefore Vienna withdrew its consent.”
In its letter to the organising committee, the authorities in Vienna, fearing that the monument may be perceived as anti-Turkish, stated that it was not an appropriate time to erect military monuments.
The monument’s creator Czesław Dźwigaj said that the eight-metre long work weighing three tonnes featuring Sobieski on a horse does not feature any Turkish or Islamic symbols.
He also pointed out that in Vienna there are two monuments of Crimean Tartars who took part in the relief of Vienna and fought alongside Sobieski.
The statue is now resting on a flatbed trailer in Krakow. Fortunately for the residents of Vienna, as well as the rest of Southern Europe, Jan Sobieski chose not to rest in Krakow 336 years ago.
Perhaps the Mayor of Vienna could ask Pope Francis to send a statue of Pachamama to grace Vienna, one that could not be tossed into a river.