For the past two months, the Turks, commanded by the grand vizier Kara Mustafa laid siege to Vienna. They have ravaged the suburbs and the surrounding countryside. As in 1529, when Suleiman the Magnificent had tried to invest the capital of the archiduché of Austria, they dig tunnels under the ramparts to the miner.

The defenders, some seventeen thousand men, led by count Ernst Rüdiger von Starhemberg, the governor of the city, were able to repel three assaults, but they are exhausted by sleepless nights and deprivations while an epidemic of dysentery fell on the city danube. The mayor of Vienna, Andreas von Liebenberg, was one of the first victims.

The golden Apple John III Sobieski at the siege of Vienna, painting by Jerzy Eleuter Szymonowicz Siemiginowski. Rue des Archives/Rue des Archives/Tallandier

In the early morning of 12 September, as all the days that God made, Starhemberg, scans the horizon. If the imperial army commanded by Charles of Lorraine, supported by the troops of the king of Poland John III Sobieski, does not intervene in the coming days, the governor knows that he will not be able to hold out for longer. And where Suleiman had failed, the vizier will hit Vienna.

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The Turks call it the golden Apple. For the Ottomans, the city has become a true obsession. They think that if they manage to take the residence of the emperor, all of Europe will fall like a house of cards. And muslim universalism will triumph finally to that of the christian.

Suddenly the count Ernst seems to be seen on the heights of the Kahlenberg strange reflections that shimmer. He closes his eyes. The écarquille again, takes a long-view. He can no more doubt. The army’s long-awaited took position on the hill of Kahlenberg!

At the same time, in the little church of the mont Chauve, in the Middle Ages was called mount of the wild Boar, the capuchin Marco d’aviano, legate of the pope, with John Sobieski and Charles of Lorraine, comes to celebrate the mass. An atmosphere of crusade reign among the fighters christians who have the same feeling as the Ottomans. If the lock of Vienna jumps, all is lost.

Among the military seasoned, a very young man, of fragile constitution, after impatience. He is twenty years old and it has just arrived in France to put itself at the service of the emperor Leopold I. Charmed by his enthusiasm, the sovereign was immediately incorporated in the army of Charles of Lorraine. Prince Eugene of Savoy-Carignan will serve under the orders of the margrave of Baden.

Drive outside of Europe the infidels

His family, he was destined to an ecclesiastical career. Since the age of nine years he had been tonsured and wore the cassock. But at nineteen years old he announced that he was going to join the army. Doubting nothing, Eugene asked the king of France to command a company. Louis XIV, finding it a bit too sure of himself, or even insolent, refused. Gnawing his brake, Eugene continued his training officer, but when he learned that the Ottomans marched on Vienna, by night, he left Paris to join the archiduché of Austria.

through the Wienerwald, the order is finally given to walk after the enemy. The military is troubling. The fight is soon hired. It will last for a good part of the day and ended in the total defeat of the Ottomans. The grand vizier has fled.

In Vienna devastated but overjoyed, John Sobieski, Charles of Lorraine, the electors of Saxony and Bavaria make with all the officers in the St. Stephen’s cathedral to give thanks to God for their victory. Eugene of Savoy-Carignan, who had distinguished himself by his ardour receives a citation from the house of Lorraine and that of the emperor.

As in the past in Spain, it was no longer in Austria than in Reconquista to drive out of Europe the infidels. They occupy a large part of Hungary and all the lands of the slavic peoples of the South. The prince Eugene is of all battles. On the 14th of December 1683 he was promoted to colonel and given command of the regiment of dragons of Kufstein, which bear now the name of “dragons of Savoy”.

To his head the young man participated in the siege of the stronghold of Buda. At the end of the year 1685, Eugene was appointed maréchal de camp. He was twenty-two years. And only one passion, the war. It does not discover any other, that later, the construction of a palace in Vienna.


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