700 Club Special
About the Siege of Vienna in 1529 ...
The 700 Club
• During the siege, the defense of Vienna was led by a 70-year-old German mercenary name Nicolas von Salm. During the siege, he was wounded by a falling rock and died a few months later. Von Salm’s brilliant defense of Vienna was considered his greatest achievement.
• The spring and summer of 1529 were unusually wet, creating a nearly impossible journey for the Ottomans, used to a warm, dry climate. Thousands of Ottoman camels were lost when they broke their legs and had to be slaughtered. Suleiman’s Grand Vizier, Ibrahim Pasha urged the sultan to turn back; however, Suleiman pressed on, saying, "It is beneath my dignity to allow the weather to interfere with my plans."
• The elite Ottoman Janissary corps were formed from prisoners of war and slaves, many of them kidnapped Christian young men.
• Dozens of Austrians wearing black cloaks and armed with homemade bombs, sneaked into the Ottoman camps, tossing their bombs into tents and making their escape. As a result, nearly 2,000 Turks died in their sleep. Some war historians believe this may have been the first use of the Molotov cocktail.
• When the Viennese raided the abandoned Turkish camps outside the city, they found bags filled with coffee beans - their first appearance in Europe - which were used by the Turks as a stimulant, since alcohol was forbidden. The drink caught on, and coffee soon became a European sensation.
• The failed Siege of Vienna is considered the beginning of the decline of the Ottoman Empire.
• To commemorate the defeat of the Turks, Maximilian II, Holy Roman Emperor built a leisure palace, Neugebäude Palace, outside Vienna, on the site where Sultan Suleiman pitched his tent in1529. However, Maximilian died in 1576 before the palace was completed.
About Suleiman the Magnificent…
• Suleiman was named after King Solomon of Israel and considered himself the “second Solomon.”
• Europeans called him “The Magnificent,” but to the Ottomans, he was known as “The Lawgiver” for his codification of Islamic law.
• Suleiman often referred to himself as the “Caesar of Rome.” His ultimate goal was to invade Rome, a dream that died when he was defeated at Vienna in 1529.
• The current Old City walls in Jerusalem were built by Suleiman on the foundations of the first-century walls.
• Suleiman had several Christians in his inner circle. His favorite concubine, Hürrem Sultan, who later became his wife, was the daughter of a Greek Orthodox priest. Suleiman’s boyhood friend, advisor and ultimately Grand Vizier, Pargalı Ibrahim Pasha, was a Christian Greek.
• The reign of Suleiman is regarded as the height of Ottoman culture and history.
About St. Stephen’s Cathedral…
• St. Stephen’s Cathedral (German: Stephansdom) was dedicated in 1147, but has been undergoing renovations and additions almost continually since then.
• It was at St. Stephen’s that the composer Ludwig van Beethoven discovered the totality of his deafness when he saw birds flying out of the bell tower as a result of the bells' tolling… but could not hear the bells.
• Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart had a lifelong relationship with the cathedral, including the fact that he had been appointed an adjunct music director there shortly before his death. This was his parish church when he lived at the "Figaro House," he was married there, two of his children were baptized there, and his funeral was held in the Chapel of the Cross inside.
• During World War II, St. Stephen's Cathedral was saved from intentional destruction at the hands of retreating German forces when Captain Gerhard Klinkicht disregarded orders from the city commandant to "fire a hundred shells and leave it in just debris and ashes."
• A statue of an agonized Jesus outside the cathedral has become known as “Christ With a Toothache.” Click here to learn about the legend behind the name: http://vienneselegends.blogspot.com/2011/07/christ-with-toothache.html
• St. Valentine's Chapel, in the Stephansdom, is the current depository of hundreds of relics, including a piece of the tablecloth supposedly from the Last Supper. A large chest holds the bones of St. Valentine.
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