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Jerzy Franciszek Kulczycki
Portrait of Kulczycki in Turkish attire, Czartoryski Museum
Born 1640
Kulczyce, Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth
Died 19 February 1694(1694-02-19) (aged Error: Need valid year, month, day)
Vienna, Habsburg Monarchy
Nationality Polish[1]
Occupation Merchant, spy, diplomat, soldier, coffee-house proprietor
Known for Heroism during the Battle of Vienna. Opening one of the first coffee house in Vienna

Jerzy Franciszek Kulczycki of the Sas coat of arms (German language: Georg Franz Kolschitzky, Ukrainian language: Юрій-Франц Кульчицький , Yuriy Frants Kulchytsky; 1640 – February 19, 1694) was a Polish nobleman and diplomat of Ruthenian descent.[2][3] For his actions at the 1683 Battle of Vienna, when he managed to get out of the besieged city to seek help, he was considered a hero by the local people. According to legend, he is often cited as starting the first café in the city in 1683,[4] using coffee beans left behind by the retreating Ottoman Turks. However, more recent sources suggest that the first coffeehouse in Vienna was opened by the Armenian Johannes Theodat in 1685.[5][6]

Biography[edit | edit source]

Monument to Kulczycki in Vienna, sculpted by Emanuel Pendl and erected in 1885 at the street named after him

Kulczycki was born in 1640 in Kulczyce, near Sambor, (then part of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, now western Ukraine).[7][8] According to modern Ukrainian authors, he was born into an old Orthodox-Ruthenian noble family, Kulchytsky-Shelestovych, although his father had converted to Catholicism, the state religion of the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland.[2][3] As a young man, Kulczycki joined the Zaporozhian Cossacks during which time he demonstrated a gift for languages and worked as an interpreter.

He was fluent in Polish, Ruthenian, Serbian, Turkish, German, Hungarian and Romanian languages. Kulczycki started to work as a translator for the Belgrade branch of the Austrian Oriental Company (Orientalische Handelskompagnie). When the Turkish authorities began repressing foreign traders as spies, he avoided arrest by claiming Polish citizenship and moved to Vienna, where through his earlier work he had gathered enough wealth to open up his own trading company in 1678.[9][10]

During the Siege of Vienna (1683), he volunteered to leave the besieged and starving city and contact Duke Charles of Lorraine. Together with his trusty servant, the Serbian Đorđe Mihajlović, he left the city in Turkish attire and crossed enemy lines singing Ottoman songs. After contacting the duke, the pair managed to return to the city and reach it with a promise of imminent relief. Because of that information, the city council decided not to surrender to the Turkish forces of Kara Mustafa Pasha and continue the fight instead.

After the arrival of Christian forces led by the Polish king John III Sobieski, on September 12, the siege was broken. Kulczycki was considered a hero by the grateful townspeople of Vienna. The city council awarded him with a considerable sum of money and the burghers gave him a house in the borough of Leopoldstadt. King John III Sobieski himself presented Kulczycki with large amounts of coffee found in the captured camp of Kara Mustafa's army.

The story that Kulczycki opened a coffee house in Vienna at Schlossergassl near the cathedral, which was named the Hof zur Blauen Flasche ('House under the Blue Bottle') and other stories about him related to coffee were invented by Gottfried Uhlich in 1783.[11] It was uncovered for the first time by historian Karl Teply in 1980.[12] Kulczycki's descendant, historian Jerzy Sas Kulczycki, considered Teply's theory "pseudo-scientific", as it "negated all known, documented knowledge about Kulczycki, making him an Armenian on top of that".[13]

Until recently, every year in October a special Kolschitzky feast was organized by the café owners of Vienna, who decorated their shop windows with Kulczycki's portrait, as noted by Polish historian and geographer Zygmunt Gloger. Kulczycki is memorialized with a statue on Vienna's Kolschitzky street, at the corner of the house Favoritenstraße 64.[14]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Jerzy Franciszek Kulczycki – the founder of the first café in Vienna". http://www.wilanow-palac.pl/jerzy_franciszek_kulczycki_the_founder_of_the_first_caf_in_vienna.html. Retrieved 27 February 2017. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Зерна, які змінили Європу. Як українець Відень урятував. Irene Michalkiv
  3. 3.0 3.1 Hanna Widacka, Jerzy Franciszek Kulczycki – założyciel pierwszej kawiarni w Wiedniu Archived 2014-10-20 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. "O tym jak Polak otworzył pierwszą kawiarnię w Wiedniu i wymyślił kawę z mlekiem". http://historia.org.pl/2011/06/22/o-tym-jak-polak-otworzyl-pierwsza-kawiarnie-w-wiedniu-i-wymyslil-kawe-z-mlekiem/. Retrieved 2015-11-30. 
  5. Felix Czeike, Historisches Lexikon Wien. vol. 2 (Wien 1993), p. 19.
  6. Ernst Grabovszki, Innere Stadt, Wien, 1. Bezirk (Erfurt 2002), p. 16.
  7. Whither goest thou, Ukrainian? by Klara Gudzik, The Day, July 18, 2006. Kiev, Ukraine.
  8. Coffee appetite brewing, but far behind Europe Kyiv Post. December 10, 2008
  9. Whither goest thou, Ukrainian? by Klara Gudzik, The Day, July 18, 2006. Kiev, Ukraine.
  10. Taras Chukhlib Daily Mirror. February 27, 2004. Archived June 21, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  11. Birgit Schwaner, Das Wiener Kaffeehaus: Legende - Kultur - Atmosphäre (Wien 2007), p. 12-14.
  12. Karl Teply: The introduction of coffee in Vienna. Georg Franz Koltschitzky. Johannes Diodato. Isaac de Luca. In: Society for History of the City of Vienna; Felix Czeike (ed.): research and contributions to the Viennese city's history. 6, Kommissionsverlag Youth and Culture, Vienna - Munich 1980 ISBN 3-7005-4536-3 (208 pages, 15 illustrations)
  13. Jerzy S. Kulczycki "Prawdziwa legenda Wiedeńskiej Wiktorii. J. F. Kulczycki i jego ród”, 2011
  14. "Kolschitzky, Georg Franz". http://www.aeiou.at/aeiou.encyclop.k/k589543.htm;internal&action=_setlanguage.action?LANGUAGE=en. Retrieved 27 February 2017. 

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