|Siege of Kraków (1657)|
|Part of the Second Northern War and The Deluge|
Siege of Kraków, 1657
Principality of Transylvania
Holy Roman Empire
|Commanders and leaders|
Melchior von Hatzfeldt
|2,500 Swedes and 2,500 Transilvanians||unknown number of Poles, some 17,000 Austrians|
|Casualties and losses|
The Siege of Kraków was one of battles of the Swedish and Transilvanian invasion of Poland, which took place in the summer of 1657. The royal city of Kraków, occupied by Swedish-Transilvanian garrison of Paul Wirtz and János Bethlen, was besieged by Polish Army of Hetman Jerzy Lubomirski, supported by Holy Roman Empire’s troops under Austrian Field Marshall Melchior von Hatzfeldt.
In the summer of 1655, two Swedish Empire’s armies invaded the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (see Deluge (history)). Swedish invaders moved southwards, reaching the city of Kraków in late September 1655. After a siege, the ancient Polish capital surrendered, and on October 17, Swedish soldiers, together with King Charles X Gustav, entered the city.
Following the Treaty of Radnot, signed on December 6, 1656, Kraków was to be occupied by Prince of Transylvania, George II Rákóczi, who was an ally of Charles X Gustav. In January 1657, Transilvanian army invaded southern provinces of the Kingdom of Poland (Red Ruthenia and Lesser Poland), and on March 28, the Transilvanians reached Kraków. Rákóczi left in the city some 2,500 soldiers, who strenghtened the Swedish garrison already stationed there. Most of the Transilvanian army headed northwards, to meet the Swedes.
In early summer 1657, Polish Crown units under Hetman Jerzy Lubomirski appeared near Kraków, but lacking artillery, the Poles limited their activities to cutting Swedish and Transilvanian supply routes. In early August, Holy Roman Empire’s army of 17,000, under Field Marshall Melchior von Hatzfeldt, reinforced the Poles, and began preparation for an assault. On August 4, however, a message from Rákóczi was received by both sides. Since his army had been destroyed in the Battle of Czarny Ostrow (July 20), Rákóczi urged János Bethlen to surrender the city to the Poles.
The Transilvanians capitulated, but Swedish garrison of Kraków, under Paul Wirtz, continued resistance until August 25. Five days later, Swedish units left the city, and on September 4, Poles, together with Austrians, organized a military parade, observed by King Jan Kazimierz.
After a two-year Swedish and Transilvanian occupation, the ancient capital of Poland was in ruins. All villages and towns in the area were burned to the ground, as well as the suburbs of Kraków. In Kleparz, only 15 people dwelled in huts, while at Bishop Square, only 5 houses remained, out of 51. In the district of Piaski, which had several hundred houses before the Swedish invasion, not a single building remained. The Wawel Hill was completely looted, as Swedes and Transilvanians stole all valuables, including Polish treasuries, carpets and upholsteries. Furthermore, Swedes destroyed the coffin of St. Stanislaus.
- Jaroslaw Stolicki, Oblezenie Krakowa przez Jerzego Lubomirskiego w latach 1656-1657. SiM do historii wojskowosci, t. XL, Bialystok 2003, s. 87-117
- Leszek Podhorodecki, Rapier i koncerz, Warszawa 1985, ISBN 83-05-11452-X, s. 345-346
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