It was 340 years ago today that a significant battle was fought at the fortress of Chocim (today Khotyn in Ukraine) between the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth’s forces led by hetman (miliary chief commander) Jan Sobieski and the Ottoman Empire forces let by Hussain Pasha. The 30,000 strong force of Poland soundly defeated the 35,000 strong Ottoman force.
The Battle of Khotyn in 1673 was significant for two reasons, somewhat related to each other:
- In part due to the success of Hetman Jan Sobieski in this battle, he was soon thereafter elected King of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, at that time the largest and most powerful country in all of Europe.
- It was a prelude to King Jan III Sobieski’s brilliant defeat of the Turks at the Battle of Vienna a mere 10 years later, in 1683. After that, Sobieski was hailed as the savior of Europe by none other than the Pope. And indeed, they did save Europe from the Turks.
I am fortunate in that I visited Khotyn and the fortress in the summer of 2011. I wrote about that visit here in my blog and posted many pictures as well. It is truly an amazing fortress, sitting high up above the Dniester River, it’s tall beige walls overlooking the river and the countryside. The fortress is very impressive and much of it is being restored and can be visited. I was able to climb some of the battlements and descend into the cellars. There are exhibits of war weapons and demonstrations as well. It really is an amazing place. And, 340 years ago today, an important battle was held there.