Legend has the Galician Yurii Kulchytsky (Jerzy Franciszek Kulczycki) as the man who brought the coffee drinking tradition to Europe. A Ukrainian merchant, soldier, and interpreter, born into the Kulchytsky-Shelestovych family of Sambir county, his heroic actions contributed to lifting of the Ottoman siege of Vienna in 1683 and brought him the title of His Imperial Majesty’s Interpreter, permanent decent stipend and a home for free. In addition, King Jan III Sobieski himself presented Kulchytsky with 300 sacks of coffee beans found in the captured camp of Kara Mustafa Pasha [the Ottoman grand vizier under Sultan Mehmed IV. – Ed.]. He opened a coffee house in Vienna called Hof zur Blauen Flasche (The Blue Bottle Coffee House) in tailors’ row next to the cathedral, and very soon, his establishment became one of the most visited places in the city. To stand out amid competition, he was always dressed in Turkish attire when serving the drink to patrons, and later stood out even more after beginning to serve coffee with milk and sugar, which had been unknown to the Turks, but became highly popular among the Viennese. Established in 1683, Kulchytsky’s coffee house was the first in Vienna and among the first of its kind in Europe...
Lviv, the Lion’s City, boasts a long-standing coffee tradition of its own. However, the Galicians maintain their tradition originated then and thrives now thanks to Kulchytsky’s efforts, so they have always remembered and honored him. This time, they celebrated Kulchytsky’s contribution with a sculptural composition in the heart of the city, close to the Puppet Theater.
“When working on the monument, some questioned why it should stand there, in Danylo Halytsky Square, which sees no activity beyond dog walking,” one of the composition’s authors Volodymyr Skolozdra remarked. “We hope to change the status of the square, which equals in size Rynok Square [the city’s main square. – Ed.]. I am sure that from now on all coffee-themed events will be held here, under Kulchytsky’s auspices.”
The sculptors have portrayed him as a merry man wearing a Turkish cap, with a mustache and earring [kulchyk in Ukrainian. – Ed.], true to his family name. He stands surrounded by a sack of coffee beans, coffee pot, and coffee cup, as well as a stele bearing the Kulchytskys’ coat of arms. Initiative to immortalize the enterprising Ukrainian originated with joint venture Galka, Ltd.’s coffee factory.
Lviv mayor Andrii Sadovy, Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Ukraine Kees Klompenhouwer, Shevchenko Prize winner Roman Lubkivsky, actors of the Zankovetska Theater, and hundreds of Lviv’s citizens and visitors attended the unveiling ceremony.