‘Meldeman Plan’: The First Siege of Vienna

Mar 25, 2022 0 comments

One of the oldest topographical maps of Vienna is the so-called “Meldeman-Plan’’ published by the Austrian painter and printer Nikolaus Meldemann that shows a vivid picture of the city during its first siege by the Ottoman army in 1529. The siege of Vienna in 1529 was the first attempt by the Ottoman Empire to capture the city. Suleiman the Magnificent, sultan of the Ottomans, attacked the city with over 100,000 men, while the defenders, led by Niklas Graf Salm, numbered no more than 21,000. Nevertheless, Vienna was able to survive the siege, which lasted just over two weeks.

The Meldeman-Plan.

Shortly after the siege ended, Nikolaus Meldeman, travelled to Vienna and began looking for visual representations of the events when he came across an anonymous painter with exactly such a painting. According to Meldemen, the painter had climbed to the top of the St. Stephen's Cathedral, and from the vantage position recorded the siege as he saw it. After a lengthy negotiation, Meldemann acquired the picture and created a woodcut based on this template, completing it in 1530. This woodcut, known as the “Meldemen Plan,” is a unique and authentic representation of the first Turkish siege of Vienna.

The Meldeman-Plan shows a circular image of the besieged Vienna with St. Stephen's Cathedral in the middle, which is not topographically accurate, but more or less emphasized according to the importance of the areas shown. Similarly, numerous events during the siege are shown simultaneously within the image. Buildings are shown minimally while fortifications are shown in detail. On the outskirts of the town, the tents of the Turks are shown, with the main fighting and the destruction of the suburbs in the west and south are depicted. Most of the town is set ablaze while events such as war atrocities and executions also find their place.

In 1927 the woodcut, which had been printed from six blocks, was acquired at an auction in Leipzig for the Historical Museum of the City of Vienna where it resides.

Details of the Meldeman-Plan.

Details of the Meldeman-Plan.

Details of the Meldeman-Plan.

Details of the Meldeman-Plan.


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