The Ottoman Empire in the 17th century is a land of many contrasts. I know that sounds like the opening to a bad high school essay, but it’s not wrong. The 17th century ended with the Ottomans signing the first disadvantageous treaty they’d ever signed, and while reports of Ottoman decline in this period are greatly exaggerated, I think it’s fair to say that this was a sign of relative, if not absolute, Ottoman decline. In other words, their enemies were catching up to them. On the other hand, the mid-century (1645-1669) Cretan War, or the Fifth Ottoman-Venetian War if you prefer, brought the empire to its largest territorial extent. Sure, that includes places like Algiers and parts of Arabia where the empire had little real authority, but oh well. The siege we’re talking about today was the centerpiece of that war and, as it so happens, one of the longest sieges in recorded history at a whopping 21 years and almost five months.