Eperjes (Presov, Preschau) is situated 33 kilometers north of Kassa (Kosice, Kaschau), in Slovakia, in the Upper lands/Horná Zem/Felvidék. The Hungarian King Robert Károly granted privileges to the town so it became a free royal city in 1324 and had the right to build a stone wall. The town got the right of holding national markets in 1514.
The town became one of the centers of Protestantism. Its Evangelic institute was established in 1531 and it had a printer’s house in 1656. This rich city had been sacked many times: by the Polish in 1441 and then in the first part of the 17th century the mercenaries of General Basta and Belgioioso.
Prince Thököly Imre sacked it in 1672 and Count Wolkra did the same next year. King Leopold I took away its privileges in 1673 and had its walls destroyed. The city could resist the Polish’ attack in 1683. Then, the happy years seemed to have ended. General Schulz defeated the army of the Hungarian rebels next to the town in 1684 and after a two-week-long siege, the town let him in under some conditions.
Despite this, the General sacked the city. The next infamous Habsburg general came in 1687, General Caraffa, who had more than 300 citizens tortured to get their money. He also had publicly executed 24 rich citizens just to get their properties.
A conflagration destroyed the rest of the town in 1695. The Hungarian rebels of Prince Rákóczi Ferenc II took the city after 17 weeks of siege. The Prince returned all its former privileges. It all was followed by a plague in 1710 when most of the Hungarian and German citizens died. This town suffered too much to love the Habsburgs.
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