The Batthyany Strattmann palace in Körmend (Photo: Civertan)

Körmend (Kermendin, Kirment) is a town in western Hungary, in Vas County. It is on the bank of the Rába river. The town is especially well known for its castle which used to belong to the Batthyány family, one of the most important aristocratic families of Hungary.

Photo: Kocsis Kadosa

The place was first mentioned in 1238 as “Villa Curmend terra regis”. Its name can be derived from the Csagataj Turk word “Kärmän” which meant “castle at a river-ford”. The city had a castle in 1244 and King Béla IV gifted privileges to the town. King István V reconfirmed these rights in 1270 and so did King Robert Károly in 1328.

Photo: Kocsis Kadosa

The inhabitants were allowed to elect their judge freely and they didn’t have to pay taxes and could inherit properties freely, too. It was known as a royal town 12 years later. The St. Marton church belonged to the Hungarians while the German settlers used the St. Erzsébet church.

There was also a Monastery of Holy Mary which belonged to the Augustinian Order. Körmend had been a free royal town only until the reign of King Zsigmond when it became the property of Ellerbach János. Later, Széchy Péter owned it in 1412 and the Széchenyi family got it in 1430.

Photo: Pan Peter12

King Ulászló II gave tax exemption to the native traders of the whole country in 1497. Körmend was famous for its great markets at this time. Its fortifications were built around this time, too. The town was owned by Bakócz Tamás in 1514. Later, Tarnóczy András got the town in 1548 but the Erdődy family bought it in 1565. The inner palace was surrounded by a stone wall and bastions while the town was fortified by a wooden palisade and a moat.

Photo: Civertan

Joó János of Kaszaháza owned the town in 1595 but Emperor Rudolf took it away from him. He gave it to his Chief Horse Master in 1604 who was Batthyány Ferenc. The family had owned it for nearly 300 years. Batthyány Ádám made Körmend a frontier castle because of the Turkish threat. The inhabitants were given the same privileges as the Hajdú soldiers but they were also made to provide military service.

The Stairway of the castle (Photo: Sefcsik)

26-27 July 1664: a battle at Körmend 

Grand Vizier Ahmed Köprülü wanted to take the ford of the Rába river in 1664 to move towards Vienna with his huge army. He was leading the Ottoman army to reinforce the defenders of Kanizsa castle. They took Új-Zrínyivár castle on 30 June 1664, then they were heading toward Vienna through Zala County. General Raimondo Montecuccoli deployed the Imperial troops along the line of the Rába River to fend off the Turks. The general sent Nádasdy Ferenc, Judge of the Country, and his Hungarian and Croatian men to defend the ford at Körmend. Nádasdy was aided by the troops of Batthyány Kristóf, Chief Captain of the Trans-Danubian Region. 

Photo: Thaler
The first clashes occurred on 25 July between the Ottoman raiding parties and the Hungarians but the Christians did not want to get engaged in a grand-scale battle with the bulk of the Ottoman army just yet. The soldiers of the French Count Jean de Coligny-Saligny and the men of Imperial Count Wolfgang von Hohenlohe arrived at Körmend on 26 July, along with the Hajdú warriors of Esterházy Pál. They occupied the crossable fords of the Rába River while the cannons of the castle were firing at the Ottoman army who made camp on the right bank of the river. 
A Hungarian Hajdú (by Somogyi Győző)
The defenders of Körmend castle consisted of Hungarian, Croatian, German, and French soldiers at that time. The Turks launched a cavalry charge, aided by Ottoman riflemen who followed them. The Hungarian and French soldiers were able to block the enemy’s crossing. The walls of Körmend were not very high and did not provide a proper cover to the French troops who were under severe Ottoman cannon fire. Even Count Coligny was wounded. When the cavalry of Montecuccoli arrived, the Ottomans decided to withdraw their army. However, Köprülü launched a final attack against the mounted riflemen of Baden but the Germans inflicted great casualties among the assaulting Ottoman warriors. Seeing this, Köprülü issued the order of withdrawal. 
A Dragoon from 1686 (by Somogyi Győző)
This battle of 26-27 June was not that important but it had a role in the victory of the Battle of Szentgotthárd. The whole Ottoman army was not involved in the fight but it was the Christians’ success that they could keep the enemy on the other side of the river. The army of Köprülü moved on and the Hungarian-Croatian soldiers of Nádasdy and Esterházy remained at Körmend to keep an eye on the fords of the river.
The Battle of Körmend in 1664
  You can find out what else happened in 1664 in Hungary:


Körmend suffered much during the wars of Prince Rákóczi Ferenc as well.

Photo: Thaler

Source: partly from Szibler Gábor

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Here are a few more pictures of Körmend: