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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
26-27 July 1664: a battle at Körmend
Grand Vizier Ahmed Köprülü wanted to take the ford of the Rába river in 1664 in order 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.
Körmend suffered much during the wars of Prince Rákóczi Ferenc as well.
Source: partly from Szibler Gábor
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Here are a few more pictures of Körmend: