Selected Passages from Hungarian-Ottoman Wars between 1372-1699


The city of Kaposvár (Ruppertsburg) is located 50 km from Lake Balaton in Hungary.

It was first mentioned in 1009 and had been the center of Somogy County since 1061. Its earth castle was built in the 13th century. The 4 stone bastions and the stone wall were built in the 16th century.

The small fort was hard to approach so it offered a good shelter against the Ottomans and it had gained importance.

We can see there the ruins of an Abbey of(Kapos) Szentjakab, too. It was a kind of outer fort of Kaposvár, surrounded by a palisade.

In the decades after the Battle of Mohács, the neighborhood was prowled by the troops of Sultan Suleiman. The Ottomans, led by Pasha Tojgun, took the castle of Kapos in September 1555. The Pasha had 4,000 riders and 5,000 infantrymen but the 311-400 Janissaries were his elite troops. Also, he herded several thousand Hungarian peasants before him to aid his troops in the siege with their forced labor. It was the time when the same villagers built the Turks’ castles, then they were forced to build the Hungarians’ castles a year later.

The fort of Kaposvár stood literally in a muddy lake in a very good location. There were 250 guards and 150 Hajdú soldiers inside, additionally, there were some soldiers of a landlord called Dersffy and some mercenaries of the king, too. The captain, Dersffy István was away so his vice-captain, Zoltai István was in charge of the defense.

The Ottomans could drain the water quickly from the moat and built an earth tower for bombarding the fort. After three days of cannon fire, the gate and a bastion were down and they could launch the first attack.

During the first attack, only four men were lost and two injured while the Ottomans had many casualties. The Pasha had the fort bombarded for further 7-8 days. Then, Szél Péter, on behalf of the Hajdú soldiers who defended the outer palisade, began negotiations with the Ottomans. Finally, they couldn’t agree so the Hajdús fled the fort during the night.

The 150 Hajdús took along Dersffy’s armor and money, too. Pasha Tujgon recognized their escape too late but sent 3,000 riders after them, under the command of Bey Dervis of Pécs but the Hajdús scattered in many groups away.

The next day, the Pasha launched the final attack against the defenders who numbered already less than 100. The fight lasted from dawn to late afternoon. The last of the soldiers of Torma Márton had to withdraw into the inner castle and resisted for three more days.

They tried to negotiate with the enemy but in vain. Finally, they attempted a sally but more than 60 of them got killed (including all the officers) and 34 were captured.

Evilja Cselebi, the great Turkish chronicler wrote that the Pasha immediately turned the church into a mosque and began rebuilding the captured fort. The prayer of Friday was told even in 1664 by the Khádi, with a sword in his hand.

Let’s pay tribute to Torma Márton and the 250 defenders who heroically fought against the 10,000-strong enemy while their landlord, István Dersffy, had intentionally kept himself away from his fort. Even his armor and money were recovered by the unfaithful Hajdus.

All in all, their death was not in vain. As a result of the siege, 18 days were gained which had significantly influenced and delayed the Ottoman campaign and could hinder the collapse of the Hungarian Borderland in Zala and Somogy counties.

Next year the Hungarian free Hajdú soldiers, led by Louis of Baden took it back for a short time.

It was followed by a 131-year-old Ottoman occupation. During this time, Kaposvár, despite being a small administrative center, worked rather than as a military camp. There were 2-300 Ottoman soldiers in it.

The Hungarians attacked it in 1599 but could not take it. There were 8 villages and 23 destroyed villages attached to Kaposvár in 1622. Next to the castle, a second city grew up, inhabited by Balkanian people.

Finally, the Christian troops liberated the castle of Kapos. The city and the surrounding area were freed from Ottoman rule in 1686. Emperor Habsburg Leopold had it ruined down in 1703.

The remains of the castle were shamefully pulled down and built over in the 20th and in the 21st century. 

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