Lippa and Solymos
Lippa (Lipova), Jenő, Arad, and Temesvár: these were the major Borderland forts near Transylvania…
Now we are talking about the town of Lippa and its nearby castle called Solymos, as well. As for Solymos castle, we know that the wine from the Sólymos region was very tasty and the Transylvanian princes liked it very much. Solymos (Soimos) is in Transylvania, now Romania.
Solymos was built in 1272 by Bán of Szörény, Pál. The castle went to Hunyadi János in 1444 who made further fortifications on it. Later it was owned by the illegitimate son of King Matthias, Prince János Corvin. Here is a video of Solymos (Soimos): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWxHPVEzeeI
The rebelling peasants took the castle in 1514 for a while; later the castle belonged to Queen Isabella in 1541. The castle withheld the siege of the Turks in 1551 but the men of King Ferdinand who put Serbian soldiers there in charge, 1500 men in all, surrendered it to Mehmed Begler-Bey of Rumelia. The Turks pillaged the city but Brother György Martinuzzi, the famous “White Monk”, and statesman took it back in the same year. The next year its Spanish garrison yielded the fort to the Turks.
The Ottoman Turks organized a Sanjak around it and garrisoned the castle with 100-500 men. Many Sefard Jews arrived there during this time. After forty years of Turkish rule, Borbély György’s Transylvanian army took the castle back.
The Begler-Bey of Temesvár attacked the place in 1595 but Prince Báthory’s arriving army chased him away. The Prince left 2000 soldiers in the castle. It proved to be a good idea because this way three years later they could beat the Turks back. Lippa fell to the Wallachian Prince Michael in 1600 but was taken back in 1604 by Prince Bocskai István. (The Serbians surrendered the castle to him.)
Lord Székely Mózes traded the castle in 1602 for the castle of Kladova so it has become the Turks’ again. The Pasha of Temesvár captured it in 1605 and next year it was taken back by Petneházy István’s army. During the next few years, this fort played an important role in Ottoman-Transylvanian negotiations.
The Turks wanted to get back Lippa and Borosjenő that had been organic parts of their frontier castle chain before the 15-Year-War. Several Transylvanian princes had fed them with promises to give the two castles back but when Prince Bethlen Gábor needed the confirmation of the Sublime Porte in order to gain the throne – he didn’t take risks and has agreed to give the forts “back”.
He said: “..if I had a way of keeping it, I would follow that way at all costs – but I have no means to hold it or to procrastinate it any longer because the Turks wouldn’t allow me to do so even if I vomited my soul in front of them…”
Finally, in 1616, it had to be ceded to them but its defenders, namely István Vajda captain, didn’t want to accept the decision: everybody thought it a shame and finally, Prince Bethlen had to take it by siege from him and after it, the prince offered the fort to the Begler-Bey of Temesvár. Nevertheless, Prince Bethlen’s reputation suffered this action quite a bit in the eyes of the Hajdú soldiers all over the country.
The Turkish Bey of Lippa has repaired, enlarged, and reinforced the castle and brought there more Turks from the surrounding Turkish frontier castles. Three circles of walls protected the inner castle and there were 1500 houses around the outer walls. The Ottomans installed the water of the nearby springs into the city and covered the streets with wooden boards.
Allegedly, seven Turkish schools could be found in the city. Altogether there were 953 defenders in 1621 and 800 in 1660.
It happened under the castle’s walls that Prince Rákóczi György II defeated Achmed, Pasha of Buda, in 1658. General Caraffa took it back after four days of siege in 1686. Its garrison numbered 130 men at that time. The Habsburgs ordered its destruction by gunpowder in 1788.
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Here are a few pictures of Lippa and Solymos: