Selected Passages from Hungarian-Ottoman Wars between 1372-1699



Brassó, (Brasov, Kronstadt) Transylvania, it is in Romania. (It was called Stalinstadt between 1950-60.) This well-fortified city was the main center of the Saxons of Transylvania. The settlers had come primarily from the Rhineland and the Moselle region, with others from Bavaria and even from distant parts of France, invited by the kings of Hungary. Now, we can find mostly only the traces of their magnificent built heritage as they had to leave their homeland during the dictator’s years, beginning from the 1970s.

Germans living in Brassó were mainly involved in trade and crafts. The location of this city at the intersection of trade routes linking the Ottoman Empire and Western Europe, together with certain tax exemptions, allowed Saxon merchants to obtain considerable wealth and exert a strong political influence. Here is more about the Saxons of Transylvania:

The town’s “Black Church” is claimed to be the largest gothic style church in Southeastern Europe. Its name “Brassó” first appeared in King Béla IV’s document in 1252. The Mongols put it on fire in 1285: remember, it was the second Mongolian invasion against Hungary and it was easily repelled.

The walls of the city were built in 1384. The first Ottoman attack devastated the city when the troops of Sultan Murad II took Brassó in 1421 and had its walls were pulled down. King Sigismund held a Diet here in 1427. Lord Hunyadi János allowed the burghers to rebuild the walls of the city, using the stones of the old castle of Cenk in 1455. His son, King Matthias Corvinus stayed in Brassó in 1467.

After the Battle of Mohács 1526, the Saxons of the city became loyal to King Ferdinand I and resisted against King Szapolyai János. The Sultan allowed his vassal, Petru Rares to enter Transylvania and defeat the troops of Ferdinand in 1529 – he took Brassó, too, destroying its castle to the ground. However, Transylvania later became the property of King Szapolyai.

The infamous Ludovico Gritti, Suleiman’s appointed governor of Hungary, was waiting with 7,000 Ottoman troops at Brassó to receive the nobles of Transylvania in order to make them pay tribute to the Sultan. Later, the renegade Gritti was slain by these very nobles when he had fallen out of the Sultan’s grace. Around 1580 the town had 8,000 inhabitants. Voivode Michael took Brassó in 1599. The cruel Székely Mózes was slain by Voivode Radu Serban in 1603 near Brassó, too.

The first book printing office of Transylvania was established here in 1529 and the first book ever printed in the Hungarian language was also made here around 1580. In the famous Saxon college of the town, students were taught not only in German but in the Hungarian language as well, beginning from 1637. Prince Báthory Gábor was defeated at Brassó in 1611 by the combined forces of Saxons and Wallachians. The city and the church were put to the torch in 1689 by General Caraffa’s mercenaries, hence the name of the famous Black Church…

The Black Church

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