Selected Passages from Hungarian-Ottoman Wars between 1372-1699


The castle and palace of Gyalu (Gilău, Julmarkt) are located in Transylvania, Romania.

The first captain of Gyalu was mentioned in 1439. The castle used to belong to the bishop of Várad then to the bishop of Transylvania. It went to the Chamber of Transylvania in 1556. The Kendi family owned it at the beginning of the 16th century. It was the place where Prince Báthory Zsigmond had Kendi Ferenc and Bornemissza János executed for plotting with the Turks in 1594. It was a particularly bloody thing from the prince as there was no trial. He wanted to prepare for his war against the Ottomans which ended with the defeat of Mezőkeresztes in 1596. You can read about this battle in my book:

Finally, the Prince gave the castle back to the bishop of Transylvania. Nobody liked Prince Zsigmond, especially not the Székelys. He ruined his country. In April 1598, Zsigmond resigned as Prince of Transylvania in favor of the Holy Roman Emperor, Rudolf II (who was also the King of Hungary); reversed his decision in October 1598; and then resigned again in favor of Cardinal Báthory András, his cousin. Not much later, the Wallachian Voivode Vitez Mihail attacked Transylvania and seized the throne with the help of Emperor Rudolf for a short time.


Gyalu – along with other settlements – was also destroyed by Voivode Vitez Mihail in 1599. Later, Michael, allied with the Emperor’s general, Basta, defeated the Hungarian army in the Battle of Goroszló in 1601. A few days later Basta, who sought to control Transylvania himself, ordered the assassination of Michael.


Prince Zsigmond resigned and left Transylvania for good. Prince Bocskai István, once the strong general of Prince Zsigmond took the castle of Gyalu in 1605. The heydays of Transylvania came only after the consolidation carried out by Bocskai and a few years later it became the Fairy Garden of Europe during the rule of Prince Bethlen Gábor.


Prince Rákóczi II was defeated and killed near Gyalu in a battle against the Ottomans in 1660. Later it went to the Barcsay family. The castle recently had been reclaimed by the Barcsay family members but its return has been hindered since 2002.



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Here are a few more pictures of Gyalu:

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