Gyulafehérvár

Gyulafehérvár

Gyulafehérvár (Alba Iulia, Karlsburg) now is in Romania but it used to be the capital of the Principality of Transylvania, the seat of the princes between 1542 and 1690.


It had also been the administrative center of Transylvania in the medieval period of the Hungarian Kingdom.

Governor Hunyadi János defeated his legendary adversary, Bey Mezid and his fifteen thousand strong armies next to the city in a three-day-long battle in 1442. Then, he used the citadel to prepare for a major battle against the Ottomans. The cathedral was enlarged during his reign and he was entombed there after his death.

King Ulászló II had the fort improved in 1516. Queen Isabella settled in the city in 1542, after fleeing from Buda. She died there in 1559. Her son, the last freely elected Hungarian national king who was also the first Prince of Transylvania, János Zsigmond, died in the city in 1571. He, his queen and son are buried in the city’s Saint Istvan (Stephen) Basilica.

It is very interesting to read the report of the French Pierre Lescalopier who visited the city in 1574. The city saw the short rule of the Wallachian Voivode Michael in 1599-1600 and suffered the burnings and sacking of General Basta in 1602.

Its Reformed college was established by Prince Bethlen Gábor who died in the city in 1629. The Diet of Gyulafehérvár in 1630 re-confirmed the union of the historical three nations of Transylvania: the Hungarian, the Saxon, and the Székely. The Ottomans also set the city on fire in 1661. 

Gyulafehérvár became part of the Habsburg Monarchy in 1690. 

My historical novel starts in Gyulafehérvár, too: