Selected Passages from Hungarian-Ottoman Wars between 1372-1699

Keresztelőszentpál / Kerelőszentpál

The Haller palace (Photo: CEllen)

Keresztelőszentpál (in Romanian: Sânpaul, in Gipsy: Sînpala) is located in Transylvania, it is in Romania. It is famous for its Castle-Palace built by the Haller family. The place is just 19 km from Marosvásárhely (Tirgu Mures) towards Kolozsvár (Cluj, Klausenburg).

The settlement was born in the age of the Hungarian Árpád kings, its first mention is from 1332 as Sanctus Paulus. Its castle was built by Alárdi Ferenc in the 16th century. The place is also famous for the Battle of Keresztelőszentpál (19 July 1575) when Prince Báthory István defeated the army of Bekes Gáspár who had been supported by the Habsburgs.

Photo: CEllen

Some of the survivors took themselves into the castle and when Báthory besieged it, the fort got destroyed. This battle enabled the future independence of the Transylvanian Principality and also made way to Báthory to the Polish throne.

in 1908

Lord Balassa Bálint, the most famous Hungarian warrior-poet had fought on the wrong side in this battle and was captured by Báthory; it was how he ended up in Poland until he regained his freedom. It was Haller István who rebuilt the castle in 1610 and turned it into a rather fortified palace. His son, Haller János finished it in 1674. (The Haller family is a German family from Nürnberg, from the 13th century. Their Rupert branch arrived in Hungary in the 15th century. Soon, they rose to the highest aristocrats of Transylvania.) The castle got damaged in the wars of Prince Rákóczi Ferenc II in 1704 when the rebel “kuruc” troops attacked it.

Photo: Andrei Kokelburg

The next rebuilding took place in 1760 in Baroque style. There lived 1514 people in the settlement in 1992, 656 of them Gipsy, 473 Hungarians, and 385 Romanians. The Haller family was driven out in 1949 by the communists. After the system change, Haller Ilona had spent 15 years until they got the building back which finally has been gifted to the Catholic Arch-Bishopry of Gyulafehérvár (Alba Iulia). Here is a video where you can see the Haller family’s castle at Kapjon and at Kerelőszentpál (1212):

The Granary (Photo: Andrei Kokelburg)


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These carvings were still there in 1982…


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