Lugos (Photo: Radu Trifan)

Lugos (Lugoj, Lugosch) is in the area of the Bánság (Banat / Bánát) region that used to belong to Transylvania during a period of the Ottoman wars.

The Bánát is a geographical and historical straddling between Central and Eastern Europe that is currently divided among three countries: the eastern part lies in western Romania; the western part in northeastern Serbia (mostly included in Vojvodina, except a small part included in the Belgrade Region); and a small northern part lies within southeastern Hungary. 

The COA of Lugos (Source: Arcanum)

Now, we are talking about Lugos which is in Romania. It is located 60 km southeast of Temesvár (Timisoara), which is next to the Temes River. Unfortunately, its castle has been pulled down, we have only drawings about it.

The name of the settlement first appeared in 1334 as “Lucas”. The first castle of Lugos was called Zsidóvár. Then, Bulgarian settlers arrived there, fleeing from the Turks, in 1393. The settlement was in János Hunyadi’s hands in 1440. It was a tax-collecting place in 1428 and it became an agricultural town in 1439. Hunyadi János made it a center of the surrounding agricultural area in 1446.

The Temes River (Photo: Eirne)

King Matthias Corvinus gave it to Pongrácz János of Dengeleg, the Voivode of Transylvania, in 1464. George Brandenburg took hold of the town in 1511. The town was mentioned in 1516 as Új- (new), Ó- (old), and Kislugos (Small Lugos).

Queen Isabella, the widow of King Szapolyai turned it into a free royal town and gifted a seal to the burghers. The palisade castle of Lugos was built in the middle of the 16th century. We do not know its exact location but Evlija Cselebi, the great Turkish traveler, and Giovanni Andrea Gromo wrote about it.

The combined COA of Lugos

The Ottomans took it in 1552 but Sultan Suleiman ceded it to King János Zsigmond. The castle used to be the headquarters of the Banate of Karánsebes and Lugos frontier region from 1536 to 1658, an important borderland castle of the Transylvanian Principality. Its inhabitants were mostly soldiers, Hungarians, Serbians, and Wallachians alike. We know of a Wallachian (Romanian) Protestant pastor called Moisi Pestisel who lived there in 1581, he was one of the translators of the Old Testament of Szászváros (Orăștie, Broos).

The castle was burned down in 1594 and in 1499 by the Crimean Tatars and in 1603 by Radu Serban. It was put on fire again in 1603 by the Captain of Lippa castle, Henri Dampierre Duval. The settlement was attached to the state in 1615. The captain of the castle didn’t agree with this and Prince Bethlen Gábor had to take the fort by force in 1616.

Prince Bethlen Gábor

Lugos also became the center of the Orthodox Church District in 1622. Its garrison consisted of 600 cavalrymen and 700 infantrymen in 1626. The castle was the home of Fogarasi István who translated the Heidelberg Catechism and the Psalms into the Romanian language in the 1640s. The Ottomans could take it in 1658 when Prince Barcsay János ceded to them the entire Banat. Most of the inhabitants fled to Transylvania at this time.

The western part of the castle was enlarged to its double size at the end of the 17th century. Lugos was taken for a short time by the Imperial forces in 1688 but the troops of Prince Thököly Imre took it back for the Turks in 1691. Lugos was the place where General Veterani defeated the army of Sultan Mustafa II on 21 September 1695. The general died in the battle.

General Veterani

The city was sacked in 1696 by the mercenaries of Herberstein. According to the Treaty of Karlóca in 1699, the castle had to be destroyed. However, it was carried out only in 1716 when the Ottomans were finally driven out of the area. There were altogether 218 houses in the city in 1717. The town became the center of the District of Lugos in 1718 and it was the time when the Wallachian (Romanian) inhabitants moved to the other side of the river where they founded the city of Németlugos. Also, many German settlers arrived there during the century.

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