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Transylvania / Romania

The most beautiful towns to visit in Transylvania

To alphabetical order
Kolozsvár, Cluj-Napoca
325k
Kolozsvár was founded by Hungarians in the 11th century and was made a county seat by St Stephen of Hungary. In the mid-13th century, Saxons settled in Kolozsvár. It received its town privileges from King Charles I of Hungary in 1316 for helping the monarch to defeat the oligarch Kán László, who ruled Transylvania. The church of St. Michael was also built at this time. In 1405, King Sigismund of Hungary made Kolozsvár a free royal town and allowed it to be surrounded by walls to deal with the Turkish threat. In the 15th century the population of the town was half Hungarian and half Saxon. The town was the birthplace of two prominent figures in Hungarian history, King Matthias in 1443 and Bocskai István in 1557, who later became Prince of Transylvania and Hungary. It was during the period of the Principality of Transylvania that Kolozsvár became a truly important city, from which the appellation 'Treasure Kolozsvár' derives. Although the capitol of the Principality was always Gyulafehérvár, the first city (civitas primaria) of the Principality was Kolozsvár, where many Diets were held. After the defeat of the 1703-1711 Hungarian War of Independence led by Prince Rákóczi Ferenc II, the Austrians built a citadel near the city, despite the protests of the inhabitants. It became the capital of Transylvania in 1790, when the Government moved here from Nagyszeben. It was here that the Transylvanian Diet declared reunification with Hungary in 1848 and again in 1865. Its status as a capital was effectively abolished with the 1867 Austro-Hungarian Compromise, when Transylvania was actually reunited with Hungary after 297 years. In 1902, the statue of King Matthias made by Fadrusz János was unveiled in the Main Square. In December 1918, the Hungarian population of 26 counties protested here against the annexation to Romania. The town was still Hungarian-majority in the 1950s, but gradually became Romanian-majority as a result of the massive settlements.
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Kolozsvár
Istvánka, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Nagyvárad, Oradea
196k
The name of the town means "little castle", which refers to the castle that stood here at the time of King St Stephen of Hungary. King Saint László of Hungary moved the Bishopric of Bihar here at the end of the 11th century and began building its cathedral. It was not completed until after his death, but it was here that he was finally laid to rest. After his canonisation in 1192, his tomb became a place of pilgrimage. Várad became the second most important religious and spiritual centre of the Kingdom of Hungary, where trials by ordeal took place. Most of the litigation, however, was settled before the trial actually took place. In 1390, in the presence of Queen Mary and King Sigismund of Hungary, the gilded equestrian statue of King Saint László, made by the Kolozsvári brothers, was erected in front of the cathedral. It was the first Renaissance public equestrian statue in Europe. The cathedral was the third in Europe to be granted a charter of indulgence in 1407. Sigismund, who was later elected Holy Roman Emperor, loved the town very much and was laid to rest here. By the middle of the century, thanks to Bishop Vitéz János, Várad had become a centre of humanism. In the 16th century a new, stronger fortress was built against the Turks, and it became the most important bastion of the Principality of Transylvania. In 1557 the cathedral and the diocese fell victim to the Reformation. In 1660, the Turks captured Várad after 46 days of siege and destroyed the famous statues of the Hungarian kings. After the Turks were driven out, the fortress was rebuilt in the 18th century and a new Baroque cathedral and bishop's palace were built. During the 1848-49 Hungarian War of Independence, the fortress's German garrison sided with the revolution and the town was home to the largest Hungarian military factory. At the turn of the 20th century the town underwent significant development, was one of the centres of Hungarian culture, and the Art Nouveau contributed greatly to its architecture. A town was Hungarian-majority throughout its history, it only became a Romanian-majority town in the 1970s as a result of the massive settlements.
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Nagyvárad
Melegferi at hu.wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Marosvásárhely, Târgu Mureș
133k
The town was founded by the Székelys, and from the very beginning it was a market town. The Székelys had equal rights with the nobles, owned their own land, paid mostly no taxes, in return they were obliged to go to war one by one to defend Hungary from foreign invasions. The town has hosted the Diet 36 times. The Franciscan church was fortified by the Transylvanian vajda Báthory István to subdue the free Székely people, but the resistance of the Székelys caused him to be deposed by King Ulászló II of Hungary. Its Reformed college, founded in 1557, was the first Hungarian-language school in Transylvania, until then education had been in Latin. In 1602, the construction of the castle began under the leadership of Borsos Tamás, the town magistrate, after the ravages of General Basta's imperial army. In 1616, Prince Bethlen Gábor of Transylvania raised it to the status of a free royal town. It was here that the last prince, Rákóczi Ferenc II, was elected during the 1703-1711 Hungarian War of Independence. At the end of the 18th century, Count Teleki Sámuel, Chancellor of Transylvania, moved his famous library, the Teleki Téka, to Marosvásárhely. In 1861 it became the seat of Marosszék. In 1876, the Székely seats were abolished during the modernisation of the public administration, and it became the seat of Maros-Torda County. At the beginning of the 20th century, under the mayoralty of Bernády György, the town was rapidly modernised, with the construction of the Art Nouveau Town Hall (now County Hall) and the Palace of Culture. After the Romanian invasion in 1918, the Hungarian statues were torn down, a Romanian mayor was appointed and more and more Romanians were settled in the town. From 1952 to 1968 it was the centre of the Hungarian autonomous region, created under Soviet pressure, which was then abolished by the Romanians. It retained its Hungarian majority until the 1990s, but they still make up almost half of the population.
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Marosvásárhely
Radueduard, CC BY-SA 3.0 RO, via Wikimedia Commons
Temesvár, Timișoara
319k
The name of the town refers to the fact that a castle used to stand here on the banks of the river Temes. Indeed, when the Hungarians built a castle here in the 10th century, the Temes was still flowing by. Today, the river bypasses the town a few kilometres to the south, and the town is bisected by the Béga Canal, built in the first half of the 18th century, when the surrounding marshes were drained. The seat of Temes County became the capital of Hungary for a short time in the early 14th century, when King Charles I moved his court here to escape the oligarchs ruling most of the country, notably Csák Máté, and had a stone castle built. The castle, damaged in an earthquake, was repaired and strengthened by Hunyadi János, who was appointed ispán of Temes County in 1441. The castle still bears his name. In 1514, the army of Dózsa György, who led the greatest Hungarian peasant uprising, was crushed near the town and he himself was burnt here on a blazing iron throne. A chapel of Mary was erected on the site of his execution in 1906. The Hungarian town met its fate on 27 July 1552, when Captain Losonczy István, who had left the castle that became impossible to defend after 25 days of siege with the promise of free retreat, was slaughtered by the Turks with the town's entire population. Until the Romanian occupation, the main square of the town was called Losonczy Square in his honour. Temesvár became the seat of an Ottoman province and was ruled by a Pasha until 1716, when it was captured from them by the imperial army of Prince Eugene of Savoy. During the Turkish Wars, the region called Temesköz, once inhabited mostly by Hungarians, was completely depopulated and the town itself was destroyed in the siege. The Habsburgs created the Banate of Temes with the seat of Temesvár in the area. The Hungarians were forbidden to return to the area, and it was repopulated with German, Serbian and Vlach settlers. The town was completely rebuilt and a modern star-shaped fortress was built around it. In 1732, it became the seat of the Bishopric of Csanád, established by St Stephen of Hungary in the 11th century. In 1778, the area became part of Hungary again and Temes County was re-established, but the geographical area has been called Bánság (Banate) ever since. By the early 20th century, it had become the most multicultural region of Hungary. This was ended by the Trianon Dictate, which divided the Banate between Romania and Serbia. Since then the Germans have disappeared and the Hungarian population have dwindled.
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Temesvár
Gratziela Ciortuz, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Brassó, Brașov
253k
The town was founded by German settlers in the early 13th century. They arrived with the Teutonic Knights, who were entrusted by King Andrew II with the defence of the Hungarian border and the castle on Cenk hill. The knights, who thought too highly of themselves, were soon driven out by the king, but the settlers were allowed to stay and Brassó developed into the centre of the Saxon land of Barcaság. King Louis I of Hungary made Brassó the administrative centre of the region, for its citizens helped to build the castle of Törcsvár. His daughter, Queen Mary, ordered the construction of the town walls. King Sigismund of Hungary granted the town staple right on the trade route with Wallachia. Hunyadi János gave permission to the people of Brassó to use the ruins of the royal castle on the Cenk hill to complete the town walls, because of the constant raids by the Turks. Hungary was split in two after the Battle of Mohács in 1526, when both Ferdinand I of Habsburg and John I were elected king. The Saxon burghers supported Ferdinand, for which the town's loyalty towards King John I had to be enforced by siege in 1530. It remained mostly loyal thereafter, if only because the religious freedom of the citizens who converted to Lutheranism was guaranteed by the Principality of Transylvania. At the end of the 17th century, the Habsburg troops occupying Transylvania captured the town by siege. The leader of the imperial armies, Caraffa, set the town on fire, and legend has it that this is when its famous church got its black colour. By the beginning of the 20th century, there were far more Hungarians than Germans in the town, who were even slightly outnumbered by the Vlachs. The monument erected on Cenk Hill in 1896 to commemorate the thousandth anniversary of Hungary was blown up by two Romanian terrorists in 1913. After the Romanian occupation, Brassó became a Romanian-majority town due to massive settlements. Many of the Saxon inhabitants were deported to the Soviet Union in 1945, while the rest emigrated to Germany in the Ceaușescu era in exchange for ransom. The city's medieval fortifications, churches, town houses, citadel and the public buildings and palaces built at the turn of the 20th century make it one of the richest cities in Transylvania in terms of architectural monuments.
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Brassó
Andrei Dan Suciu, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Gyulafehérvár, Alba Iulia
55k
The Roman invaders who built the city of Apulum had long since been gone when the Slavs who settled here in the 7th century named their settlement Belgrade (White Castle) after the white ruins of the former city. This name was taken over by the Hungarians who arrived in the 9th century and the sparse Slav population assimilated into them. From the very beginning, the Hungarians governed Transylvania from here, and this was the seat of the gyula, an ancient Hungarian office which also appears in the name of the town. Later, it was also the seat of the Transylvanian vajda, who represented the Hungarian royal power in this remote corner of the country, beyond the forests (Transsylvania). St Stephen of Hungary founded the Catholic diocese of Transylvania, whose cathedral and palace were built in the castle of Gyulafehérvár. The town also became the seat of Fehér (White) County. Until 1542 the town was administered by the Bishop of Transylvania. At that time, the widowed Queen Isabella moved here with her son John Sigismund, when the capital of the country, Buda, was conquered by the Turks in 1541, after the death of King John I of Hungary. The Bishop's Palace was then remodelled to suit the seat of the Eastern Hungarian Kingdom. The country was split in two after the Battle of Mohács in 1526, when both Ferdinand I of Habsburg and Szapolyai János (John I) were elected king. Under the terms of the Treaty of Speyer of 1570, John Sigismund renounced his title of King of Hungary in favour of King Maximilian I (Emperor Maximilian II) and assumed the title of Prince of Transylvania. From then until 1690, Gyulafehérvár was the capital of the Principality of Transylvania. The princes were buried in the cathedral here. The last prince, Rákóczi Ferenc II, was elected here during the 1703-1711 Hungarian War of Independence. In the 18th century, on the orders of King Charles III, the town was transformed into a star-shaped fortress and renamed Karlsburg, after the king. The fortress city could not be liberated during the 1848-1849 Hungarian War of Independence. Transylvania was formally reunited with Hungary with the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867. On 1 December 1918, the Vlach migrants of Hungary gathered here to declare unification with Romania, regardless of other nationalities. At that time, the town still had about the same number of Hungarians and Vlachs. The city is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese, and the denomination's adherents are mostly Hungarians.
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Gyulafehérvár
Andrei Dan Suciu, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Arad, Arad
159k
The city on the banks of the Maros River with a turbulent history has risen from the ashes several times. Arad County was founded by St Stephen of Hungary in the first half of the 11th century. The name of Arad is derived from a Hungarian personal name, probably the name of the first ispán of the county. The first castle named Arad was not yet here, but 7 km east of the present town. Arad was destroyed by the Mongols, and was not mentioned as a castle for a long time. The foundations of modern Arad were laid by refugees fleeing Turkish raids. In 1551, the Turks captured Arad Castle, completely destroyed the town, massacred its population and built a new wooden palisade. Arad was liberated by the Hungarian troops of the Transylvanian Principality in 1595, but in 1616 the prince was forced to cede it again at the Turkish demand. It was finally liberated in the 1680s and became the seat of a frontier region. In the 18th century the Habsburgs built a huge modern fortress near Arad. This was captured by the Hungarians in 1849 during the Hungarian War of Independence after a bloody nine-month siege. Following the Russian intervention, the commander of the Austrian armies, Haynau, had 13 Hungarian officers (12 generals and a colonel) executed in Arad, who are known today as the Arad Martyrs. The famous Statue of Liberty, the work of Zala György, was erected in their memory in 1890. The city underwent a major development after the Austro-Hungarian Compromise, and in 1909 the car industry was launched. After the Romanian occupation, the Romanian authorities had the Statue of Liberty removed and they allowed the statue to be re-erected only in 2004, not in its original place, but in the company of a Romanian triumphal arch. The town, still predominantly Hungarian at the time of the occupation, became a Romanian-majority town as a result of the settlements and persecutions during the 20th century.
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Arad
Nenea hartia, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Csíkszereda, Miercurea Ciuc
37k
The Székely settlement developed in the early 15th century, as its name suggests, at the site of fairs held on Wednesdays, in the middle of the Csík Basin, at the junction of north-south and east-west trade routes. The Székelys had equal rights with the nobles, owned their own land, paid mostly no taxes, and in return were obliged to go to war one by one to defend Hungary from foreign invasions. Prince Bethlen Gábor of Transylvania donated the town to the Székely aristocrat Mikó Ferenc of Hídvégi, who started the construction of the castle. Also in the first half of the 17th century, the Franciscan grammar school was founded in Csíksomlyó. The castle, destroyed by the Turks, was restored by the Habsburgs after the defeat of the 1703-1711 Hungarian War of Independence, and served as a barracks for the imperial army. From 1764, it became the headquarters of the 1st Székely Border Regiment, established by Empress Maria Theresa, whose command was established in the Mikó Castle. In 1849, the Székely troops played an important role in the liberation of Transylvania from imperial occupation. The town was traditionally the centre of Csíkszék. In 1876, the Székely seats were abolished during the modernisation of the public administration, and then it became the seat of Csík County. In the early 20th century, the famous Csíksomlyó Grammar School moved to the town. From 1952 to 1968, it was part of the Hungarian autonomous region created under Soviet pressure, which was then abolished by the Romanians. It then became the seat of Hargita County. It is still a Hungarian majority town. The Csíksomlyó church is one of the largest pilgrimage sites for Hungarians, with hundreds of thousands of visitors to its famous Pentecostal feast every year. The town is also famous for its ice hockey team and beer production.
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Csíkszereda
Derzsi Elekes Andor, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Sepsiszentgyörgy, Sfântu Gheorghe
54k
In the 12th century, Sepsiszék and its centre Szentgyörgy was founded by Székelys that were moved from the area of today's Szászsebes. The name of the Székely seat, Sepsi, is derived from the name of the former settlement of its inhabitants. The Székelys had equal rights with the nobles, owned their own land, paid mostly no taxes, but in return they were obliged to go to war one by one to defend Hungary from foreign invasions. From the middle of the 15th century, Szentgyörgy was called a town. In 1562, three Székely seats (Sepsiszék, Orbaiszék and Kézdiszék) were united under the name of Háromszék (Three seats), and its centre became Sepsiszentgyörgy. In 1764 it became the station of a Hussar border guard regiment. In 1848, thanks to Gábor Áron, the people of Háromszék declared to join the Hungarian War of Independence in the ceremonial hall of the headquarters of Háromszék. Gábor Áron and his companions cast cannons from bells in the foundries of Háromszék for the War of Independence. After the Austro-Hungarian Compromise, with the support of Count Mikó Imre, the new building of the Reformed College was constructed, which later took the name of the Reformed Székely Mikó College. The Székely National Museum, designed by Kós Károly, was opened in the town. The famous architect enriched the town's image with several buildings. In 1876, when the public administration was modernised, the Székely seats were abolished and the town became the seat of Háromszék County. From 1952 to 1960, it was part of the Hungarian autonomous region, created under Soviet pressure, which was gradually abolished by the Romanians. In 1968 it became the seat of Kovászna County. It is still a Hungarian majority town.
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Sepsiszentgyörgy
Andreea.anghel, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Székelyudvarhely, Odorheiu Secuiesc
34k
The name of the settlement founded by the Székelys refers to the fact that the Székely ispán had his court here. It is the traditional centre of Székelyland, where judgements of the Székely seats could be appealed against. The Székelys had equal rights with the nobles, owned their own land, paid mostly no taxes, and in return were obliged to go to war one by one to defend Hungary from foreign invasions. Udvarhely was raised to the status of a town by King Sigismund of Hungary. Báthory István, vajda of Transylvania, first tried to build a castle here to subdue the free Székely people, but the resistance of the Székelys caused him to be deposed by King Ulászló II of Hungary. After King John II put down the uprising in 1562, which had broken out because of the curtailment of the Székely liberties, he had a castle built here to keep the Székelys at bay. The only Székely prince of Transylvania, Székely Mózes, was born here. The castle was destroyed by the kuruc insurgents in 1706 during the Hungarian War of Independence to prevent it from falling into Habsburg hands again. The town was traditionally the centre of Udvarhelyszék. In 1876, when the public administration was modernised, the Székely seats were abolished and it became the seat of Udvarhely County. It lost this status after the Romanian occupation in 1918. Since the 16th century, Székelyudvarhely has also been an important school town, a centre of Calvinist education, which was counterbalanced by the Jesuits who also established a grammar school, which is still in operation today. From 1952 to 1968, it was part of the Hungarian autonomous region created under Soviet pressure, which was then abolished by the Romanians. It is still an almost entirely Hungarian town.
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Székelyudvarhely
Christo, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Torda, Turda
47k
The county of Torda was established in the 11th century by King Stephen I of Hungary, and was probably named after its first royal ispán. Already then, salt mining had begun near the settlement. Later, Torda became the administrative and management centre of all the salt mines in Transylvania, which was called the salt chamber, later the salt office. From the first half of the 16th century, salt mining began to decline and the town's importance diminished. In 1568, freedom of religion was proclaimed in Hungary at the Diet of Torda, the first in Europe to do so. It included the Catholic, the Calvinist, the Lutheran and the Unitarian denominations. In 1601, the town suffered a great tragedy when the inhabitants of Újtorda, who had taken refuge in the Reformed church, were massacred by General Basta's imperial army. In 1619, Prince Bethlen Gábor of Transylvania settled his foot soldiers in Újtorda and granted them nobility. The inhabitants of Ótorda remained in civil status. Later, in order to settle conflicts arising from different legal statuses, Prince Apafi Mihály also ennobled the inhabitants of Ótorda. This status was abolished with the revolution of 1848. The town lost its Hungarian majority and its status as a county seat as a consequence of the Romanian occupation in 1918. The salt mines were closed in 1932. The mines are one of the main tourist attractions in Transylvania. Also one of Transylvania's most important natural attractions is the Torda Gorge, which splits the limestone ridge northwest of Torda. But it's also worth taking time to visit the town of Torda and admire its medieval Gothic Reformed churches, the former salt chamber house, and the charming town centre, built in the style of the Hungarian county seats.
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Torda
CristianChirita, CC BY-SA 3.0 RO, via Wikimedia Commons
Nagyszeben, Sibiu
147k
The town was founded in the 12th century by King Géza II of Hungary, who settled Germans here to protect the Vöröstorony Pass after the Székelys had been moved to present-day Székelyföld. The Transylvanian Saxons, as the German settlers were uniformly called, owed their extensive freedoms and autonomy to King Andrew II of Hungary. Until the 15th century, the provostry of Szeben was the Catholic ecclesiastical centre of the Transylvanian Saxons. The town soon became the commercial and spiritual centre of the Transylvanian Saxons. The head of the Saxons was the Count of Szeben, confirmed by the Hungarian king. King Charles I abolished the authority of the Count of Szeben and divided the Saxons' land (called King's land) into seats, the administration of which was entrusted to a royal judge appointed by the king. The town became the centre of Szeben Seat and a free royal town. The fortification of the town was carried out in several stages from the 13th to the 15th century. It was the most important Saxon town of the seven towns after which Transylvania got its German name Siebenbürgen. The town got rich from trade between Hungary and Wallachia. King Matthias of Hungary strengthened the autonomy of the Saxons, and the Transylvanian Saxon University was established, the self-governing body of the Transylvanian Saxons, which was subordinate to the king alone. The Count of the Saxons was elected by the Saxons from among the 12 members of the Szeben Town Council. The Saxons were to be judged exclusively by the Saxon University, and the official language was German. The Saxons converted to Lutheranism during the Reformation. From the 16th century onwards, the Saxons generally supported the Habsburgs against the Hungarians, despite the fact that most of the time they received only strong centralisation and violent recatholization in return, with the exception of their mostly loyal attitude towards the Principality of Transylvania, which had guaranteed their religious freedom and autonomy. For a long time after the Habsburg occupation of Transylvania in the 18th century, it was the seat of the Transylvanian provincial government. After the suppression of the Hungarian War of Independence in 1849, the Habsburg court abolished the autonomy of the Transylvanian Saxons who had supported them during the war. This was later restored, but was finally abolished with the modernisation of the public administration after the Austro-Hungarian Compromise. The fate of the Transylvanian Saxons was brought about by the Romanian occupation, after which the vast estates of the Saxon University were confiscated. The majority of the Saxons, who had been left in a hopeless situation, emigrated to Germany in exchange for ransom during the Ceaușescu era.
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Nagyszeben
Dan Tiganila, CC BY-SA 3.0 RO, via Wikimedia Commons
Medgyes, Mediaș
46k
The village was founded by the Székelys on the bank of the Nagy-Küküllő River, and it got its name from them, which is derived from the Hungarian word for sour cherry. In the 12th century, King Géza II of Hungary moved the Székelys to what is now Székelyföld and settled Germans, who were later called Saxons. The Transylvanian Saxons owed their extensive liberties and autonomy to King Andrew II of Hungary. The town received its privileges from Charles I, which were later extended by the Hungarian kings. The castle was created by fortifying the church of St Margaret, which was needed to meet the Turkish threat. The town walls were built on the orders of King Matthias of Hungary, who also strengthened the autonomy of the Saxons. In 1552, the town was granted the privilege of a free royal town by King Ferdinand I and became the centre of Kétszék (Two seats), which was created by merging the Saxon seats of Medgyes and Nagyselyk. It was clearly the centre of the Saxon lands along the Küküllő River and the Küküllő wine region. The Saxons converted to Lutheranism during the Reformation. In 1576, at the Diet held here, the Poles asked Báthory István, Prince of Transylvania, to be their king. Several Transylvanian diets were held within its walls. The Saxons always supported the Habsburgs against the Hungarians' efforts for regaining their independence. After the suppression of the Hungarian War of Independence in 1849, the Habsburg court abolished the autonomy of the Transylvanian Saxons who supported them. This was later restored, but was finally abolished with the modernisation of the public administration after the Austro-Hungarian Compromise. On 8 January 1919, when Transylvania was already under Romanian occupation, a meeting of Saxon delegates in Medgyes agreed to the union with Romania, which promised to restore their autonomy. In addition to failing to restore Saxon autonomy, Romania confiscated the vast estates of the Saxon community. The majority of the Saxons, who had been left in a hopeless situation, emigrated to Germany in exchange for ransom during the Ceaușescu era.
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Segesvár, Sighișoara
25k
The settlement was founded in the 12th century by Germans settled by King Géza II of Hungary, who were later called Saxons. The Transylvanian Saxons owed their extensive liberties and autonomy to King Andrew II of Hungary. Segesvár was raised to the rank of free royal town by King Louis I of Hungary in 1367. The Romanians believe that their national hero Vlad Tepes was born in the town, but there is no evidence that he ever visited the town. The Saxons have always supported the Habsburgs against the Hungarians' efforts for regaining their independence. The great poet of the Hungarian War of Independence, Petőfi Sándor, disappeared without a trace in the battle near the town. He probably fell victim to the Cossack cavalry of the Russian army. After the defeat of the War of Independence, the Habsburg court abolished the autonomy of the Transylvanian Saxons who had supported them. This was later restored, but was finally abolished with the modernisation of the public administration after the Austro-Hungarian Compromise. Segesvár then became the seat of Nagy-Küküllő County. The fate of the Transylvanian Saxons was brought about by the Romanian occupation. Romania, in addition to failing to restore Saxon autonomy, confiscated the vast estates of the Saxon community. The majority of the Saxons, who had been left in a hopeless situation, emigrated to Germany in exchange for ransom during the Ceaușescu era. Segesvár is one of the most beautiful Transylvanian Saxon towns, worth a visit for its medieval churches and well-preserved fortifications.
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Segesvár
Andrei kokelburg, CC BY-SA 3.0 RO, via Wikimedia Commons
Szatmárnémeti, Satu Mare
101k
The town on the banks of the Szamos River was formed by the merger of two municipalities, Szatmár and Németi. The castle of Szatmár was the centre of the county founded by St Stephen of Hungary, and its name derives from the ancient Hungarian personal name Zothmar. Németi, to the north, was founded by royal hunters settled there by his Bavarian wife, Queen Gisela. Szatmár is the centre of the plain named after it. Three castles stood here in succession, of which unfortunately nothing remains today. Szatmár gained its true significance only after the Battle of Mohács, when two kings were elected to the Hungarian throne, because it was located in the frontier between the two realms. This was in fact a struggle to preserve independent Hungarian statehood against the hegemony of the Habsburg Empire. The last castle was destroyed by order of Prince Rákóczi Ferenc II, after the German guards had been forced to surrender during the 1703-1711 Hungarian War of Independence, to prevent it from falling into the hands of the invaders again. It was here that the Peace of Szatmár was signed in 1711, ending the War of Independence. At the end of the 18th century, the county seat was moved to Nagykároly thanks to the influence of the Károlyi family. In 1804, King Francis I (Emperor Francis II) made it an episcopal see, and its cathedral was built by Bishop Hám János. One of the most famous buildings in the town is the Art Nouveau former Pannonia Hotel, built in 1902. Until the Trianon Dictate after World War I, the town was almost entirely Hungarian, with a small Romanian minority. In the 1970s, in order to reach the Romanian majority, the dictator Ceausescu had a new socialist town centre built, which, if not beautiful, at least gave the town an interesting new image.
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Szatmárnémeti
Bessenyei Gedő István, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Nagybánya, Baia Mare
123k
The town was founded on the gold and silver mines of the surrounding area, and gained the status of a free royal town in the first half of the 14th century. Its development was promoted by the Angevin monarchs of Hungary, Charles I and Louis the Great, who granted it privileges. Of the Gothic church dedicated to King Saint Stephen of Hungary, now only the tower completed under King Matthias remains, but it is the symbol of the city. Already in the early 15th century, the town had a coin mint, but its real boom began after it became the property of Hunyadi János, who built a house in the main square. It soon developed into one of the largest mining towns in Hungary and was increasingly referred to as Nagybánya. During the reign of King Matthias, Nagybánya accounted for more than half of the gold production in the Kingdom of Hungary. Matthias allowed it to be surrounded by walls to protect it from the raids of the Moldavian Vlachs. After the Reformation, Kopácsi István founded the first secondary school in Transylvania here, called Schola Rivulina. In 1551, the town fell into the hands of Emperor Ferdinand I, who leased the mines to private tenants, leading to the decline of mining. Mining revived under Prince Bethlen Gábor of Transylvania, who leased the mines to the town of Nagybánya. Most of the principality's money was minted here. The minting ceased in 1864. Gold mining continued until recently, and one of the mines here was responsible for the cyanide pollution of the Tisza River in 2000. The famous Nagybánya School of Painting and Artists Colony, established at the end of the 19th century, had a significant influence on Hungarian painting. The once Hungarian-majority town became Romanian-majority as a result of the massive settlements in the 20th century.
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Nagybánya
h_laca, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Déva, Deva
58k
When we hear the name Déva, the castle on the hill overlooking the Maros River and, of course, the story of Kelemen the Mason come to mind. Legend has it, that the walls of the castle kept falling down during construction, so the 12 masons agreed that the first of their wives to came up to the castle would be thrown into the fire and her ashes mixed with the lime. The victim was Kelemen's wife. The castle was built by Béla IV after the 1241-42 Mongol invasion and was a royal castle and the property of the vajda representing the power of the Hungarian king in Transylvania. The castle was held on that title by the oligarch Kán László, who imprisoned the pretender to the throne, Otto of Bavaria, in this castle after taking the Holy Crown of Hungary from him. After his death, his sons' army was defeated by Charles I of Hungary under the castle, which was also captured by the king. Hunyadi János, who later became Governor of Hungary, also gained possession of the castle as a vajda, as did Szapolyi János (the future King John I) later. Few people know that after his triumph over the Turks as captain of Eger Castle in 1552, Dobó István was appointed vajda of Transylvania, and with it he received Déva. During the Principality of Transylvania, its military importance increased when in 1616 Prince Bethlen Gábor had to cede Lippa to the Turks, making Déva a border castle. However, the Turks never laid siege to it. It was here that Széchy Mária, the future 'Venus of Murány', who inherited the castle from her husband, the nephew of Prince Bethlen Gábor, found refuge from her aggressive new husband. During the 1703-1711 Hungarian War of Independence, it was captured by the kuruc insurgents, and taken back from them by the 'labanc', the imperials, under the leadership of Csáky András. It was then strengthened by the Austrians, and the nobility of Hunyad County took refuge here from the bloodthirsty Vlach mob led by Horea in 1784. The castle was then abandoned, and it was only saved by the fact that in 1817 the visiting Emperor Francis I liked it so much that he ordered its restoration. During the 1848-1849 Hungarian War of Independence, the Austrian guards surrendered the castle to the Hungarian soldiers. At the end of the war, however, the castle's powder magazine exploded under circumstances that are still unclear, killing more than a hundred Hungarian soldiers and destroying the castle.
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Déva
Costel Munteanu, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Szászsebes, Sebeș
20k
After the arrival of the Hungarians, a Székely centre was established on the right bank of the Sebes River, where a church was built. The Székelys were moved by King Géza II of Hungary to the area of today's Sepsiszék (in Székelyland), which was named after their former town. In their place the king settled Germans, who were later called Saxons. The Transylvanian Saxons owed their extensive freedoms and autonomy to King Andrew II of Hungary. It became the centre of a Saxon seat, an administrative unit of the Saxons, and from 1345 it was known as a free royal town. King Sigismund allowed it to be surrounded by a wall against the Turks. In 1438, the Saxons surrendered the town at the behest of the Turks and their vassal Vlad Drakul of Wallachia, and only a Hungarian nobleman resisted with his family and a few followers. The Turks took most of the population into captivity. The Turks raided and ravaged the town several times during the century, but the Hungarian armies drove the Turks out of the country each time. During the Reformation, the Saxons converted to Lutheranism. King John I of Hungary died in the town in 1540. His son John Sigismund wanted to make it his seat, but he died in 1571. In 1659, at the Diet held here, the symbols of the Transylvanian nations were enacted into law. The Hungarian noble counties were represented by the half eagle, the Székelys by the pair of sun and moon, and the Saxons by seven bastions. In February 1849, Bem's Hungarian revolutionary troops gathered under its walls and marched from here to the victorious Battle of Piski. After the defeat of the Hungarian War of Independence, the Habsburg court abolished the autonomy of the Transylvanian Saxons who had supported them. This was later restored, but was finally abolished with the modernisation of the public administration after the Austro-Hungarian Compromise. By the end of the 19th century, the town had become a major centre for the timber industry. After the Romanian occupation, the vast estates of the Transylvanian Saxon community were confiscated. By this time, the Saxon population, depleted by war ravages, had been largely replaced by immigrant Romanians. The majority of the remaining Saxons emigrated to Germany in exchange for ransom during the Ceaușescu era.
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Szászsebes
Levente Nuber, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Beszterce, Bistrița
67k
The present town was founded by German miners settled by King Géza II of Hungary in the 12th century. As early as 1330, King Charles I declared it a free royal town, which indicates its significance. King Louis the Great also granted it staple right on the trade route between Moldavia and Poland. King Laszló V of Hungary created the short-lived County of Beszterce in 1452 to protect the mountain passes leading to Moldavia, and appointed Hunyadi János as its count. He had a castle built in the town and on the hill north of the town. After his son Matthias came to power, he made his uncle, Szilágyi Mihály, Count of Beszterce. He treated the burghers as serfs, then besieged the town and ruthlessly suppressed their resistance. King Matthias then captured his uncle, and later abolished the Count of Beszterce, restored the town's privileges and allowed the hill fortress to be demolished and its stones used to build a strong wall around the town. Most of the town fortifications were unfortunately demolished in the 19th century. The Transylvanian Saxons converted to Lutheranism during the Reformation. The town's main landmark, the beautiful Lutheran church, was unfortunately set on fire in 2008 but has since been restored. The Romanians who invaded Transylvania at the end of 1918 gradually made the Saxons' situation impossible, and in the Ceaușescu era most of them emigrated to Germany in exchange for a ransom.
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Beszterce
Zsolt deak, CC BY-SA 3.0 RO, via Wikimedia Commons
Kézdivásárhely, Târgu Secuiesc
17k
In the 12th century, the Székelys who moved here from the area of today's Szászkézd founded Kézdiszék, whose centre later became Kézdivásárhely. The Székelys had equal rights with the nobles, owned their own land, paid mostly no taxes, and in return were obliged to go to war one by one to defend Hungary from foreign invasions. The settlement developed around a market place in the centre of the Upper Háromszék basin, at the junction of roads coming in from five directions. It was originally named Torjavására after the nearby village of Torja and the stream of the same name. Its present name appeared in the middle of the 16th century, when it was already a major town. The town became an important handicraft centre in Székelyland, and several guilds were established. During the 1848-1849 Hungarian War of Independence, it was the centre of defence for the Székely people of Háromszék, and it was here that Gábor Áron cast his cannons, and his statue has stood in the main square since 1971. In 1849, it was united with Kanta, which was famous for its grammar school run by Minorite fathers. In 1876, when the public administration was modernised, the Székely seats were abolished and then it became part of Háromszék County. From 1952 to 1960, it was part of the Hungarian autonomous region created under Soviet pressure, which was gradually abolished by the Romanians. In 1968 it became part of Kovászna County. It is now the easternmost Hungarian-majority town in the Carpathian Basin.
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Szászrégen, Reghin
25k
The settlement was probably founded in the time of King Saint László of Hungary. In the second half of the 13th century, it was the manorial centre of the Tomaj and Kacsik families, and Dénes of the Tomaj clan began to settle the Saxon craftsmen on the land donated to them by the king. Its Gothic church, built in the early 14th century, became the seat of a deanery. Magyarrégen was first mentioned as a separate settlement in the middle of the century. In the 16th century, the church became Lutheran and was fortified. In 1661 the Transylvanian Diet elected Kemény János prince in the town. In the 18th century, it was mentioned as an excellent winegrowing and wine-producing region, but the town's handicraft industry was also important. Its timber merchants were of great importance. The Transylvanian timber was transported on rafts down the Maros River to Arad, which took three weeks. Szászrégen was declared a free royal town quite late, in 1863. At the beginning of the 20th century, it was inhabited by an equal number of Saxons and Hungarians, with a smaller number of Vlachs. After the Romanian invasion, the Romanians began to settle in large numbers. The Saxon population emigrated to Germany in exchange for ransom during the Ceaușescu era. The main attractions of the town are its churches. It is also worth mentioning the Romanesque church of Abafája, which was annexed to the town in 1956.
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Szászrégen
Elekes Andor, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Szászváros, Orăștie
18k
In the middle of the 12th century, King Géza II of Hungary moved German settlers to the town, who were later called Saxons. The Transylvanian Saxons owed their extensive freedoms and autonomy to King Andrew II of Hungary. The town was destroyed several times by Turkish raiding armies in the 15th century, but the Hungarian armies drove the Turks out of the country each time. King Matthias strengthened the autonomy of the Saxons, and the Transylvanian Saxon University, the self-governing body of the Transylvanian Saxons, was established. From the end of the century, the town council was composed of an equal number of Hungarians and Saxons, and the town's leaders were elected annually, alternating between the two nations. This system survived until 1848. During the Reformation, the Saxons of Transylvania almost unanimously converted to Lutheranism, while the Hungarian population chose the Reformed (Calvinist) faith and the Reformation of the Vlachs was also led from the town. In 1582, a highly influential Vlach (Romanian) translation of the Old Testament, the Old Testament of Szászváros, was printed in the town. In 1663, Prince Apafi Mihály I of Transylvania elevated its Reformed school to the rank of a college. Due to immigration in the 18th century, the Vlachs began to become the majority in the town, which the court tried to counteract by settling Germans from Upper Austria. During the 1848 Hungarian Revolution, the Hungarian and Vlach inhabitants of the town joined in a demonstration for the reunification of Transylvania with Hungary, mainly against the Saxon University. After the defeat of the Hungarian War of Independence, the Habsburg court abolished the autonomy of the pro-Habsburg Transylvanian Saxons. This was later restored, but was finally abolished with the modernisation of the public administration after the Austro-Hungarian Compromise. After the Romanian invasion, the vast estates of the Saxon University were confiscated, as were the lands of Hungarian nobles and churches, which financed the education of the two nationalities in their mother tongues. Most of the Saxons emigrated to Germany in exchange for ransom during the Ceaușescu era.
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Szászváros
TheSzeckler, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Lippa, Lipova
7k
The town, which developed at the Maros ferry, owes its importance to the junction of the trade routes. King Charles I of Hungary, when he had his seat in Temesvár because of the oligarchs ruling most of the country, visited Lippa frequently and had a church built here. He later established a coin mint in Lippa. In the 14th century, it was the largest town in Arad County, and its importance exceeded that of the town of Arad. It was here that the salt transported on the Maros River was stored. The first castle in the settlement was built by Hunyadi János. In 1529, King John I of Hungary elevated the town to the status of a free royal town to promote its development. After the fall of Buda, the widowed Queen Isabella and little John Sigismund took refuge here. After Isabella surrendered Transylvania to King Ferdinand under the coercion of George Martinuzzi, the governor of Transylvania, the Turks occupied Lippa. George Martinuzzi's fate was caused by his double-dealing at Lippa. After besieging Lippa and granting the Turks free retreat, he lost the Emperor's confidence and was assassinated. Lippa was captured by the Turks for an extended period in a punitive campaign launched the following year. In 1595, Lippa was liberated by Hungarian troops of the Principality of Transylvania, but in 1616 the prince was forced to cede it again at the Turkish demand. It was finally liberated at the end of the 17th century, but its castle had to be demolished under the terms of a peace treaty with the Turks. In the resettlement of the area, the Habsburgs favoured the Germans and the Vlachs over the Hungarians. In the 19th century, the town regained its importance, when the Lippa raftsmen, together with the company in Szászrégen, reached monopoly in the transport of wood from Transylvania on the Maros River. Next to the town, on the northern side of the Maros, is the village of Máriaradna, whose church was the most prestigious pilgrimage site in the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, along with Mariazell.
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Lippa
Nicole me1, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Lugos, Lugoj
39k
The town was founded by the Hungarians and its name is of Hungarian origin. It was part of the Krassó County, founded by St. Stephen of Hungary. In the middle of the 14th century the first Vlach immigrants arrived from the Balkans. They settled around the castles and acted as border guards. Lugos became the seat of one of these Vlach districts. It was under the jurisdiction of the Banate of Szörény, which was part of Hungary. From 1438, Hunyadi János held the office of the ban of Szörény and built a stone castle in the town. During the reign of King Matthias it belonged to the Temes County. In the 16th century, it became one of the seats of the Banate of Lugos and Karánsebes, which was a border region of the Eastern Hungarian Kingdom, later the Principality of Transylvania. In 1595, during the 15 Years' War, the prince commissioned Borbély György, ban of Lugos and Karánsebes, to launch a campaign against the Turks. It became successfull and the Transylvanian army advanced as far as Arad, liberating the area along the Maros River from the Turks. In 1658, Lugos came under Turkish control, when Grand Vizier Köprülü Mehmed marched into Transylvania in retaliation for Prince Rákóczi György II's campaign in Poland, wreaked havoc there with his armies amd demanded, among others, that the towns of Lugos and Karánsebes be ceded to them as a condition for his withdrawal. It was retaken by imperial troops at the end of the century, but the peace treaty with the Turks required the castle to be demolished. After the Turks were driven out of Temesvár, Lugos became part of the Banate of Temes, created by the Habsburgs. Hungarians were forbidden from returning to the area, and it was repopulated with German, Serbian and Vlach settlers. German settlers founded Németlugos on the left bank of the Temes River, while Oláhlugos on the right bank was inhabited mostly by Vlachs. In 1778, the area became part of Hungary again and the county of Krassó was re-established, with Lugos as its seat. By the end of the century, the German and the Vlach towns were united. In 1881, Szörény County was merged with Krassó County and Lugos became the seat of Krassó-Szörény County. Prior to the First World War, the town was inhabited by roughly equal numbers of Vlachs, Germans and Hungarians. Today, with a small Hungarian minority, the town's population is predominantly Vlach (Romanian).
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Lugos
Radu Trifan, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Karánsebes, Caransebeș
24k
The settlement was established where the Sebes stream flows into the Temes river. In the 13th century, a castle named after the Sebes stream was built. It was part of Krassó County, founded by St. Stephen of Hungary, whose population was mostly Hungarian. In the middle of the 14th century, the first Vlach immigrants arrived from the Balkans. They settled around the castles and acted as border guards. Sebes became the seat of one such Vlach district. It was under the jurisdiction of the Banate of Szörény, which was part of Hungary. From 1438, Hunyadi János held the office of the ban of Szörény. At the time of King Matthias it belonged to Temes County. In the 15th century, Sebes on the right bank of the Temes River and Karán on the left bank became a single settlement. In the 16th century, it became one of the seats of the Banate of Lugos and Karánsebes, which was a border region of the Eastern Hungarian Kingdom, later the Principality of Transylvania. Even then, the town was inhabited mostly by Vlachs. In 1595, during the 15 Years' War, the prince commissioned Borbély György, ban of Lugos and Karánsebes, to launch a campaign against the Turks. It became successfull and the Transylvanian army advanced as far as Arad, liberating the area along the Maros River from the Turks. In 1658, Karánsebes came under Turkish control, when Grand Vizier Köprülü Mehmed marched into Transylvania in retaliation for Prince Rákóczi György II's campaign in Poland, wreaked havoc there with his armies amd demanded, among others, that the towns of Lugos and Karánsebes be ceded to them as a condition for his withdrawal. During the Turkish rule, it was under the jurisdiction of the bey of Karánsebes and Lugos, the seat of the bey being in Karánsebes. It was retaken by imperial troops at the end of the century, but the peace treaty with the Turks required the castle to be demolished. After the Turks were driven out of Temesvár, Lugos became part of the Banate of Temes, created by the Habsburgs. Hungarians were forbidden from returning to the area. Most of the Banate of Temes became part of Hungary again in 1778, but Karánsebes remained part of the border region under military administration. Only after the Austro-Hungarian Compromise, in 1872, was the border region dissolved and Karánsebes became the seat of the reorganised Szörény County. It lost its status as a county seat in 1881, when the county of Szörény was merged with the county of Krassó.
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Karánsebes
Andrei kokelburg, CC BY-SA 3.0 RO, via Wikimedia Commons
Fogaras, Făgăraș
30k
The town's number one attraction is its castle on the banks of the Olt River. It was in this area that the nomadic Vlach people, engaged in shepherdry, first settled in Transylvania, sometime in the late 12th century. The first castle, still made of wood, was built in the early 14th century by the Transylvanian vajda and oligarch Kán László. Hungary was split in two after the Battle of Mohács in 1526, when both Ferdinand I of Habsburg and Szapolyai János (John I) were elected king. King Ferdinand I gave half of the castle to Majláth István, in return for siding with him with the treasures of the late Hungarian King Louis II guarded in Pozsony. Majláth later went over to King John I to obtain the other half of the castle, which he eventually acquired through marriage. King John I appointed Majláth István vajda of Transylvania. Under his leadership, the Venetian adventurer Lodovico Gritti, the governor of Hungary who betrayed King John I, was put to an end in 1534. Majláth built the stone castle by demolishing the wooden castle. Majláth later plotted against King John I, for which he was sentenced to death. Török Bálint was commissioned to capture him by besiegeing Fogaras, but he refused, as they were old friends. In 1541, he was finally lured out of the castle by Turkish troops, taken to Constantinople and imprisoned in the Seven Towers (Yedikule Fortress), where he died together with Török Bálint. The castle then passed to Bekes Gáspár, from whom it was seized by Prince Bárhory István of Transylvania after a two-week siege in 1573 for rebelling against him at the instigation of the Habsburgs. In 1599, it was briefly occupied by Voivode Mihai Viteazul of Wallachia, who wreaked havoc on Transylvania. Later Fogaras became the estate of the princes, which they generally ceded to their wives. Prince Bethlen Gábor had it remodelled by an Italian master. It was here that the representatives of Transylvania signed the Declaration of Fogaras, in which they seceded from the Ottoman Empire and placed Transylvania under the protection of the Habsburg Emperor, and the Diploma Leopoldinum was proclaimed at the Diet of Fogaras in 1691. In 1878, the town became the seat of Fogaras County, which was merged into Brassó County in 1950.
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Fogaras
Johan Kessler, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Vajdahunyad, Hunedoara
58k
Already in the 11th century there was a hillfort here, which gave the name to Hunyad County. King Sigismund of Hungary donated the estate to the kenéz Vajk, son of Serbe, probably of Cuman origin. He named his family after the estate and was the father of Hunyadi János. The family then built the predecessor of the present stone castle as the centre of the estate. In the middle of the 15th century, while Hunyadi János was governor of Hungary, his wife, Szilágyi Erzsébet, lived in the castle. The castle underwent significant construction at this time, but even then it was more of a noble residence. It became the property of his son, King Matthias, who gave it to his illegitimate son, Corvin János. His widow, Frangepán Beatrix, inherited it from him, and her new husband George, Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach, handed it over to King Ferdinand I in 1531, from whom Bishop Czibak Imre of Várad seized it by siege on behalf of King John I. It was of little military significance during the Principality of Transylvania, but it successfully withstood the siege of Voivode Mihai Viteazul of Wallachia, who wreaked havoc on Transylvania, and was later rebuilt and strengthened by Prince Bethlen Gábor. In 1671, the estate became the property of Thököly Imre, the future Prince of Upper Hungary, from whom it was confiscated by Prince Apafi Mihály of Transylvania after his fall. During the 18th century, the manor was passed from Apafi's heirs to the treasury and used by the offices of the estate. At the beginning of the 19th century, Emperor Francis I visited it and ordered its restoration, but a fire caused by a lightning strike prevented it. After the Austro-Hungarian Compromise, the castle was restored in several stages and a replica was built in Budapest for the millennium celebrations. Iron and gold were mined near the settlement as early as the 15th century, but iron production really took off in the 19th century, and Vajdahunyad developed into an iron metallurgical centre. The iron and steel industry continued to define the town's image throughout the 20th century.
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Vajdahunyad
Carcea Daniel, CC BY-SA 3.0 RO, via Wikimedia Commons
Resicabánya, Reșița
69k
The settlement was first mentioned in Turkish times. In 1716 the imperial army of Prince Eugene of Savoy expelled the Turks from Temesvár. During the Turkish Wars, the area of Temesköz, once inhabited mostly by Hungarians, was completely depopulated. The Habsburgs created the Banate of Temes with the seat of Temesvár in the area. Hungarians were forbidden to return to the area, and it was repopulated with German, Serbian and Vlach settlers. The development of copper mining and metallurgy then began, with German settlers being brought in to facilitate this and Németresica was founded. The area became part of Hungary again in 1778. In 1793, the production of munitions also began. In 1848, the town sided with the Hungarian Revolution and War of Independence and the factory was converted to supply the revolutionary troops with munitions. The town repulsed initial attacks by pro-Hapsburg Serb and Vlach border guards, but was finally captured by the overwhelming force in December. Later, during the 19th century, the production of railway rails and steel railway bridges started, and in 1872 the first steam locomotive, the Resicza, was manufactured here in Hungary. Resicabánya became a stronghold of iron and steel metallurgy. During the First World War, arms and ammunition production became the main profile of the Resica factories. In 1924, after the Romanian occupation, it was the first in Romania to manufacture oil rigs, and later became a regular production site for oil mining equipment for the Romanian oil fields. Under socialism, most of the town was demolished and a new town was built in its place in socialist style.
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Resicabánya
Aisano, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
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The town was the birthplace of two prominent figures in Hungarian history, King Matthias in 1443 and Bocskai István in 1557, who later became Prince of Transylvania and Hungary. It was during the period of the Principality of Transylvania that Kolozsvár became a truly important city, from which the appellation 'Treasure Kolozsvár' derives. Although the capitol of the Principality was always Gyulafehérvár, the first city (civitas primaria) of the Principality was Kolozsvár, where many Diets were held. After the defeat of the 1703-1711 Hungarian War of Independence led by Prince Rákóczi Ferenc II, the Austrians built a citadel near the city, despite the protests of the inhabitants. It became the capital of Transylvania in 1790, when the Government moved here from Nagyszeben. It was here that the Transylvanian Diet declared reunification with Hungary in 1848 and again in 1865. Its status as a capital was effectively abolished with the 1867 Austro-Hungarian Compromise, when Transylvania was actually reunited with Hungary after 297 years. In 1902, the statue of King Matthias made by Fadrusz János was unveiled in the Main Square. In December 1918, the Hungarian population of 26 counties protested here against the annexation to Romania. The town was still Hungarian-majority in the 1950s, but gradually became Romanian-majority as a result of the massive settlements."},{"id":"59","name":"Nagyvárad","localname":"Oradea","seolink":"nagyvarad-oradea","gps_lat":"47.0561580000","gps_long":"21.9294480000","population":"196","picture":"","picture_ref":"","description":"The name of the town means \"little castle\", which refers to the castle that stood here at the time of King St Stephen of Hungary. King Saint László of Hungary moved the Bishopric of Bihar here at the end of the 11th century and began building its cathedral. It was not completed until after his death, but it was here that he was finally laid to rest. After his canonisation in 1192, his tomb became a place of pilgrimage. Várad became the second most important religious and spiritual centre of the Kingdom of Hungary, where trials by ordeal took place. Most of the litigation, however, was settled before the trial actually took place. In 1390, in the presence of Queen Mary and King Sigismund of Hungary, the gilded equestrian statue of King Saint László, made by the Kolozsvári brothers, was erected in front of the cathedral. It was the first Renaissance public equestrian statue in Europe. The cathedral was the third in Europe to be granted a charter of indulgence in 1407. Sigismund, who was later elected Holy Roman Emperor, loved the town very much and was laid to rest here. By the middle of the century, thanks to Bishop Vitéz János, Várad had become a centre of humanism. In the 16th century a new, stronger fortress was built against the Turks, and it became the most important bastion of the Principality of Transylvania. In 1557 the cathedral and the diocese fell victim to the Reformation. In 1660, the Turks captured Várad after 46 days of siege and destroyed the famous statues of the Hungarian kings. After the Turks were driven out, the fortress was rebuilt in the 18th century and a new Baroque cathedral and bishop's palace were built. During the 1848-49 Hungarian War of Independence, the fortress's German garrison sided with the revolution and the town was home to the largest Hungarian military factory. At the turn of the 20th century the town underwent significant development, was one of the centres of Hungarian culture, and the Art Nouveau contributed greatly to its architecture. A town was Hungarian-majority throughout its history, it only became a Romanian-majority town in the 1970s as a result of the massive settlements."},{"id":"85","name":"Marosvásárhely","localname":"Târgu Mureș","seolink":"marosvasarhely-targu-mures","gps_lat":"46.5462280000","gps_long":"24.5645580000","population":"133","picture":"","picture_ref":"","description":"The town was founded by the Székelys, and from the very beginning it was a market town. The Székelys had equal rights with the nobles, owned their own land, paid mostly no taxes, in return they were obliged to go to war one by one to defend Hungary from foreign invasions. The town has hosted the Diet 36 times. The Franciscan church was fortified by the Transylvanian vajda Báthory István to subdue the free Székely people, but the resistance of the Székelys caused him to be deposed by King Ulászló II of Hungary. Its Reformed college, founded in 1557, was the first Hungarian-language school in Transylvania, until then education had been in Latin. In 1602, the construction of the castle began under the leadership of Borsos Tamás, the town magistrate, after the ravages of General Basta's imperial army. In 1616, Prince Bethlen Gábor of Transylvania raised it to the status of a free royal town. It was here that the last prince, Rákóczi Ferenc II, was elected during the 1703-1711 Hungarian War of Independence. At the end of the 18th century, Count Teleki Sámuel, Chancellor of Transylvania, moved his famous library, the Teleki Téka, to Marosvásárhely. In 1861 it became the seat of Marosszék. In 1876, the Székely seats were abolished during the modernisation of the public administration, and it became the seat of Maros-Torda County. At the beginning of the 20th century, under the mayoralty of Bernády György, the town was rapidly modernised, with the construction of the Art Nouveau Town Hall (now County Hall) and the Palace of Culture. After the Romanian invasion in 1918, the Hungarian statues were torn down, a Romanian mayor was appointed and more and more Romanians were settled in the town. From 1952 to 1968 it was the centre of the Hungarian autonomous region, created under Soviet pressure, which was then abolished by the Romanians. It retained its Hungarian majority until the 1990s, but they still make up almost half of the population."},{"id":"66","name":"Temesvár","localname":"Timișoara","seolink":"temesvar-timisoara","gps_lat":"45.7559420000","gps_long":"21.2299690000","population":"319","picture":"","picture_ref":"","description":"The name of the town refers to the fact that a castle used to stand here on the banks of the river Temes. Indeed, when the Hungarians built a castle here in the 10th century, the Temes was still flowing by. Today, the river bypasses the town a few kilometres to the south, and the town is bisected by the Béga Canal, built in the first half of the 18th century, when the surrounding marshes were drained. The seat of Temes County became the capital of Hungary for a short time in the early 14th century, when King Charles I moved his court here to escape the oligarchs ruling most of the country, notably Csák Máté, and had a stone castle built. The castle, damaged in an earthquake, was repaired and strengthened by Hunyadi János, who was appointed ispán of Temes County in 1441. The castle still bears his name. In 1514, the army of Dózsa György, who led the greatest Hungarian peasant uprising, was crushed near the town and he himself was burnt here on a blazing iron throne. A chapel of Mary was erected on the site of his execution in 1906. The Hungarian town met its fate on 27 July 1552, when Captain Losonczy István, who had left the castle that became impossible to defend after 25 days of siege with the promise of free retreat, was slaughtered by the Turks with the town's entire population. Until the Romanian occupation, the main square of the town was called Losonczy Square in his honour. Temesvár became the seat of an Ottoman province and was ruled by a Pasha until 1716, when it was captured from them by the imperial army of Prince Eugene of Savoy. During the Turkish Wars, the region called Temesköz, once inhabited mostly by Hungarians, was completely depopulated and the town itself was destroyed in the siege. The Habsburgs created the Banate of Temes with the seat of Temesvár in the area. The Hungarians were forbidden to return to the area, and it was repopulated with German, Serbian and Vlach settlers. The town was completely rebuilt and a modern star-shaped fortress was built around it. In 1732, it became the seat of the Bishopric of Csanád, established by St Stephen of Hungary in the 11th century. In 1778, the area became part of Hungary again and Temes County was re-established, but the geographical area has been called Bánság (Banate) ever since. By the early 20th century, it had become the most multicultural region of Hungary. This was ended by the Trianon Dictate, which divided the Banate between Romania and Serbia. Since then the Germans have disappeared and the Hungarian population have dwindled."},{"id":"77","name":"Brassó","localname":"Brașov","seolink":"brasso-brasov","gps_lat":"45.6422750000","gps_long":"25.5895020000","population":"253","picture":"","picture_ref":"","description":"The town was founded by German settlers in the early 13th century. They arrived with the Teutonic Knights, who were entrusted by King Andrew II with the defence of the Hungarian border and the castle on Cenk hill. The knights, who thought too highly of themselves, were soon driven out by the king, but the settlers were allowed to stay and Brassó developed into the centre of the Saxon land of Barcaság. King Louis I of Hungary made Brassó the administrative centre of the region, for its citizens helped to build the castle of Törcsvár. His daughter, Queen Mary, ordered the construction of the town walls. King Sigismund of Hungary granted the town staple right on the trade route with Wallachia. Hunyadi János gave permission to the people of Brassó to use the ruins of the royal castle on the Cenk hill to complete the town walls, because of the constant raids by the Turks. Hungary was split in two after the Battle of Mohács in 1526, when both Ferdinand I of Habsburg and John I were elected king. The Saxon burghers supported Ferdinand, for which the town's loyalty towards King John I had to be enforced by siege in 1530. It remained mostly loyal thereafter, if only because the religious freedom of the citizens who converted to Lutheranism was guaranteed by the Principality of Transylvania. At the end of the 17th century, the Habsburg troops occupying Transylvania captured the town by siege. The leader of the imperial armies, Caraffa, set the town on fire, and legend has it that this is when its famous church got its black colour. By the beginning of the 20th century, there were far more Hungarians than Germans in the town, who were even slightly outnumbered by the Vlachs. The monument erected on Cenk Hill in 1896 to commemorate the thousandth anniversary of Hungary was blown up by two Romanian terrorists in 1913. After the Romanian occupation, Brassó became a Romanian-majority town due to massive settlements. Many of the Saxon inhabitants were deported to the Soviet Union in 1945, while the rest emigrated to Germany in the Ceaușescu era in exchange for ransom. The city's medieval fortifications, churches, town houses, citadel and the public buildings and palaces built at the turn of the 20th century make it one of the richest cities in Transylvania in terms of architectural monuments."},{"id":"73","name":"Gyulafehérvár","localname":"Alba Iulia; Bălgrad","seolink":"gyulafehervar-alba-iulia","gps_lat":"46.0680010000","gps_long":"23.5708800000","population":"55","picture":"","picture_ref":"","description":"The Roman invaders who built the city of Apulum had long since been gone when the Slavs who settled here in the 7th century named their settlement Belgrade (White Castle) after the white ruins of the former city. This name was taken over by the Hungarians who arrived in the 9th century and the sparse Slav population assimilated into them. From the very beginning, the Hungarians governed Transylvania from here, and this was the seat of the gyula, an ancient Hungarian office which also appears in the name of the town. Later, it was also the seat of the Transylvanian vajda, who represented the Hungarian royal power in this remote corner of the country, beyond the forests (Transsylvania). St Stephen of Hungary founded the Catholic diocese of Transylvania, whose cathedral and palace were built in the castle of Gyulafehérvár. The town also became the seat of Fehér (White) County. Until 1542 the town was administered by the Bishop of Transylvania. At that time, the widowed Queen Isabella moved here with her son John Sigismund, when the capital of the country, Buda, was conquered by the Turks in 1541, after the death of King John I of Hungary. The Bishop's Palace was then remodelled to suit the seat of the Eastern Hungarian Kingdom. The country was split in two after the Battle of Mohács in 1526, when both Ferdinand I of Habsburg and Szapolyai János (John I) were elected king. Under the terms of the Treaty of Speyer of 1570, John Sigismund renounced his title of King of Hungary in favour of King Maximilian I (Emperor Maximilian II) and assumed the title of Prince of Transylvania. From then until 1690, Gyulafehérvár was the capital of the Principality of Transylvania. The princes were buried in the cathedral here. The last prince, Rákóczi Ferenc II, was elected here during the 1703-1711 Hungarian War of Independence. In the 18th century, on the orders of King Charles III, the town was transformed into a star-shaped fortress and renamed Karlsburg, after the king. The fortress city could not be liberated during the 1848-1849 Hungarian War of Independence. Transylvania was formally reunited with Hungary with the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867. On 1 December 1918, the Vlach migrants of Hungary gathered here to declare unification with Romania, regardless of other nationalities. At that time, the town still had about the same number of Hungarians and Vlachs. The city is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese, and the denomination's adherents are mostly Hungarians."},{"id":"64","name":"Arad","localname":"Arad","seolink":"arad","gps_lat":"46.1717560000","gps_long":"21.3157700000","population":"159","picture":"","picture_ref":"","description":"The city on the banks of the Maros River with a turbulent history has risen from the ashes several times. Arad County was founded by St Stephen of Hungary in the first half of the 11th century. The name of Arad is derived from a Hungarian personal name, probably the name of the first ispán of the county. The first castle named Arad was not yet here, but 7 km east of the present town. Arad was destroyed by the Mongols, and was not mentioned as a castle for a long time. The foundations of modern Arad were laid by refugees fleeing Turkish raids. In 1551, the Turks captured Arad Castle, completely destroyed the town, massacred its population and built a new wooden palisade. Arad was liberated by the Hungarian troops of the Transylvanian Principality in 1595, but in 1616 the prince was forced to cede it again at the Turkish demand. It was finally liberated in the 1680s and became the seat of a frontier region. In the 18th century the Habsburgs built a huge modern fortress near Arad. This was captured by the Hungarians in 1849 during the Hungarian War of Independence after a bloody nine-month siege. Following the Russian intervention, the commander of the Austrian armies, Haynau, had 13 Hungarian officers (12 generals and a colonel) executed in Arad, who are known today as the Arad Martyrs. The famous Statue of Liberty, the work of Zala György, was erected in their memory in 1890. The city underwent a major development after the Austro-Hungarian Compromise, and in 1909 the car industry was launched. After the Romanian occupation, the Romanian authorities had the Statue of Liberty removed and they allowed the statue to be re-erected only in 2004, not in its original place, but in the company of a Romanian triumphal arch. The town, still predominantly Hungarian at the time of the occupation, became a Romanian-majority town as a result of the settlements and persecutions during the 20th century."},{"id":"82","name":"Csíkszereda","localname":"Miercurea Ciuc","seolink":"csikszereda-miercurea-ciuc","gps_lat":"46.3581380000","gps_long":"25.8052030000","population":"37","picture":"","picture_ref":"","description":"The Székely settlement developed in the early 15th century, as its name suggests, at the site of fairs held on Wednesdays, in the middle of the Csík Basin, at the junction of north-south and east-west trade routes. The Székelys had equal rights with the nobles, owned their own land, paid mostly no taxes, and in return were obliged to go to war one by one to defend Hungary from foreign invasions. Prince Bethlen Gábor of Transylvania donated the town to the Székely aristocrat Mikó Ferenc of Hídvégi, who started the construction of the castle. Also in the first half of the 17th century, the Franciscan grammar school was founded in Csíksomlyó. The castle, destroyed by the Turks, was restored by the Habsburgs after the defeat of the 1703-1711 Hungarian War of Independence, and served as a barracks for the imperial army. From 1764, it became the headquarters of the 1st Székely Border Regiment, established by Empress Maria Theresa, whose command was established in the Mikó Castle. In 1849, the Székely troops played an important role in the liberation of Transylvania from imperial occupation. The town was traditionally the centre of Csíkszék. In 1876, the Székely seats were abolished during the modernisation of the public administration, and then it became the seat of Csík County. In the early 20th century, the famous Csíksomlyó Grammar School moved to the town. From 1952 to 1968, it was part of the Hungarian autonomous region created under Soviet pressure, which was then abolished by the Romanians. It then became the seat of Hargita County. It is still a Hungarian majority town. The Csíksomlyó church is one of the largest pilgrimage sites for Hungarians, with hundreds of thousands of visitors to its famous Pentecostal feast every year. The town is also famous for its ice hockey team and beer production."},{"id":"79","name":"Sepsiszentgyörgy","localname":"Sfântu Gheorghe","seolink":"sepsiszentgyorgy-sfantu-gheorghe","gps_lat":"45.8645730000","gps_long":"25.7890020000","population":"54","picture":"","picture_ref":"","description":"In the 12th century, Sepsiszék and its centre Szentgyörgy was founded by Székelys that were moved from the area of today's Szászsebes. The name of the Székely seat, Sepsi, is derived from the name of the former settlement of its inhabitants. The Székelys had equal rights with the nobles, owned their own land, paid mostly no taxes, but in return they were obliged to go to war one by one to defend Hungary from foreign invasions. From the middle of the 15th century, Szentgyörgy was called a town. In 1562, three Székely seats (Sepsiszék, Orbaiszék and Kézdiszék) were united under the name of Háromszék (Three seats), and its centre became Sepsiszentgyörgy. In 1764 it became the station of a Hussar border guard regiment. In 1848, thanks to Gábor Áron, the people of Háromszék declared to join the Hungarian War of Independence in the ceremonial hall of the headquarters of Háromszék. Gábor Áron and his companions cast cannons from bells in the foundries of Háromszék for the War of Independence. After the Austro-Hungarian Compromise, with the support of Count Mikó Imre, the new building of the Reformed College was constructed, which later took the name of the Reformed Székely Mikó College. The Székely National Museum, designed by Kós Károly, was opened in the town. The famous architect enriched the town's image with several buildings. In 1876, when the public administration was modernised, the Székely seats were abolished and the town became the seat of Háromszék County. From 1952 to 1960, it was part of the Hungarian autonomous region, created under Soviet pressure, which was gradually abolished by the Romanians. In 1968 it became the seat of Kovászna County. It is still a Hungarian majority town."},{"id":"81","name":"Székelyudvarhely","localname":"Odorheiu Secuiesc","seolink":"szekelyudvarhely-odorheiu-secuiesc","gps_lat":"46.3038730000","gps_long":"25.2950600000","population":"34","picture":"","picture_ref":"","description":"The name of the settlement founded by the Székelys refers to the fact that the Székely ispán had his court here. It is the traditional centre of Székelyland, where judgements of the Székely seats could be appealed against. The Székelys had equal rights with the nobles, owned their own land, paid mostly no taxes, and in return were obliged to go to war one by one to defend Hungary from foreign invasions. Udvarhely was raised to the status of a town by King Sigismund of Hungary. Báthory István, vajda of Transylvania, first tried to build a castle here to subdue the free Székely people, but the resistance of the Székelys caused him to be deposed by King Ulászló II of Hungary. After King John II put down the uprising in 1562, which had broken out because of the curtailment of the Székely liberties, he had a castle built here to keep the Székelys at bay. The only Székely prince of Transylvania, Székely Mózes, was born here. The castle was destroyed by the kuruc insurgents in 1706 during the Hungarian War of Independence to prevent it from falling into Habsburg hands again. The town was traditionally the centre of Udvarhelyszék. In 1876, when the public administration was modernised, the Székely seats were abolished and it became the seat of Udvarhely County. It lost this status after the Romanian occupation in 1918. Since the 16th century, Székelyudvarhely has also been an important school town, a centre of Calvinist education, which was counterbalanced by the Jesuits who also established a grammar school, which is still in operation today. From 1952 to 1968, it was part of the Hungarian autonomous region created under Soviet pressure, which was then abolished by the Romanians. It is still an almost entirely Hungarian town."},{"id":"63","name":"Torda","localname":"Turda","seolink":"torda-turda","gps_lat":"46.5719380000","gps_long":"23.7856900000","population":"47","picture":"","picture_ref":"","description":"The county of Torda was established in the 11th century by King Stephen I of Hungary, and was probably named after its first royal ispán. Already then, salt mining had begun near the settlement. Later, Torda became the administrative and management centre of all the salt mines in Transylvania, which was called the salt chamber, later the salt office. From the first half of the 16th century, salt mining began to decline and the town's importance diminished. In 1568, freedom of religion was proclaimed in Hungary at the Diet of Torda, the first in Europe to do so. It included the Catholic, the Calvinist, the Lutheran and the Unitarian denominations. In 1601, the town suffered a great tragedy when the inhabitants of Újtorda, who had taken refuge in the Reformed church, were massacred by General Basta's imperial army. In 1619, Prince Bethlen Gábor of Transylvania settled his foot soldiers in Újtorda and granted them nobility. The inhabitants of Ótorda remained in civil status. Later, in order to settle conflicts arising from different legal statuses, Prince Apafi Mihály also ennobled the inhabitants of Ótorda. This status was abolished with the revolution of 1848. The town lost its Hungarian majority and its status as a county seat as a consequence of the Romanian occupation in 1918. The salt mines were closed in 1932. The mines are one of the main tourist attractions in Transylvania. Also one of Transylvania's most important natural attractions is the Torda Gorge, which splits the limestone ridge northwest of Torda. But it's also worth taking time to visit the town of Torda and admire its medieval Gothic Reformed churches, the former salt chamber house, and the charming town centre, built in the style of the Hungarian county seats."},{"id":"75","name":"Nagyszeben","localname":"Sibiu","seolink":"nagyszeben-sibiu","gps_lat":"45.7980680000","gps_long":"24.1514180000","population":"147","picture":"","picture_ref":"","description":"The town was founded in the 12th century by King Géza II of Hungary, who settled Germans here to protect the Vöröstorony Pass after the Székelys had been moved to present-day Székelyföld. The Transylvanian Saxons, as the German settlers were uniformly called, owed their extensive freedoms and autonomy to King Andrew II of Hungary. Until the 15th century, the provostry of Szeben was the Catholic ecclesiastical centre of the Transylvanian Saxons. The town soon became the commercial and spiritual centre of the Transylvanian Saxons. The head of the Saxons was the Count of Szeben, confirmed by the Hungarian king. King Charles I abolished the authority of the Count of Szeben and divided the Saxons' land (called King's land) into seats, the administration of which was entrusted to a royal judge appointed by the king. The town became the centre of Szeben Seat and a free royal town. The fortification of the town was carried out in several stages from the 13th to the 15th century. It was the most important Saxon town of the seven towns after which Transylvania got its German name Siebenbürgen. The town got rich from trade between Hungary and Wallachia. King Matthias of Hungary strengthened the autonomy of the Saxons, and the Transylvanian Saxon University was established, the self-governing body of the Transylvanian Saxons, which was subordinate to the king alone. The Count of the Saxons was elected by the Saxons from among the 12 members of the Szeben Town Council. The Saxons were to be judged exclusively by the Saxon University, and the official language was German. The Saxons converted to Lutheranism during the Reformation. From the 16th century onwards, the Saxons generally supported the Habsburgs against the Hungarians, despite the fact that most of the time they received only strong centralisation and violent recatholization in return, with the exception of their mostly loyal attitude towards the Principality of Transylvania, which had guaranteed their religious freedom and autonomy. For a long time after the Habsburg occupation of Transylvania in the 18th century, it was the seat of the Transylvanian provincial government. After the suppression of the Hungarian War of Independence in 1849, the Habsburg court abolished the autonomy of the Transylvanian Saxons who had supported them during the war. This was later restored, but was finally abolished with the modernisation of the public administration after the Austro-Hungarian Compromise. The fate of the Transylvanian Saxons was brought about by the Romanian occupation, after which the vast estates of the Saxon University were confiscated. The majority of the Saxons, who had been left in a hopeless situation, emigrated to Germany in exchange for ransom during the Ceaușescu era."},{"id":"76","name":"Medgyes","localname":"Mediaș","seolink":"medgyes-medias","gps_lat":"46.1644080000","gps_long":"24.3505130000","population":"46","picture":"","picture_ref":"","description":"The village was founded by the Székelys on the bank of the Nagy-Küküllő River, and it got its name from them, which is derived from the Hungarian word for sour cherry. In the 12th century, King Géza II of Hungary moved the Székelys to what is now Székelyföld and settled Germans, who were later called Saxons. The Transylvanian Saxons owed their extensive liberties and autonomy to King Andrew II of Hungary. The town received its privileges from Charles I, which were later extended by the Hungarian kings. The castle was created by fortifying the church of St Margaret, which was needed to meet the Turkish threat. The town walls were built on the orders of King Matthias of Hungary, who also strengthened the autonomy of the Saxons. In 1552, the town was granted the privilege of a free royal town by King Ferdinand I and became the centre of Kétszék (Two seats), which was created by merging the Saxon seats of Medgyes and Nagyselyk. It was clearly the centre of the Saxon lands along the Küküllő River and the Küküllő wine region. The Saxons converted to Lutheranism during the Reformation. In 1576, at the Diet held here, the Poles asked Báthory István, Prince of Transylvania, to be their king. Several Transylvanian diets were held within its walls. The Saxons always supported the Habsburgs against the Hungarians' efforts for regaining their independence. After the suppression of the Hungarian War of Independence in 1849, the Habsburg court abolished the autonomy of the Transylvanian Saxons who supported them. This was later restored, but was finally abolished with the modernisation of the public administration after the Austro-Hungarian Compromise. On 8 January 1919, when Transylvania was already under Romanian occupation, a meeting of Saxon delegates in Medgyes agreed to the union with Romania, which promised to restore their autonomy. In addition to failing to restore Saxon autonomy, Romania confiscated the vast estates of the Saxon community. The majority of the Saxons, who had been left in a hopeless situation, emigrated to Germany in exchange for ransom during the Ceaușescu era."},{"id":"84","name":"Segesvár","localname":"Sighișoara","seolink":"segesvar-sigishoara","gps_lat":"46.2193880000","gps_long":"24.7936010000","population":"25","picture":"","picture_ref":"","description":"The settlement was founded in the 12th century by Germans settled by King Géza II of Hungary, who were later called Saxons. The Transylvanian Saxons owed their extensive liberties and autonomy to King Andrew II of Hungary. Segesvár was raised to the rank of free royal town by King Louis I of Hungary in 1367. The Romanians believe that their national hero Vlad Tepes was born in the town, but there is no evidence that he ever visited the town. The Saxons have always supported the Habsburgs against the Hungarians' efforts for regaining their independence. The great poet of the Hungarian War of Independence, Petőfi Sándor, disappeared without a trace in the battle near the town. He probably fell victim to the Cossack cavalry of the Russian army. After the defeat of the War of Independence, the Habsburg court abolished the autonomy of the Transylvanian Saxons who had supported them. This was later restored, but was finally abolished with the modernisation of the public administration after the Austro-Hungarian Compromise. Segesvár then became the seat of Nagy-Küküllő County. The fate of the Transylvanian Saxons was brought about by the Romanian occupation. Romania, in addition to failing to restore Saxon autonomy, confiscated the vast estates of the Saxon community. The majority of the Saxons, who had been left in a hopeless situation, emigrated to Germany in exchange for ransom during the Ceaușescu era. Segesvár is one of the most beautiful Transylvanian Saxon towns, worth a visit for its medieval churches and well-preserved fortifications."},{"id":"53","name":"Szatmárnémeti","localname":"Satu Mare","seolink":"szatmarnemeti-satu-mare","gps_lat":"47.7928040000","gps_long":"22.8749340000","population":"101","picture":"","picture_ref":"","description":"The town on the banks of the Szamos River was formed by the merger of two municipalities, Szatmár and Németi. The castle of Szatmár was the centre of the county founded by St Stephen of Hungary, and its name derives from the ancient Hungarian personal name Zothmar. Németi, to the north, was founded by royal hunters settled there by his Bavarian wife, Queen Gisela. Szatmár is the centre of the plain named after it. Three castles stood here in succession, of which unfortunately nothing remains today. Szatmár gained its true significance only after the Battle of Mohács, when two kings were elected to the Hungarian throne, because it was located in the frontier between the two realms. This was in fact a struggle to preserve independent Hungarian statehood against the hegemony of the Habsburg Empire. The last castle was destroyed by order of Prince Rákóczi Ferenc II, after the German guards had been forced to surrender during the 1703-1711 Hungarian War of Independence, to prevent it from falling into the hands of the invaders again. It was here that the Peace of Szatmár was signed in 1711, ending the War of Independence. At the end of the 18th century, the county seat was moved to Nagykároly thanks to the influence of the Károlyi family. In 1804, King Francis I (Emperor Francis II) made it an episcopal see, and its cathedral was built by Bishop Hám János. One of the most famous buildings in the town is the Art Nouveau former Pannonia Hotel, built in 1902. Until the Trianon Dictate after World War I, the town was almost entirely Hungarian, with a small Romanian minority. In the 1970s, in order to reach the Romanian majority, the dictator Ceausescu had a new socialist town centre built, which, if not beautiful, at least gave the town an interesting new image."},{"id":"55","name":"Nagybánya","localname":"Baia Mare","seolink":"nagybanya-baia-mare","gps_lat":"47.6587630000","gps_long":"23.5818680000","population":"123","picture":"","picture_ref":"","description":"The town was founded on the gold and silver mines of the surrounding area, and gained the status of a free royal town in the first half of the 14th century. Its development was promoted by the Angevin monarchs of Hungary, Charles I and Louis the Great, who granted it privileges. Of the Gothic church dedicated to King Saint Stephen of Hungary, now only the tower completed under King Matthias remains, but it is the symbol of the city. Already in the early 15th century, the town had a coin mint, but its real boom began after it became the property of Hunyadi János, who built a house in the main square. It soon developed into one of the largest mining towns in Hungary and was increasingly referred to as Nagybánya. During the reign of King Matthias, Nagybánya accounted for more than half of the gold production in the Kingdom of Hungary. Matthias allowed it to be surrounded by walls to protect it from the raids of the Moldavian Vlachs. After the Reformation, Kopácsi István founded the first secondary school in Transylvania here, called Schola Rivulina. In 1551, the town fell into the hands of Emperor Ferdinand I, who leased the mines to private tenants, leading to the decline of mining. Mining revived under Prince Bethlen Gábor of Transylvania, who leased the mines to the town of Nagybánya. Most of the principality's money was minted here. The minting ceased in 1864. Gold mining continued until recently, and one of the mines here was responsible for the cyanide pollution of the Tisza River in 2000. The famous Nagybánya School of Painting and Artists Colony, established at the end of the 19th century, had a significant influence on Hungarian painting. The once Hungarian-majority town became Romanian-majority as a result of the massive settlements in the 20th century."},{"id":"56","name":"Máramarossziget","localname":"Sighetu Marmației","seolink":"maramarossziget-sighetu-marmatiei","gps_lat":"47.9283130000","gps_long":"23.8912530000","population":"33","picture":"","picture_ref":"","description":"From the very beginning, at the end of the 13th century, the town was predominantly inhabited by Hungarians and was the seat and the most important settlement of Máramaros County. The large but sparsely populated county, covered with high mountains and forests, was famous for its timber industry and salt mines. The Piarists had a significant influence on the life of the town, and their grammar school became the most important educational institution in the county, along with the Reformed College. The town began to develop more strongly after the Austro-Hungarian Compromise in 1867. It lost its status of a county seat after the Romanian occupation, which it regained briefly between 1940 and 1944, when it became part of Hungary again. In the 1950s, the town became notorious for its prison, which functioned as a communist re-education camp, where several Catholic bishops were imprisoned, including Bishop Márton Áron of Transylvania. The prison, which claimed many lives, is now a museum. The once Hungarian-majority town became Romanian-majority as a result of the massive settlements in the 20th century."},{"id":"71","name":"Déva","localname":"Deva","seolink":"deva","gps_lat":"45.8856950000","gps_long":"22.8987340000","population":"58","picture":"","picture_ref":"","description":"When we hear the name Déva, the castle on the hill overlooking the Maros River and, of course, the story of Kelemen the Mason come to mind. Legend has it, that the walls of the castle kept falling down during construction, so the 12 masons agreed that the first of their wives to came up to the castle would be thrown into the fire and her ashes mixed with the lime. The victim was Kelemen's wife. The castle was built by Béla IV after the 1241-42 Mongol invasion and was a royal castle and the property of the vajda representing the power of the Hungarian king in Transylvania. The castle was held on that title by the oligarch Kán László, who imprisoned the pretender to the throne, Otto of Bavaria, in this castle after taking the Holy Crown of Hungary from him. After his death, his sons' army was defeated by Charles I of Hungary under the castle, which was also captured by the king. Hunyadi János, who later became Governor of Hungary, also gained possession of the castle as a vajda, as did Szapolyi János (the future King John I) later. Few people know that after his triumph over the Turks as captain of Eger Castle in 1552, Dobó István was appointed vajda of Transylvania, and with it he received Déva. During the Principality of Transylvania, its military importance increased when in 1616 Prince Bethlen Gábor had to cede Lippa to the Turks, making Déva a border castle. However, the Turks never laid siege to it. It was here that Széchy Mária, the future 'Venus of Murány', who inherited the castle from her husband, the nephew of Prince Bethlen Gábor, found refuge from her aggressive new husband. During the 1703-1711 Hungarian War of Independence, it was captured by the kuruc insurgents, and taken back from them by the 'labanc', the imperials, under the leadership of Csáky András. It was then strengthened by the Austrians, and the nobility of Hunyad County took refuge here from the bloodthirsty Vlach mob led by Horea in 1784. The castle was then abandoned, and it was only saved by the fact that in 1817 the visiting Emperor Francis I liked it so much that he ordered its restoration. During the 1848-1849 Hungarian War of Independence, the Austrian guards surrendered the castle to the Hungarian soldiers. At the end of the war, however, the castle's powder magazine exploded under circumstances that are still unclear, killing more than a hundred Hungarian soldiers and destroying the castle."},{"id":"83","name":"Gyergyószentmiklós","localname":"Gheorgheni","seolink":"gyergyoszentmiklos-gheorgheni","gps_lat":"46.7223670000","gps_long":"25.5986620000","population":"18","picture":"","picture_ref":"","description":"The town is located in the centre of the Gyergyó Basin, which lies between the ranges of the Eastern Carpathians. Named after its church dedicated to St Nicholas, the settlement was founded in the 13th century by Székelys who fled here during the Mongol invasion. The Székelys had equal rights with the nobles, owned their own land, paid mostly no taxes, and in return were obliged to go to war one by one to defend Hungary from foreign invasions. King Matthias was the first to declare Gyergyó a separate Székely seat from Csík. In the early 1500s, the Lázár family acquired significant estates in Csík and Gyergyó, and for a long time they were the leaders of the Székely seat. In the 16th century the first Vlachs appeared in Gyergyó. In the middle of the 17th century, with the support of the Transylvanian prince, a significant number of Armenians settled in the town, who later united with the Roman Catholic Church keeping their own rite. Their church is one of the town's landmarks. In 1876, the Székely seats were abolished during the modernisation of the administration, and the town became part of Csík County. From 1952 to 1968, it was part of the Hungarian autonomous region created under Soviet pressure, which was then abolished by the Romanians. It is still a Hungarian majority town."},{"id":"74","name":"Szászsebes","localname":"Sebeș","seolink":"szaszsebes-sebes","gps_lat":"45.9572240000","gps_long":"23.5673570000","population":"20","picture":"","picture_ref":"","description":"After the arrival of the Hungarians, a Székely centre was established on the right bank of the Sebes River, where a church was built. The Székelys were moved by King Géza II of Hungary to the area of today's Sepsiszék (in Székelyland), which was named after their former town. In their place the king settled Germans, who were later called Saxons. The Transylvanian Saxons owed their extensive freedoms and autonomy to King Andrew II of Hungary. It became the centre of a Saxon seat, an administrative unit of the Saxons, and from 1345 it was known as a free royal town. King Sigismund allowed it to be surrounded by a wall against the Turks. In 1438, the Saxons surrendered the town at the behest of the Turks and their vassal Vlad Drakul of Wallachia, and only a Hungarian nobleman resisted with his family and a few followers. The Turks took most of the population into captivity. The Turks raided and ravaged the town several times during the century, but the Hungarian armies drove the Turks out of the country each time. During the Reformation, the Saxons converted to Lutheranism. King John I of Hungary died in the town in 1540. His son John Sigismund wanted to make it his seat, but he died in 1571. In 1659, at the Diet held here, the symbols of the Transylvanian nations were enacted into law. The Hungarian noble counties were represented by the half eagle, the Székelys by the pair of sun and moon, and the Saxons by seven bastions. In February 1849, Bem's Hungarian revolutionary troops gathered under its walls and marched from here to the victorious Battle of Piski. After the defeat of the Hungarian War of Independence, the Habsburg court abolished the autonomy of the Transylvanian Saxons who had supported them. This was later restored, but was finally abolished with the modernisation of the public administration after the Austro-Hungarian Compromise. By the end of the 19th century, the town had become a major centre for the timber industry. After the Romanian occupation, the vast estates of the Transylvanian Saxon community were confiscated. By this time, the Saxon population, depleted by war ravages, had been largely replaced by immigrant Romanians. The majority of the remaining Saxons emigrated to Germany in exchange for ransom during the Ceaușescu era."},{"id":"57","name":"Beszterce","localname":"Bistrița","seolink":"beszterce-bistrita","gps_lat":"47.1331080000","gps_long":"24.4965500000","population":"67","picture":"","picture_ref":"","description":"The present town was founded by German miners settled by King Géza II of Hungary in the 12th century. As early as 1330, King Charles I declared it a free royal town, which indicates its significance. King Louis the Great also granted it staple right on the trade route between Moldavia and Poland. King Laszló V of Hungary created the short-lived County of Beszterce in 1452 to protect the mountain passes leading to Moldavia, and appointed Hunyadi János as its count. He had a castle built in the town and on the hill north of the town. After his son Matthias came to power, he made his uncle, Szilágyi Mihály, Count of Beszterce. He treated the burghers as serfs, then besieged the town and ruthlessly suppressed their resistance. King Matthias then captured his uncle, and later abolished the Count of Beszterce, restored the town's privileges and allowed the hill fortress to be demolished and its stones used to build a strong wall around the town. Most of the town fortifications were unfortunately demolished in the 19th century. The Transylvanian Saxons converted to Lutheranism during the Reformation. The town's main landmark, the beautiful Lutheran church, was unfortunately set on fire in 2008 but has since been restored. The Romanians who invaded Transylvania at the end of 1918 gradually made the Saxons' situation impossible, and in the Ceaușescu era most of them emigrated to Germany in exchange for a ransom."},{"id":"80","name":"Kézdivásárhely","localname":"Târgu Secuiesc","seolink":"kezdivasarhely-targu-secuiesc","gps_lat":"46.0018620000","gps_long":"26.1379250000","population":"17","picture":"","picture_ref":"","description":"In the 12th century, the Székelys who moved here from the area of today's Szászkézd founded Kézdiszék, whose centre later became Kézdivásárhely. The Székelys had equal rights with the nobles, owned their own land, paid mostly no taxes, and in return were obliged to go to war one by one to defend Hungary from foreign invasions. The settlement developed around a market place in the centre of the Upper Háromszék basin, at the junction of roads coming in from five directions. It was originally named Torjavására after the nearby village of Torja and the stream of the same name. Its present name appeared in the middle of the 16th century, when it was already a major town. The town became an important handicraft centre in Székelyland, and several guilds were established. During the 1848-1849 Hungarian War of Independence, it was the centre of defence for the Székely people of Háromszék, and it was here that Gábor Áron cast his cannons, and his statue has stood in the main square since 1971. In 1849, it was united with Kanta, which was famous for its grammar school run by Minorite fathers. In 1876, when the public administration was modernised, the Székely seats were abolished and then it became part of Háromszék County. From 1952 to 1960, it was part of the Hungarian autonomous region created under Soviet pressure, which was gradually abolished by the Romanians. In 1968 it became part of Kovászna County. It is now the easternmost Hungarian-majority town in the Carpathian Basin."},{"id":"86","name":"Szászrégen","localname":"Reghin","seolink":"szaszregen-reghin","gps_lat":"46.7786720000","gps_long":"24.7029900000","population":"25","picture":"","picture_ref":"","description":"The settlement was probably founded in the time of King Saint László of Hungary. In the second half of the 13th century, it was the manorial centre of the Tomaj and Kacsik families, and Dénes of the Tomaj clan began to settle the Saxon craftsmen on the land donated to them by the king. Its Gothic church, built in the early 14th century, became the seat of a deanery. Magyarrégen was first mentioned as a separate settlement in the middle of the century. In the 16th century, the church became Lutheran and was fortified. In 1661 the Transylvanian Diet elected Kemény János prince in the town. In the 18th century, it was mentioned as an excellent winegrowing and wine-producing region, but the town's handicraft industry was also important. Its timber merchants were of great importance. The Transylvanian timber was transported on rafts down the Maros River to Arad, which took three weeks. Szászrégen was declared a free royal town quite late, in 1863. At the beginning of the 20th century, it was inhabited by an equal number of Saxons and Hungarians, with a smaller number of Vlachs. After the Romanian invasion, the Romanians began to settle in large numbers. The Saxon population emigrated to Germany in exchange for ransom during the Ceaușescu era. The main attractions of the town are its churches. It is also worth mentioning the Romanesque church of Abafája, which was annexed to the town in 1956."},{"id":"62","name":"Dés","localname":"Dej","seolink":"des-dej","gps_lat":"47.1422740000","gps_long":"23.8756540000","population":"30","picture":"","picture_ref":"","description":"The city owes its existence to salt. The existence of the settlement is attested to as early as the 11th century by the mention of a salt mine nearby. At the beginning of the 13th century, King Andrew II of Hungary established the Salt Chamber of Dés and raised the town to the status of a free royal town. Its privileges were later confirmed and extended by several Hungarian rulers, including King Matthias. After the Turks conquered Várad, many nobles fled to the town and settled there. Prince Apafi Mihály of Transylvania elevated the town of Dés to the rank of noble towns. The town was the seat of Inner-Solnok county, and from 1876 of Szolnok-Doboka County. By the second half of the 18th century salt mining had ceased. The Hungarian population in the area, depleted by the Turkish devastation, was replaced by an increasing number of Vlach migrants. The town itself retained its Hungarian majority until the early 20th century."},{"id":"54","name":"Nagykároly","localname":"Carei","seolink":"nagykaroly-carei","gps_lat":"47.6834360000","gps_long":"22.4672010000","population":"21","picture":"","picture_ref":"","description":"The entire history of the town is intertwined with one of the most important Hungarian aristocratic families, the Károlyi family. The town was the centre of their ancestral estate. The family is descended from the ancient Hungarian Kaplon clan, who were the descendants of Kond, the leader of one of the seven Hungarians tribes. The family takes its name from this settlement. During the period of the Turkish wars, the manor house was turned into a castle, which eventually served its purpose well. After the threat of war had passed, the family had it converted into a baroque manor house at the end of the 18th century, and it took on its present form, reminiscent of the Loire chateaux, at the end of the 19th century thanks to Count Károlyi István and the architect Ybl Miklós. The town itself also owes its development to the Károlyi family. In 1780 it became the seat of Szatmár County. The Károlyis also settled the Piarists in the town and built a church dedicated to the founder of the order, Saint Joseph Calasanz. The religious order ran a grammar school in the town. Until the Trianon Dictate after the First World War, the town was almost entirely Hungarian, and it retained its Hungarian majority until today. The manor house has been restored as a museum."},{"id":"60","name":"Nagyszalonta","localname":"Salonta","seolink":"nagyszalonta-salonta","gps_lat":"46.8023510000","gps_long":"21.6624620000","population":"17","picture":"","picture_ref":"","description":"In the Middle Ages, Szalonta was an insignificant village, which for a long time was the property of the Toldi family. They built the first palisade against the Turks in the 16th century. In 1606, Bocskai István, Prince of Transylvania, settled 300 hajdú warriors here. The hajdús took over the defence of the fortification and soon afterwards they also bought the settlement from the Toldi family. They also built the castle, of which only the Csonka (Truncated) tower remains today. In 1658, however, it fell into Turkish hands, from which the invaders withdrew at the end of the century when Varad was liberated. The town's true fame, however, is due to the birth of Arany János, perhaps the greatest Hungarian poet of the 19th century. He wrote the narrative poem Toldi, whose protagonist is Toldi Miklós, a Hungarian nobleman, who is remembered as a legendary strong hero in Hungarian folklore. The memorial museum of the poet was opened in 1899 in the Csonka Tower and is still open to visitors today. The town still preserves its Hungarian majority."},{"id":"72","name":"Szászváros","localname":"Orăștie","seolink":"szaszvaros-orastie","gps_lat":"45.8414680000","gps_long":"23.1960850000","population":"18","picture":"","picture_ref":"","description":"In the middle of the 12th century, King Géza II of Hungary moved German settlers to the town, who were later called Saxons. The Transylvanian Saxons owed their extensive freedoms and autonomy to King Andrew II of Hungary. The town was destroyed several times by Turkish raiding armies in the 15th century, but the Hungarian armies drove the Turks out of the country each time. King Matthias strengthened the autonomy of the Saxons, and the Transylvanian Saxon University, the self-governing body of the Transylvanian Saxons, was established. From the end of the century, the town council was composed of an equal number of Hungarians and Saxons, and the town's leaders were elected annually, alternating between the two nations. This system survived until 1848. During the Reformation, the Saxons of Transylvania almost unanimously converted to Lutheranism, while the Hungarian population chose the Reformed (Calvinist) faith and the Reformation of the Vlachs was also led from the town. In 1582, a highly influential Vlach (Romanian) translation of the Old Testament, the Old Testament of Szászváros, was printed in the town. In 1663, Prince Apafi Mihály I of Transylvania elevated its Reformed school to the rank of a college. Due to immigration in the 18th century, the Vlachs began to become the majority in the town, which the court tried to counteract by settling Germans from Upper Austria. During the 1848 Hungarian Revolution, the Hungarian and Vlach inhabitants of the town joined in a demonstration for the reunification of Transylvania with Hungary, mainly against the Saxon University. After the defeat of the Hungarian War of Independence, the Habsburg court abolished the autonomy of the pro-Habsburg Transylvanian Saxons. This was later restored, but was finally abolished with the modernisation of the public administration after the Austro-Hungarian Compromise. After the Romanian invasion, the vast estates of the Saxon University were confiscated, as were the lands of Hungarian nobles and churches, which financed the education of the two nationalities in their mother tongues. Most of the Saxons emigrated to Germany in exchange for ransom during the Ceaușescu era."},{"id":"58","name":"Zilah","localname":"Zalău","seolink":"zilah-zalau","gps_lat":"47.1786250000","gps_long":"23.0563020000","population":"56","picture":"","picture_ref":"","description":"The name of the town is intertwined with the name Wesselényi. Members of the Hungarian aristocratic family generously supported the town's Reformed grammar school, founded in the 17th century. Wesselényi Miklós (1796-1850) was a leading figure in the Hungarian reform movement, who was the first to free his peasants from serfdom and educate them at his own expense. He was sentenced to imprisonment for criticising the Habsburg government, which obstructed the reforms, and then went blind. Despite this, he remained active and was instrumental in the declaration of the reunification of Transylvania with Hungary by the Diet of Kolozsvár after the 1848 revolution. The statue of Wesselényi Miklós, inaugurated in 1902, is still the city's main landmark. The statue was knocked down by the Romanian invaders, but was re-erected in 1942 after the return of Northern Transylvania to Hungary. Zilah was the centre of Central Szolnok County until 1876, when it became the seat of Szilágy County. The county's name is now Romanianized to Sălaj, and the town's to Zalău, but it is still its seat. The town lost its Hungarian majority during the 20th century."},{"id":"65","name":"Lippa","localname":"Lipova","seolink":"lippa-lipova","gps_lat":"46.0917990000","gps_long":"21.6948150000","population":"7","picture":"","picture_ref":"","description":"The town, which developed at the Maros ferry, owes its importance to the junction of the trade routes. King Charles I of Hungary, when he had his seat in Temesvár because of the oligarchs ruling most of the country, visited Lippa frequently and had a church built here. He later established a coin mint in Lippa. In the 14th century, it was the largest town in Arad County, and its importance exceeded that of the town of Arad. It was here that the salt transported on the Maros River was stored. The first castle in the settlement was built by Hunyadi János. In 1529, King John I of Hungary elevated the town to the status of a free royal town to promote its development. After the fall of Buda, the widowed Queen Isabella and little John Sigismund took refuge here. After Isabella surrendered Transylvania to King Ferdinand under the coercion of George Martinuzzi, the governor of Transylvania, the Turks occupied Lippa. George Martinuzzi's fate was caused by his double-dealing at Lippa. After besieging Lippa and granting the Turks free retreat, he lost the Emperor's confidence and was assassinated. Lippa was captured by the Turks for an extended period in a punitive campaign launched the following year. In 1595, Lippa was liberated by Hungarian troops of the Principality of Transylvania, but in 1616 the prince was forced to cede it again at the Turkish demand. It was finally liberated at the end of the 17th century, but its castle had to be demolished under the terms of a peace treaty with the Turks. In the resettlement of the area, the Habsburgs favoured the Germans and the Vlachs over the Hungarians. In the 19th century, the town regained its importance, when the Lippa raftsmen, together with the company in Szászrégen, reached monopoly in the transport of wood from Transylvania on the Maros River. Next to the town, on the northern side of the Maros, is the village of Máriaradna, whose church was the most prestigious pilgrimage site in the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, along with Mariazell."},{"id":"67","name":"Lugos","localname":"Lugoj","seolink":"lugos-lugoj","gps_lat":"45.6832950000","gps_long":"21.9015880000","population":"39","picture":"","picture_ref":"","description":"The town was founded by the Hungarians and its name is of Hungarian origin. It was part of the Krassó County, founded by St. Stephen of Hungary. In the middle of the 14th century the first Vlach immigrants arrived from the Balkans. They settled around the castles and acted as border guards. Lugos became the seat of one of these Vlach districts. It was under the jurisdiction of the Banate of Szörény, which was part of Hungary. From 1438, Hunyadi János held the office of the ban of Szörény and built a stone castle in the town. During the reign of King Matthias it belonged to the Temes County. In the 16th century, it became one of the seats of the Banate of Lugos and Karánsebes, which was a border region of the Eastern Hungarian Kingdom, later the Principality of Transylvania. In 1595, during the 15 Years' War, the prince commissioned Borbély György, ban of Lugos and Karánsebes, to launch a campaign against the Turks. It became successfull and the Transylvanian army advanced as far as Arad, liberating the area along the Maros River from the Turks. In 1658, Lugos came under Turkish control, when Grand Vizier Köprülü Mehmed marched into Transylvania in retaliation for Prince Rákóczi György II's campaign in Poland, wreaked havoc there with his armies amd demanded, among others, that the towns of Lugos and Karánsebes be ceded to them as a condition for his withdrawal. It was retaken by imperial troops at the end of the century, but the peace treaty with the Turks required the castle to be demolished. After the Turks were driven out of Temesvár, Lugos became part of the Banate of Temes, created by the Habsburgs. Hungarians were forbidden from returning to the area, and it was repopulated with German, Serbian and Vlach settlers. German settlers founded Németlugos on the left bank of the Temes River, while Oláhlugos on the right bank was inhabited mostly by Vlachs. In 1778, the area became part of Hungary again and the county of Krassó was re-established, with Lugos as its seat. By the end of the century, the German and the Vlach towns were united. In 1881, Szörény County was merged with Krassó County and Lugos became the seat of Krassó-Szörény County. Prior to the First World War, the town was inhabited by roughly equal numbers of Vlachs, Germans and Hungarians. Today, with a small Hungarian minority, the town's population is predominantly Vlach (Romanian)."},{"id":"69","name":"Karánsebes","localname":"Caransebeș","seolink":"karansebes-caransebes","gps_lat":"45.4117640000","gps_long":"22.2161670000","population":"24","picture":"","picture_ref":"","description":"The settlement was established where the Sebes stream flows into the Temes river. In the 13th century, a castle named after the Sebes stream was built. It was part of Krassó County, founded by St. Stephen of Hungary, whose population was mostly Hungarian. In the middle of the 14th century, the first Vlach immigrants arrived from the Balkans. They settled around the castles and acted as border guards. Sebes became the seat of one such Vlach district. It was under the jurisdiction of the Banate of Szörény, which was part of Hungary. From 1438, Hunyadi János held the office of the ban of Szörény. At the time of King Matthias it belonged to Temes County. In the 15th century, Sebes on the right bank of the Temes River and Karán on the left bank became a single settlement. In the 16th century, it became one of the seats of the Banate of Lugos and Karánsebes, which was a border region of the Eastern Hungarian Kingdom, later the Principality of Transylvania. Even then, the town was inhabited mostly by Vlachs. In 1595, during the 15 Years' War, the prince commissioned Borbély György, ban of Lugos and Karánsebes, to launch a campaign against the Turks. It became successfull and the Transylvanian army advanced as far as Arad, liberating the area along the Maros River from the Turks. In 1658, Karánsebes came under Turkish control, when Grand Vizier Köprülü Mehmed marched into Transylvania in retaliation for Prince Rákóczi György II's campaign in Poland, wreaked havoc there with his armies amd demanded, among others, that the towns of Lugos and Karánsebes be ceded to them as a condition for his withdrawal. During the Turkish rule, it was under the jurisdiction of the bey of Karánsebes and Lugos, the seat of the bey being in Karánsebes. It was retaken by imperial troops at the end of the century, but the peace treaty with the Turks required the castle to be demolished. After the Turks were driven out of Temesvár, Lugos became part of the Banate of Temes, created by the Habsburgs. Hungarians were forbidden from returning to the area. Most of the Banate of Temes became part of Hungary again in 1778, but Karánsebes remained part of the border region under military administration. Only after the Austro-Hungarian Compromise, in 1872, was the border region dissolved and Karánsebes became the seat of the reorganised Szörény County. It lost its status as a county seat in 1881, when the county of Szörény was merged with the county of Krassó."},{"id":"78","name":"Fogaras","localname":"Făgăraș","seolink":"fogaras-fagaras","gps_lat":"45.8449170000","gps_long":"24.9743750000","population":"30","picture":"","picture_ref":"","description":"The town's number one attraction is its castle on the banks of the Olt River. It was in this area that the nomadic Vlach people, engaged in shepherdry, first settled in Transylvania, sometime in the late 12th century. The first castle, still made of wood, was built in the early 14th century by the Transylvanian vajda and oligarch Kán László. Hungary was split in two after the Battle of Mohács in 1526, when both Ferdinand I of Habsburg and Szapolyai János (John I) were elected king. King Ferdinand I gave half of the castle to Majláth István, in return for siding with him with the treasures of the late Hungarian King Louis II guarded in Pozsony. Majláth later went over to King John I to obtain the other half of the castle, which he eventually acquired through marriage. King John I appointed Majláth István vajda of Transylvania. Under his leadership, the Venetian adventurer Lodovico Gritti, the governor of Hungary who betrayed King John I, was put to an end in 1534. Majláth built the stone castle by demolishing the wooden castle. Majláth later plotted against King John I, for which he was sentenced to death. Török Bálint was commissioned to capture him by besiegeing Fogaras, but he refused, as they were old friends. In 1541, he was finally lured out of the castle by Turkish troops, taken to Constantinople and imprisoned in the Seven Towers (Yedikule Fortress), where he died together with Török Bálint. The castle then passed to Bekes Gáspár, from whom it was seized by Prince Bárhory István of Transylvania after a two-week siege in 1573 for rebelling against him at the instigation of the Habsburgs. In 1599, it was briefly occupied by Voivode Mihai Viteazul of Wallachia, who wreaked havoc on Transylvania. Later Fogaras became the estate of the princes, which they generally ceded to their wives. Prince Bethlen Gábor had it remodelled by an Italian master. It was here that the representatives of Transylvania signed the Declaration of Fogaras, in which they seceded from the Ottoman Empire and placed Transylvania under the protection of the Habsburg Emperor, and the Diploma Leopoldinum was proclaimed at the Diet of Fogaras in 1691. In 1878, the town became the seat of Fogaras County, which was merged into Brassó County in 1950."},{"id":"70","name":"Vajdahunyad","localname":"Hunedoara","seolink":"vajdahunyad-hunedoara","gps_lat":"45.7547530000","gps_long":"22.8996300000","population":"58","picture":"","picture_ref":"","description":"Already in the 11th century there was a hillfort here, which gave the name to Hunyad County. King Sigismund of Hungary donated the estate to the kenéz Vajk, son of Serbe, probably of Cuman origin. He named his family after the estate and was the father of Hunyadi János. The family then built the predecessor of the present stone castle as the centre of the estate. In the middle of the 15th century, while Hunyadi János was governor of Hungary, his wife, Szilágyi Erzsébet, lived in the castle. The castle underwent significant construction at this time, but even then it was more of a noble residence. It became the property of his son, King Matthias, who gave it to his illegitimate son, Corvin János. His widow, Frangepán Beatrix, inherited it from him, and her new husband George, Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach, handed it over to King Ferdinand I in 1531, from whom Bishop Czibak Imre of Várad seized it by siege on behalf of King John I. It was of little military significance during the Principality of Transylvania, but it successfully withstood the siege of Voivode Mihai Viteazul of Wallachia, who wreaked havoc on Transylvania, and was later rebuilt and strengthened by Prince Bethlen Gábor. In 1671, the estate became the property of Thököly Imre, the future Prince of Upper Hungary, from whom it was confiscated by Prince Apafi Mihály of Transylvania after his fall. During the 18th century, the manor was passed from Apafi's heirs to the treasury and used by the offices of the estate. At the beginning of the 19th century, Emperor Francis I visited it and ordered its restoration, but a fire caused by a lightning strike prevented it. After the Austro-Hungarian Compromise, the castle was restored in several stages and a replica was built in Budapest for the millennium celebrations. Iron and gold were mined near the settlement as early as the 15th century, but iron production really took off in the 19th century, and Vajdahunyad developed into an iron metallurgical centre. The iron and steel industry continued to define the town's image throughout the 20th century."},{"id":"68","name":"Resicabánya","localname":"Reșița","seolink":"resicabanya-resita","gps_lat":"45.2945420000","gps_long":"21.9010270000","population":"69","picture":"","picture_ref":"","description":"The settlement was first mentioned in Turkish times. In 1716 the imperial army of Prince Eugene of Savoy expelled the Turks from Temesvár. During the Turkish Wars, the area of Temesköz, once inhabited mostly by Hungarians, was completely depopulated. The Habsburgs created the Banate of Temes with the seat of Temesvár in the area. Hungarians were forbidden to return to the area, and it was repopulated with German, Serbian and Vlach settlers. The development of copper mining and metallurgy then began, with German settlers being brought in to facilitate this and Németresica was founded. The area became part of Hungary again in 1778. In 1793, the production of munitions also began. In 1848, the town sided with the Hungarian Revolution and War of Independence and the factory was converted to supply the revolutionary troops with munitions. The town repulsed initial attacks by pro-Hapsburg Serb and Vlach border guards, but was finally captured by the overwhelming force in December. Later, during the 19th century, the production of railway rails and steel railway bridges started, and in 1872 the first steam locomotive, the Resicza, was manufactured here in Hungary. Resicabánya became a stronghold of iron and steel metallurgy. During the First World War, arms and ammunition production became the main profile of the Resica factories. In 1924, after the Romanian occupation, it was the first in Romania to manufacture oil rigs, and later became a regular production site for oil mining equipment for the Romanian oil fields. Under socialism, most of the town was demolished and a new town was built in its place in socialist style."}]}