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Morar Andrei

Transylvanian fortress

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Posted (edited)

The construction of the fortress began in 1310, on the site of an older fortification of wood and wood in the 12th century. The purpose of building the fortress was extremely strategic, more specifically for defending Transylvania's southeast by the incursions of the Tatars and Ottomans.

During the XVI-XVII century, the fortress was attacked or sieged for at least 25 times, but it resisted every time, thus gainig the reputation of "impregnable fortress" for the following centuries, as it was one of the most important defensive points from the southern part of Transylvania.

In 1526, Transylvanian voivode, Stephen Mailat, a son of a regional boyar, entered Fagaras and the surrounding areas and began the works of transforming the fortress into a true fortified city. The defense walls have been doubled in thickness from the inside. New spaces were arranged in vaulted rooms and halls. In 1541, the Ottomans led by Mustafa Paşa attacked the fortress. Mailat fell into a race and was imprisoned in the prison of the Tower of the Seven Towers (Edikule) in Constantinople, where he died 10 years later.

In 1599, Mihai Viteazul occupied the fortress, gave his wife, Mrs. Stanca, together with the domain, and, becoming the prince of Transylvania, sheltered his family and the domineering treasure a few years later.

In 1617, the last two levels of the southwest tower (donjon), also known as the Red Tower, which has five levels, were erected.

During the seventeenth century, with short interruptions, Fagaras was a true capital of Transylvania, the fortress becoming the residence of the Transylvanian princes. The Transylvanian Council gathered here in 11 times.

In 1630, the defensive ditch surrounding the fortress was enlarged and bound by a secret channel of the Olt River. A hinged bridge was installed at the entrance. Later, the cellars were refurbished in dungeons where the serfs who revolted were imprisoned.

In 1657 Zsuzsanna Lorántffy (wife of Prince Gheorghe Rákóczi I), master of Fagaras Fortress, established the first (middle-level) school with a Romanian teaching language at Fagaras, which operated under the patronage of the prince.

In 1661, the Ottomans raided Făgaraș, burning the town, but the fortress rezisted to all assaults, due to its strong walls and position into the middle of a swamp, which prevented the posdible mining of the walls.

After the passage of Transylvania into Habsburg rule, in 1696, the Fagaras Fortress was taken over by the Austrians and became a garrison fortress, starting in 1699, and a military prison.

In 1721 Făgăraş became the headquarters of the United Romanian Episcopate with Rome (Greek Catholic), the Bishop's residence being on the first floor of the south wing of the castle. However, Bishop Ioan Giurgiu Patachi preferred to live at the Brukenthal Castle in Sâmbăta de Jos and Inocenţiu Micu-Klein moved his Episcopal residence through a property exchange from Făgăraş to Blaj in 1737.

Nicholas Iorga visited the city in 1903 and found it close to ruin. During the Great War, it was used by the Austro-Hungarian authorities as prison, and fron 1916, as a POW camp for the captured Romanian soldiers.

Between 1948 and 1960, the city served as a prison for opponents of the communist system in Făgăraş Land, political detainees, Făgăraş becoming one of the prisons in the Romanian Gulag system.

In the years that followed (1965-1977), repairs, restoration and preservation were carried out.

 


 

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Edited by Morar Andrei

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