The Şoimoş citadel

Şoimoş Citadel is located on the right bank of Mures river, opposite Lipova, on Cioaca Tăuțului Hill . It was built after the first Tartar invasions in the area and is documented ever since 1278. Şoimoş Fortress is a historical monument, cod LMI AR-00618-AA-II.

The city has earned its name due to the activities that would have brought its fame in the Middle Ages: falconry.

The fortress was built by the late 13th century by a noble family. The first document dates from 1278, when Pál donates “Castrum Somos” to his brother’s sons. Its role has grown steadily since Prince Ladislaus Kan II ruled the city through two intermediaries who were also committing Arad: Alexander (1310) and Dominic (1311). After 1315 it becomes a royal domain, as residence of the rulers of Arad.

Towards the middle of the fifteenth century, the citadel is successively donated, passing through the hands of several masters, King Vladislav I finally donating it to the Orszag family (1440-1444). In 1456 it came into the possession of Iancu de Hunedoara, who then gave it to Czech Hussite captain Jan Giskra in 1471.

In 1509 the city and the domain fall in the hands of George Hohenzollern of Brandenburg, who exploited it ruthlessly. it is besieged in 1514 by Romanian and Hungarian rebels, led by Gheorghe Doja. After a brief resistance, the citadel’s garrison, led by the voivode of Ciuci, the people rise against George Hohenzollern and join the rebels. According to tradition, the rebel camp was situated on the nearby Crow’s Hill. In 1541, when Transylvania became an autonomous principality, Șoimoș  was the residence of Prince John Sigismund and his mother, Queen Isabella. In this period it is strengthened and embellished in the Renaissance style, while adding to it the external bastions. To this day, one can see some sections of artistic stone carving, from the princely apartments located upstairs.

The Turks occupied the city in 1552, after repeated sieges, and in 1595 it was retaken by György Borbély – Captain in the army of Stefan Bathory – under custody of Transylvanian rulers. Moses Secuiul, leader of the resistance against the Austrian occupation (commanded by  General George Basta), after being defeated near Teius in 1602, took refuge in the city of Şoimoş. Considering the settlement unsafe, he made a pact with Pasha Bektaş of Timisoara, exchanging the citadel for the city of Kladovo. In 1599-1600 it is passed on to Michael the Brave. The camp was permanently liberated from Turkish domination only in 1688. The damage made during and after the siege had not been remedied, the fortification falling into decay. In the eighteenth century it gradually loses military importance as a result of improving artillery. In 1784, near here,  the rebels lead by Horia clash forces with the imperial nobility. Deserted in 1788, its walls have gradually turned into ruins. In recent years some works were carried out to strengthen the walls.

The castle interior towers  in the approximate shape of a triangle, most easily accessible from the west. The path leads across a wide and deep ditch, a once suspended draw bridge, toward the outer fortifications’ gate reinforced by a defense tower. Due to the deplorable state of the bridge, the entry nowadays is dangerous and therefore the only accessible way is along the trench, towards a breach in the eastern wall.

The interior court and its considerable size (35×22 meters), is dominated by the gate tower and the old tower, several floors high. To the north, the Palace of Queen Izabela is located, adorned with Renaissance sculptures. Truly remarkable is the balcony, kept intact up until today and also bearing the former sovereign’s name.

The city holds a wonderful view over the Mures gorges and the plains of Arad.

Presentation Source:Șoimoș

Location: National road DN7, Șoimoș village , at 2 km north-east of the town of Lipova, Arad county.

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