Orăștie

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Orăștie
Municipality
View from Lutheran Church tower
View from Lutheran Church tower
Coat of arms of Orăștie
Coat of arms
Location of Orăștie
Location of Orăștie
Coordinates: 45°51′N 23°12′E / 45.850°N 23.200°E / 45.850; 23.200Coordinates: 45°51′N 23°12′E / 45.850°N 23.200°E / 45.850; 23.200
Country  Romania
County Hunedoara County
Status Municipality
Government
 • Mayor Ovidiu Laurențiu Bălan (Social Democratic Party)
Area
 • Total 38.62 km2 (14.91 sq mi)
Population (2002)
 • Total 21,213
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 • Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Website http://www.orastie.info.ro/

Orăștie (Romanian pronunciation: [orəʃˈti.e]; German: Broos, Hungarian: Szászváros) is a city in Hunedoara County, south-western Transylvania, Romania.

History[edit]

7th–9th century – On the site of an old swamp was a human settlement, now the location of the old town center, whose remains can be traced into the 10th century when the first fortification was built with raised earth and wood stockades.

11th–12th century – The first Christian religious edifice was raised: The Orăștie Rotunda. It is a circular chapel, with an age estimated at 1000 years. Perhaps it was used only by aristocratic families that dominated the Orăștie area and surroundings in the 11th century. Nearby there is a similar construction from the same period – The Geoagiu Rotunda.

1105 – In the wake of the First Crusade Anselm von Braz ”liber de liberis genitus”, châtelain of Logne, Walloon ministerial count settled here. The historian Karl Kurt Klein implies – though without proof – that he moved with his sons and descendants into the region where Orăștie City is located today.

1200 – According to Transylvanian chronicles, this is the year in which construction of the city walls began. Subsequently, this was abandoned because of unfavorable conditions.

1206 – The King of Hungary, Andrew II, mentioned Romos, a village near Orăștie, as one of the first three villages in Transylvania comprising Saxon colonists. The other two villages are Ighiu and Cricău.

1224 – Andrew II confirmed the privileges of the Saxon colonists and mentioned the existence of Romanian (Blachi) and Pecheneg (Bisseni) populations who lived in the forests surrounding the town. The settlement kept a number of privileges granted by the Hungarian royalty. The town was ruled by a royal judge (iudex regium), helped by 12 jurors chosen from local craftsmen and rich traders.

1239 – This is the probable founding year of the convent of the Orăștie Franciscan church.

1241 – Orăștie was devastated during the Mongol invasion. A Mongolian tumen under the leadership of Büri entered Transylvania via the Olt Valley, near Făgăraș, from the direction of Sibiu, which was conquered on 11 April. One after another were devastated the Seats of Miercurea Sibiului (Ruzmargt), Sebeș (Mühlbach) and Orăștie (Broos). The Mongolian army arrived Cenad on 25 April. Orăștie was probably destroyed between 11 and 25 April. The Mongol devastation of the settlements and cities is vividly shown in the dramatic description of Alba-Iulia written by the Franciscan monk Rogerius of Apulia:

“ ... I could not find anything except the bones and skulls of those who were killed, scattered and broken walls of churches and palaces that have been sprinkled by the blood of Christians.”

In the future, King Béla IV would populate the region with new Saxon colonists and settlers.

1309 – Orăștie had approx. 1,600 inhabitants. The Franciscan Order had been established in the city, and they built a church on the site of the current Franciscan monastery.

1324 – The Hungarian King Charles I Robert announced that the settlement would be awarded the rank of town.

1334 – The priest John ( Johannes Sacerdos ), the tax collector in the Orăștie region, performed a census by counting chimneys. Three hundred forty-four houses were numbered, a public bath, and four houses belonging to four nuns and the priest Nicholas (Nikolaus). This was the first time the presence of Saxons in the Pricaz village was mentioned. Also mentioned are two public schools belonging to the Saxons in the Orăştie area.

1344 – Earliest mention was made of the patron “Saint Nicolas” of the Catholic Church from Orăștie.

1349 – In a document issued at Sibiu, the Seat of Orăștie (de sede Waras) was noted for the first time.

1364 – Saxons were settled in a colony near Orăștie, in the Căstău village.

1367 – A letter sent to the comes Christian of Orăștie (de Warasyo)" from Archeacon Ladislau of Ugosca is the oldest evidence for the functioning of a royal judge for the Seat of Orăștie.

1372 – Comes Stephanus of Warasyo (Ștefan de Orăștie) was named as representative of the Seven Saxon Seats in Transylvania.

1374 – Chronicles named Count Mihai de Orăștie (de Warasio) and the ruler of the region Mihai Blas de Orăștie (Michael Blas von Broos).

1376 – Nineteen guilds (fraternitas) were mentioned as active in the town.

1420 – The county was raided by the Ottomans. On 24 September 1420, a Turkish army invaded the south-east of Transylvania defeating, near Hațeg County, an armed militia under the command of Transylvanian voivode Miklós Csáki. After two days the Turkish army looted and burned Orăștie and its surroundings before retreating, taking several thousand prisoners as slaves.

1425 – Saxons from Orăștie became suppliers for the Turks. The town was referred to by its German name, Bros or Broos.

1433 – Registers of the Vatican listed a few pilgrims from Transylvania, Banat and Wallachia. Among them was Petru son of Blasius of Orăștie (de Orastiia). The register stated that Peter, previously of the Orthodox faith (grecorum), was baptized on the day of Holy Trinity into the Catholic Church of Saint Peter in Rome, in the presence of John Sigismund, King of Hungary. It was also noted that Peter, as a soldier of his king, took part in several military actions against the Turks and Bohemians.

1436 – Hungarians were mentioned as living in the center of the town.

1438 – A Turkish army led by the sultan Murad II together with a Wallachian army under Vlad Dracula entered Transylvania, where they looted and spoiled Orăștie and the Romos village. On this occasion the Franciscan monastery was burned. Later the Franciscan order rebuilt it.

1442 – Another Turkish invasion of Transylvania led to a battle at Sântimbru (18 March 1442), which ended with a Turkish victory under Mezid (Mezet) Bey of Vidin. The town was looted and burned.

1449 – Chronicles note the comes Bartholomew of Orăștie attending a meeting of the Seven Seats.

1479 – A Turkish army entered Transylvania near Câlnic on 9 October, led by Ali Kodsha and Skender, or, according to some sources, by Ali Michaloglu and Skander. Ottoman forces likely numbered 20000 soldiers, and 1000–2000 Wallachian infantrymen under Basarab cel Tânăr-Țepeluș. On 13 October Kodsha Bey set up camp in the Breadfield, a place between Șibot and Orăștie. The Hungarian army was led by Pál Kinizsi, István Báthory, Vuk Branković, and Basarab Laiotă cel Bătrân. All forces combined totaled 12 or 15,000 men. The Battle of Breadfield took place in a location between Orăștie and Șibot. Turkish casualties were high, with several thousand killed, including a thousand Wallachian allies. The few Turks who survived fled into the mountains, where the majority were killed by the local population. In memory of this victory, Stephen Bathory raised a chapel near the village Aurel Vlaicu. When the Turks looted the city, they destroyed a large part of cultivated land, and the church inside the castle was damaged. Later, the church was rebuilt and taken into possession by the Hungarians. This is why, although the city was a Saxon fortress, the church became the property of reforming Hungarians and Saxons received only a room beside the church. This room was used as a place of worship until 1823 when a new church was built by Saxons.

1486 – Because of disagreements between the Seat of Orăștie and Hunyad County, the Saxon University of Sibiu called in the Hungarian king Matthias Corvinus to regulate the borders between the two territories.

1488 – A population census of the Saxon Seats recorded population, mills, devastated properties, Catholics and Orthodox priests, and sometimes impoverished households. In Orăștie (oppidi Brosz) were recorded: 158 Saxons, 2 poor inhabitants, 4 shepherds, 1 miller and 10 abandoned households.

1491 – Saxons and Hungarians worked out an agreement that the function of Royal Judge be held alternately, and that each of the two nations should be represented in the Senate by equal numbers.

1500 – The annual fair on Saint Nicholas Day was held for the first time in history.

1504 – Stephen Olahus, father of the great humanist Nicolaus Olahus, was appointed by the King as a judge of Orăștie.

1509 – The presence of gypsies is first noted in Orăștie: "The ledger of Sibiu city notes a payment made to two employees sent to Orăștie to escort some Gypsies who were held and accused of violent crimes in the market place in Orăștie." In this year, Voivode János Szapolyai moved population from Banat to Orăștie and Turdaș to bolster the region's decreasing population growth.

1514 – During the war led by Gheorghe Doja, János Szapolyai’s army passed through the region, and János Szapolyai noted that the town was not sufficiently protected or equipmed for war.

1520 – 25 April, at Buda, Louis II Hungary directed the Mayor of Sibiu to appoint the noble Matia Olah of Orăștie (de Zazwaras) as Royal Judge of the town, a position then held by Matia's elderly father Stefan. The sovereign conferred along with this all revenues from taxation, and also other customary benefits.

1529 – Orăștie was to make its oath of allegiance to the new King János Szapolyai.

1533 – Following the expansion of Lutheranism in Orăștie, the Franciscan Order was expelled.

1536 – On 4 June 1536 Matthew Olah, brother of Nicolaus Olahus, archbishop of Strigoniu, died.

1544 – Orastie fortress was mentioned in chronicles by Sebastian Münster.

“... and there is another strong fortress, below Sebeș, near the town Orăștie ...”

1550 – The name Saxopolis appeared for the first time. Georg Reicherstorffer in "Chorographia Transilvaniae", printed in Vienna in 1550, wrote:

„Orastie city, which is called Broos by the Saxons, is located a mile away to the south of the grain fields. It is situated on the river Mureș. The soil is unusually fertile, liberally yielding wheat, wine, and all kinds of fruits; the people are very tractable and in clothing style and diet are closer to the Romanians, who live broadly scattered in the desolate plains around.”

1560 – Orăștie Fortress is mentioned in chronicles by Giovanandrea Gromo. At about this time the ethnic Hungarian community converted to Protestantism and the Romanian Catholic Church became Reformed Calvinist.

1599 – Michael the Brave asked the town for a loan of 1,000 florins.

1582 – The Old Testament of Orăștie, one of the first Romanian-language translations of the Bible, was printed here with the help of the constable of Deva castle, Geszti Ferenc.

1602 – General Giorgio Basta garrisoned 400 Imperial soldiers in the town. Their conduct caused the townsfolk to flee or otherwise barricade themselves in the church's castle. Later in the same year, general Gabriel Bethlen, with an army of Tatars, Turks, Hungarians and Serbs besieged the town. The Imperial soldiers were denied access to the church's castle, and all but eleven (11) were killed. In August, Basta retook Transylvania and hanged the Mayor of Orăștie and two other prominent burghers.

1604 – Fifteen hundred of Basta's soldiers were garrisoned in the town. Extreme famine gave rise to cannibalism.

1605 – A large part of the town was destroyed.

1661 – An Ottoman army in pursuit of János Kemény set fire to Orăștie and Sebeș.

1663 – The Reformed College was established by Michael I Apafi.

1697 – The first pharmacy of the town, "Graffius", was established.

1733 – The tax registry mentioned 2,800 inhabitants in 568 families: 240 Romanian families, 170 Hungarian, 100 Saxon, 50 Gypsy and 8 Greek.

1738 – plague caused the deaths of 156 people.

1749 – The Roman Catholic Church was built in its current form (a tower being added in 1880).

1752–1756 – One hundred forty-four colonists from Upper Austria settled in the town.

1757–1758 – Another 222 colonists arrived from the same region.

1784 – The peasants' rebellion of Horea, Cloșca and Crișan occurred.

1786 – A census under Emperor Joseph II registered 3,190 people in the town.

1820–1823 – The Lutheran church was built (a tower being added in 1841).

1828 – A large fire destroyed 127 houses.

1848 – Fighting was seen between Hungarian Revolutionary forces under General Józef Bem and the Austrian armies.

1853 – Transylvania was reorganised into 10 counties. The third one was centered on Orăștie. The county had 134,77 square miles/348,90 square km and 214,165 inhabitants. By ethnicity, its population comprised: 192,995 Romanians, 7,809 Hungarians, 1,063 Germans (and 12,297 of other categories). By religion: 160,603 Eastern Orthodox, 38,550 Eastern Rite Catholics, 8,565 Lutherans, 4,283 Roman Catholic, 2,141 Calvinists and 23 of other religions.

1854 – Orăștie had 4,207 inhabitants.

1857 – The census counted 5,029 inhabitants: 1,850 Eastern Orthodox, 1,136 Roman Catholic, 884 Lutheran, 688 Calvinist, 486 Eastern Rite, 24 Jewish, 19 Unitarian and 5 Armenian.

1867 – The synagogue was built.

1869 – The first bank was established: "Brooser Vorschuss-verein".

1877 – Orăștie had 5,661 inhabitants.

1880 – Orăștie had 1,086 houses and 5,451 inhabitants: 2,312 Romanians, 1,427 Germans, 1,227 Hungarians, 16 Slovaks, 8 Serbs, 176 other nationalities, 138 foreigners and 147 of unknown maternal language (a category that included Gypsies); 2,030 Eastern Orthodox, 1,002 Roman Catholic, 964 Lutheran, 769 Calvinist, 523 Eastern Rite, 163 Jewish.

1900 – Orăștie had 6,238 inhabitants. Electrical street lighting was introduced.

1910 – 6,937 inhabitants (of which 3,276 Romanians).

1930 – 7,377 inhabitants.

1941 – 9,751 inhabitants.

1948 – 8,819 inhabitants.

1956 – 10,488 inhabitants.

1960 – 11,726 inhabitants.

1966 – 12,822 inhabitants.

1973 – 14,994 inhabitants.

2011 – 17,255 inhabitants: 92.01% Romanians, 5.59% Roma, 1.75% Hungarians, 0.41% Germans.

Image gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

  • Chronicles and documents about the history of Orăştie – vol. 1 1200–1541, Anton E. Dörner.
  • Orăştie – 750 years, Ion Iliescu, Tiberiu Istrate.
  • Orăştie – 775, dr. Anton E. Dörner, Vasile Ionaş, Ioachim Lazăr, Mihai Căstăian.
  • Orăştie – Encyclopedia, Petru Baciu.

External links[edit]