Siege of Buda (1686)

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Second siege of Buda, 1686
Part of the Great Turkish War
Reprise château Buda 1686.jpg
The recapture of Buda Castle in 1686 by Gyula Benczúr
Date18 June – 9 September 1686 (1686-06-18 – 1686-09-09)
(2 months, 3 weeks and 1 day)[1]
Result Holy League victory
Holy League Ottoman Empire
Commanders and leaders
Duke Charles of Lorraine
Louis William, Margrave of Baden-Baden
Ernst Rüdiger von Starhemberg (WIA)
Abdi Pasha the Albanian 
Grand Vizier Sarı Süleyman Paşa
Pasha of Temeşvar
Pasha of İstolni Belgrad
Pasha of Osijek
65,000–100,000[2] Garrison: below 7,000 men (including 3,000 Janissaries, 1,000 horses, 1,000 Jews and 2,000 inhabitants[3]
Relief army: 40,000[4]
Casualties and losses
20,000[1] 3,000 killed
6,000 captured
(including civilians)

The siege of Buda (1686) (Hungarian: Buda visszafoglalása, lit.'Recapture of Buda') was fought between the Holy League and the Ottoman Empire, as part of the follow-up campaign in Hungary after the Battle of Vienna. The Holy League retook Buda (modern day Budapest) after 78 days, ending almost 150 years of Ottoman rule.


Ottoman Buda[edit]

The Holy League took Buda after a long siege in 1686

In 1541, Buda was conquered by the Turks in the siege of Buda, and was under Ottoman rule for the next 145 years. Under Ottoman rule the economic decline of Buda, the capital city of Hungary, was characterized by the stagnation of population. The population of Buda was not larger in 1686, than the population of the city two centuries earlier in the 15th century.[5] The Ottomans allowed the Hungarian royal palace to fall into ruins.[6] The amortized palace was later transformed into a gunpowder storage and magazine by the Ottomans,[7] which caused its detonation during the siege in 1686. The original Christian Hungarian population did not feel secure during the Ottoman conquest, their numbers significantly shrank in the next decades, because they fled to the Habsburg ruled Royal Hungary. The number of Jews and Gypsy immigrants became dominant during the Ottoman rule in Buda.[8][9] It became an Ottoman cultural and commercial center.

Earlier phases of the 1683 war[edit]

Following the Ottoman failure in the second siege of Vienna, which started the Great Turkish War, Emperor Leopold I saw the opportunity for a counter-strike and the re-conquest of Hungary, so that the Hungarian capital Buda could be regained from the Ottomans. With the aid of Pope Innocent XI, the Holy League was formed on 5 March 1684, with King Jan Sobieski of Poland, Emperor Leopold I and the Republic of Venice agreeing to an alliance against the Turks.

However, the Holy League's first attempt on Buda ended in defeat, the Austrians and their allies having to withdraw with great losses after 108 days of besieging the Ottoman-held city.


Fireworks in Brussels in commemoration of the recapture of Buda from the Turks in 1686

In 1686, two years after the unsuccessful first siege of Buda, a renewed campaign was started to take the city. This time the Holy League's army was much larger, consisting of 65,000-100,000 men,[2] including German, Hungarian, Croat, Dutch, English, Spanish, Czech, Italian, French, Burgundian, Danish and Swedish soldiers, and other Europeans as volunteers, artillerymen and officers. The Turkish defenders consisted of 7,000 men.

By the middle of June 1686 the siege had begun. On July 27 the Holy League's army started a large-scale attack, which was repulsed with a loss of 5,000 men. A Turkish relief army arrived at Buda in the middle of August led by Grand Vizier Sarı Süleyman Paşa, but the besieged Ottoman forces, led by commander Abdurrahman Abdi Arnavut Pasha, were unable to mount any offensive and he was shortly afterwards killed in action. Abdi Pasha's defensive efforts are referred to as "heroic" by Tony Jaques in his book "The Dictionary of Battles and Sieges".[10]

Prince Eugene of Savoy and his dragoons were not directly involved in entering the city but secured the rear of their army against the Turkish relief army, which could not prevent the city from being entered after 145 years in Turkish possession.

Massacre of Jews and Muslims[edit]

After the conquest, the Christian Western European victorious soldiers took out their fury on the hated "heathens". Knowledge of the Turkish threat was firmly embodied in the consciousness of Europe at that time, fueled by reports of Turkish atrocities against civilians and the religious attitudes of the Christian Church:

Buda was taken and abandoned to plundering. The soldiers committed thereby such excesses. Against the Turks, because of their long and persistent resistance, which had cost an amazing quantity of its comrades their lives, they spared neither age nor sex. The Elector of Bavaria and the Duke of Lorraine, disturbed by knowing of men killed, and women raped, gave good orders that the butchery must stop, and the lives of over 2000 Turks were saved.[citation needed]

Over 3,000 Turks were killed in the slaughter perpetrated by imperial troops, and the violence was directed not only against the Muslims, but likewise against the Jewish population of Buda.[11] As subjects of the Ottoman Empire, who enjoyed greater tolerance under the Ottomans compared to the Habsburgs,[3] the Jews had fought side-by-side with the Turks[12] and were considered their allies.[3] After the conquest of the city, the Jewish community of Buda, which at its height had numbered 3,000 persons,[13] was almost completely destroyed.[3][14] Approximately half of the city's 1,000 Jews were massacred;[15] hundreds of Jews and 6,000 Muslims were captured to be sold as slaves or held for ransom[15][16] as a "punishment" for their loyalty to the Ottoman Turks.[15][17] The homes and properties of the Jews were looted and destroyed.[17] The Reformation Hungarian Protestants advocated the complete removal of the Jewish population of Hungary.[17] Most of the Jews remaining in Buda,[14] as well as most of those in the rest of Hungary, left with the retreating Turks.[14][18] The captured ones were sent to Vienna, Pozsony or Mikulov.[3] The mosques and minarets of Buda were destroyed and three synagogues were burned, along with numerous valuable books, by the Army of the Holy Roman Empire.[15]

The bloodiest events of the siege have been recorded by Johann Dietz of Brandenburg, an army doctor in the besieging army:

. . . Not even the babies in their mother's wombs were spared. All were sent to their deaths. I was quite horrified by what was done here. Men were far more cruel to each other than wild beasts (Bestien).[19]

The imperial troops buried their own dead and threw the dead bodies of the Turks and Jews into the Danube.[12]


Buda had been under Ottoman rule for a century and a half, and Ottoman rule had not ended by an uprising of the Hungarians themselves, but by the forceful intervention of the Habsburgs. This fact was reflected in the post-war arrangements.

As a consequence of the recapture of Buda from the Turks, as well as the victory in the Battle of Mohács (1687), the Hungarian parliament recognized at Pressburg in November 1687 that the inheritance of the Hungarian crown had passed to the Habsburgs, without the right to object as well as resist. In addition, the Hungarian parliament committed itself to crown the Habsburg successor to the throne still during his father's lifetime as king of Hungary. Thus on 9 December 1687 Joseph, the nine-year-old son of emperor Leopold, was crowned as a first hereditary king with the Stephanskrone crown. Hungary was a hereditary country of the Habsburgs and already in June 1688 the "commission for the mechanism of the Kingdom of Hungary" was now finally created, in order to create in the country of the Stephanskrone a strong monarchistic government.


  1. ^ a b Bodart 1908, p. 107.
  2. ^ a b Young, William (2004). International Politics and Warfare in the Age of Louis XIV and Peter the Great: A Guide to the Historical Literature. iUniverse. p. 433. ISBN 9780595329922.
  3. ^ a b c d e Urban Societies in East-Central Europe: 1500-1700, by Jaroslav Miller, 2008, p.89
  4. ^ Wheatcroft 2008, p. 221.
  5. ^ András Gerő, János Poór (1997). Budapest: a history from its beginnings to 1998, Volume 86 van Atlantic studies on society in change, Volume 462 van East European monographs. Social Science Monographs. p. 3. ISBN 9780880333597.
  6. ^ Andrew Wheatcroft (2010). The Enemy at the Gate: Habsburgs, Ottomans, and the Battle for Europe. Basic Books. p. 206. ISBN 9780465020812.[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ Steve Fallon, Sally Schafer (2015). Lonely Planet Budapest. Lonely Planet. ISBN 9781743605059.
  8. ^ Ga ́bor A ́goston, Bruce Alan Masters (2009). Encyclopedia of the Ottoman Empire Facts on File Library of World History Gale virtual reference library. Infobase Publishing. p. 96. ISBN 9781438110257.
  9. ^ Ga ́bor A ́goston, Bruce Alan Masters (2009). Encyclopedia of the Ottoman Empire Facts on File Library of World History Gale virtual reference library. Infobase Publishing. p. 96. ISBN 9781438110257.
  10. ^ Jaques, Tony (2007). Dictionary of Battles and Sieges: A-E. ISBN 9780313335372.
  11. ^ Jewish Budapest: Memories, Rites, History, by Kinga Frojimovics, Géza Komoróczy, 1999, p.504-505
  12. ^ a b The Dutch Intersection: The Jews and the Netherlands in Modern History, by Yosef Kaplan, 2008, p.214
  13. ^ The Myth of the Jewish Race, by Raphael Patai, Jennifer Patai, 1989, p.47
  14. ^ a b c A Travel Guide to Jewish Europe, Ben G. Frank, 2001, p.532
  15. ^ a b c d The Holocaust and the Book: Destruction and Preservation, by Jonathan Rose, 2008, p.268-270
  16. ^ Frommer's Budapest and the Best of Hungary, by Ryan James, 2010, p.174
  17. ^ a b c Masked Ball at the White Cross Café: the failure of Jewish assimilation, by Janet Elizabeth Kerekes, 2005, p.24-25
  18. ^ Christianity and the Holocaust of Hungarian Jewry, by Moshe Y. Herczl, Charles Darwin, 1995, p.4-5
  19. ^ Jewish Budapest: Memories, Rites, History, by Kinga Frojimovics, Géza Komoróczy, 1999, p.505


  • Bodart, G. (1908). Militär-historisches Kriegs-Lexikon (1618-1905).
  • Wheatcroft, Andrew (2008). The Enemy at the Gate: Habsburgs, Ottomans and the Battle for Europe. New York: Basic Books. ISBN 978-0-465-01374-6.

External links[edit]