Gyula (Romanian: Jula, German: Jula) is a town in Békés county, the center of the Gyula district. It is the second most populated settlement in the county after the county seat. It lies east of the Gyulavári Gyula, beyond the Fehér-Körös.



It is located in the southeastern part of the Great Plain, on the Körös plateau, on the left bank of the Fehér-Körös, right next to the Romanian border. It is located in one of the deepest areas of Hungary, at an altitude of 88 meters above sea level, in flat countryside. The climate of the region is temperate, continental.

The nearest neighboring town is Békéscsaba, which is 16 kilometers west of it. Other neighbors: Doboz and Sarkad from the north, Kötegyán from the northeast, settlements on the border of Bihor county and Arad county in Romania (Ant, Feketegyarmat, Nagyzerind) from the east, Gyulavarsánd and Nagypél, also belonging to Arad county, from the southeast and Kétegyháza and Szabadkígyós.

The Fehér- and Fekete-Körös are among the cleanest rivers in Hungary; the riverbanks and forests here, which have now been classified as protected areas, are particularly beautiful in terms of landscape. The city itself has a significant tourist role with its many parks, monuments and charming streets, and not least with its character as a spa town.


Getting in

The most important road in the city is the main road 44: it currently bypasses the city center from the south, but it is the main access route from the county seat Békéscsaba and the western parts of the country, as well as from the Romanian border.

Among the surrounding larger settlements, Szeghalom, Vésztő and Doboz, settlements 4234, Furta-Komádi-Sarkad, 4519, Mezőhegyes, Battonya and Elek, 4444, Makó, (another direction), Mezőhegyes and Mezőkovácsháza, 4434. is connected to Csorvás and Szabadkígyós by road 4431. The south-western part of its administrative area is also affected by the road 4433 between Békéscsaba and Kétegyháza.

The origin of his name
In the last decades of the 13th century, the transformation of the organization of the royal counties in the Mureş - Körös region was completed. In the course of this process, the estates belonging to the royal counties and manors were largely transferred to the hands of the castle lords, who thus became landowners. Historians believe that a mysterious person named Gyula, who was strengthened in his power and from whom the settlement was named, may also have been from the middle class of the nobility.


The origin of its name

In the last decades of the 13th century, the transformation of the organization of the royal counties was also completed in the Maros - Körös region. In the course of this process, the estates belonging to the royal cantons and manors passed largely into the hands of the castle lords, who thus emerged as landowning nobles. Historians believe that a mysterious person named Gyula, who gained strength in power, after whom the settlement was named, may also have been from the noble middle class.



From prehistoric times to Gyulamonostora

In the region where Gyula was later formed, the first people lived in the Neolithic period, BC. they appeared about 5000 years ago. The Fehér-Körös line and the higher, tax-free areas (such as the area around today's parish church, Kálvária-dűlő, Sándorhegy, Aranyág, Törökzug and the area around the sand mines) were already suitable for the establishment of prehistoric settlements at that time. Traces of this can be seen in the city limits until the conquest. Not knowing the origin of the Neolithic people who settled here at the time, archaeologists named the earliest phase of this era the Körös culture, based on its most important sites. This "cultural era" continued in the Tisza culture at the end of the Neolithic.

From then on, a relatively permanent settlement existed in the populated area, whose continuity is also proven by finds from the Copper, Bronze, and Iron Ages. The first significant people, the Scythian people group, appeared here in the Iron Age, followed by the Celts. Remains and finds referring to the latter date from BC. they were found from the last centuries.

To the east of the settlement passes the trail of the Csörsz ditches, also known as the Ördögars, built by the Sarmatians between 324 and 337 and encircling the Great Plain. During the migration, AD Around 500, the Sarmatians, who are related to the Scythians, arrived in the territory of the future Gyula. Their presence here, lasting several hundred years, was replaced by various Germanic peoples of the migration, such as the Vandals, whose presence is proven by the finds in Farkashalmi, and the Gepids, who were displaced from the Vistula River, and later came under the control of the Huns during the time of Attila. Evidence of the Vistula was found in today's interior of the city.

After the Germanic peoples, the Avars were the next settlers, and their presence meant a longer period of peace, which lasted until the conquest.

We do not know exactly what happened locally during the period of the conquest, there are only theories about this era. The basis of these stories is Anonymus' story entitled Conquest written around 1200, as well as a Conquest-era cavalry grave unearthed in the middle of the last century in the courtyard of today's town hall.


From the beginnings of Gyula's settlement history to the Turkish conquest (1332–1566)

The latest research results of historians and archaeologists increasingly confirm the concept proposed by the historian József Dusnoki-Draskovich, according to which the first documented mention of the city of Gyula was a papal tithe list of 1332. According to a single line of information in the book of accounts listing the incomes of priests in domestic ecclesiastical places, the priest named Péter of the parish church in Gyula belonging to the diocese of Várad owes 20 garas as papal tithe (decima) based on his income. In many cases, a terse entry like this is the first written mention of a settlement. The earlier certificates from 1313 do not refer to the settlement of Gyula, but to the settlement of Gerla.

Probably Róbert Károly organized the Gyula manor, as an economic center it was important in the rise of the small settlement. The county seat was then the town of Békés. The Gyula manor came into private hands in 1387, when King Zsigmond, who was quarreling with the lords, donated it to the Transylvanian voivode László Losonczy in order to win the support of the nobles. When the family died out, in 1403, King Zsigmond passed the estate on to János Maróti, a Macsói ban, who expanded the authority of the area even further. In 1418, seventy-eight estates belonged to it, from Gyula to Kunágota, and these were managed from three market towns, such as Gyula, Békés and Simánd.

The development of Gyula into a city started during the Anjou times. Róbert Károly gave several privileges to the city: the right to elect a judge and mayor, as well as the important right to hold fairs. At this time, Zsigmond granted the citizens exemption from customs duties, but Maróti continued to extend the privileges; after that, the city could collect its own taxes and judge its own citizens. In any case, Maróti did a lot for the rise of the city: that's when the Franciscan monks came to Gyula, and he started building the Gyula castle around 1405. In 1476, with the death of Máté Maróti, the Maróti family broke up, and the estate returned to the king. In 1476, King Mátyás confirmed the town's privileges and extended the residents' duty-free status to the entire country.

Six years later, on April 8, 1482, King Mátyás donated the estate to his natural son János Corvin. He also wanted to increase his son's power with his decree dated 1484, in which he linked the offices of chief lord, deputy lord and serf judge to Gyula Castle. This made Gyula definitively the seat of the county, ruling out the possibility of a separate organization of the nobility.

The beginning of the 16th century brought a series of tragedies to the Hunyadi family. János Corvin died in Szerémség in 1504, and his son Kristóf followed him a year later - both of them were buried in the Pauline monastery in Lepoglava. His daughter, Erzsébet, Gyulán died in 1508, and his mother, Frangepán Beatrix, followed him in 1510. With this, the family of King Mátyás became extinct for good.

In May 1514, Dózsa's armies were under Gyula. Dózsa "encamped in the field, and there he counted his army for the third time, and found that he already had thirty-three thousand men." We have no information about the siege of the castle. After Dózsa heard that the nobility was gathering near Csanád, he retreated with his army on May 24. In 1527, another uprising broke out in the city. The army of Transylvanian voivode Péter Perényi gathered in Gyul against the Cserni Jovan uprising. This army was defeated by the Serbs, but Szapolyai's army proved to be too strong and destroyed the rebellion in the southern region. In 1526, after the defeat of the battle of Mohács, the double election of a king was followed by a party struggle, which resulted in the destruction of the area.

Pre-Turkish Gyula reached its heyday at the beginning of the 16th century. In 1525, it already had about 3,000 inhabitants, and although Gyula was not the largest settlement in the county, it played an equally important role in industry, commerce, and culture. Judging from the occupation names, around 28% of the population at that time were craftsmen and traders, and representatives of at least twenty-one industries were continuously active among them. The industrialists were grouped into twelve guilds.

City life also created opportunities for culture. At the beginning of the 16th century, there were five churches and two monasteries in the town, and the income of the Gyula parish equaled the income of a rectory or abbey. At this time, the school in Gyula is already mentioned, the famous student of which was, for example, the historian György Szerémi, as well as the two Fabricius brothers from Sikszai who came to study at the well-known school from Zemplén. Among them, Balázs later became a teacher in Sárospatak and Demeter in Gyula.

The rapid spread of the Reformation after the Battle of Mohács is evidenced by the ministry of two excellent preachers, Imre Ozorai and István Kis Békés Szegedi. In 1545, István Kis Szegedi was called to teach in Gyula, who was a student and then a teacher at the Gyula school until 1537, and upon his return from Wittenberg, the Gyula castle captain granted him free preaching. Not one of the literary works of the time was written by or about Gyula. Such is the famous book of psalms by parish priest Imre, the História about the perils of Sodom and Gomorrah, born in 1550, and the historical song Cantio de militibus pulchra (A beautiful song about the brave) in the 1560s - the latter is one of the most beautiful historical songs known today. In 1563, Fabricius Demeter of Sikszai wrote a praise song about Gyula in Latin, commemorating the wealth of the city at that time.


The siege of Gyula Castle in 1566

In the times following the danger of Mohács and the battle of the two kings, the decisive historical moments of the city of Gyula were determined by the defense against the Turks. After the castle wars of 1552, three castles stood out in the struggle against the Ottoman Turks, which the literature calls the main castles. These were the castles of Szigetvár, Eger and Gyula. In 1560, King Ferdinand I of Hungary appointed the former captain of Szigetvár, László Kerecsényi, as the chief captain of Gyula Castle. Kerecsényi asked Paolo Mirandola, an Italian military engineer, to draw up plans for the castle's fortifications. The monumentality of the work is expressed by the fact that there was a time when three thousand serfs worked on the earthworks at the same time. It is clear from the plans of the time that the castle was intended to be transformed into a fortification with Italian bastions, which in the end was not fully realized.

What the people of Gyula had feared for years happened in 1566. Pertev Pasha arrived under Gyula with his army of 30,000. The Turks first surrounded the castle from July 2 to 11, and then launched an attack on the castle on July 11. In the second phase of the fighting, the Turks besieged the weakest point of the castle, the hussar castle. The defenders were able to hold it for 13 days, and finally, on July 23, Gyula's defenders retreated to the waist citadel, crossing the watery ditch and burning the bridge behind them. In the third stage of the siege, the Turks pushed into the hussar castle, set up their cannons and fired from there at the bastions of the castle, or its tower. The dilapidated state of the inner castle no longer offered protection to the people of Gyula. In the summer heat, the wells dried up, and the unburied dead caused an epidemic situation. Many of the defenders of the castle also died of disease, they were decimated by an epidemic of dysentery. Due to the lack of help from the hinterland, the dwindling guard and the women and children trapped in the castle, Kerecsényi was forced to initiate negotiations with the Turks. The waist fortress was held for 28 days until August 20, despite renewed Turkish attacks and continuous shelling, which is almost a miracle. After that, Kerecsényi initiated negotiations regarding the handover of the castle, which were finally signed on August 30. The Turks' disloyalty could be expected, the defenders who withdrew on September 2 were looted and many of them were slaughtered by the Turkish janissaries. Castle captain Kerecsényi was also captured during the retreat. The Turks took him to Nándorfehérvár, where he was executed.

The heroic endurance of the castle defenders for 63 days marked the peak of the castle battles against the Turks. Gyula's castle resisted the Turks almost twice as long as the significantly better fortified Timisoara (35 days) and Szigetvár (31 days), not to mention the siege of Eger in 1596 (21 days). No other castle in Hungary could hold the besieging Turkish army for such a long time. However, the main function of an end fortress is precisely to protect the hinterland from further destruction by tying down the enemy for a longer period of time. The Gyula castle could not be taken even after it changed hands, it always came into the hands of the besiegers through negotiations after starving the defenders, and not through unconditional capitulation.

Blaming László Kerecsényi for handing over the castle and calling him a scapegoat would be baseless. Drawing a parallel between the events of the Turkish campaign of 1566, it can be established that unlike Miklós Zrínyi, Kerecsényi had a choice. In the case of Szigetvár, Zrínyi left behind a burning and untenable castle. His soldiers were left with no choice, they would either burn themselves to death or give some of them a chance to escape with a breakout. Gyulán Kerecsényi concluded the agreement with the Turks in order to protect the safety of the large number of Gyula residents who had fled to the castle. If there had not been a sufficiently brave castle captain with an excellent understanding of his craft at the head of the Gyula castle, his performance as a castle defender - he held the castle for 63 days against an almost fifteen-fold superior force - would have been unimaginable! Kerecsényi wanted to spare the Gyula population in its hopeless situation. Knowing this, surrendering the castle should be considered as an optional solution. The braves of Kerecsényi and Végvár heroically undertook a struggle that seemed hopeless from the outset. They shed their blood under Gyula's walls for their land, their faith, their country, and for the defense of Christian Europe. The biggest culprit in the story is the powerless king who sacrificed Hungary for his own great power interests, creating a buffer state between the Habsburg Empire and the Ottoman Empire. This is how the gate of Transylvania, one of the country's pallos: Gyula, was lost for 129 years due to the lack of a relieving army, due to the complete lack of help.


Gyula of the Turkish era (1566–1695)

With the capture of the Gyula castle, almost the entire Körös-Maros area was lost, and the Ottoman Empire established itself in the area. The region was annexed to the vilayet of Temesvár, and the sanjak of Arad was abolished and the sanjak of Gyula was created, which was divided into the nahij of Gyula, Arad, Békés, Zaránd and Bihari. In Temesvár, the begler beg was the ruler, and in Gyula, the beg was the lord. The mobile Turkish industrialists and merchants mostly settled in the cities, and this was certainly the case in Gyul, as Turkish historians claim that the seat at that time had a Turkish and Hungarian population. The Turkish rule did little to change the city, they usually built religious buildings, including two mosques (one in the castle, one in the city), a tomb, and a ceremonial bath next to the mosque in the city. And although the historian later mentions several Muslim buildings, their location has not been identified since then. As an interesting fact, it is worth noting that the stones of the Hungarian churches of the neighboring villages were used for the construction.

Gyula of the Turkish era is known from the descriptions of the Turkish world traveler Evlija Celebi, dated between 1664 and 1666. Cselebi visited almost every country in Europe and the Middle East on behalf of the Porta, and wrote what he saw during his forty years of service in ten hefty volumes. In addition to describing the Gyula castle, he paints the 17th-century bourgeois town, which he calls a suburb, in this way:

"Yes, this is a very well-developed and populous suburb, except that it is not surrounded by a palisade wall on all four sides... but only a simple palisade wall... Its streets are all paved with planks... It consists of four districts with four places of worship: Suleiman Khan Mosque and Ali Beg Mosque are mosques with beautiful lead roofs. The founder Ali Bey is also buried in this mosque. Apart from the two mosques mentioned... there are no buildings with lead roofs. It has nine zavies (buildings divided into small cells for students and monks), three madrasahs (monk schools), two monasteries, three elementary schools, and eleven baths. It has 200 shops, three churches in the outer city... It is a strange sight that everyone goes by boat from one house to another, from one garden to another, to the mill, to visit a friend or acquaintance. "

After that, Gyula remained a Turkish stronghold for nearly a hundred years, and while the continuous battles devastated the countryside, the fifteen-year war at the end of the 16th century brought complete destruction. The Turkish warlord tried to counterbalance the situation and the reduced number of taxpayers by increasing the population, so he brought settlers from the South to the abandoned villages. By the end of 1693, all notable castles and palanquin fortifications on the Maros line were under the control of the imperial troops. At that time, the Várad Headquarters, which had returned to the emperor's hands, joined the regular patrols between the Maros, Körösök and Szeged-Szolnok by ship and land. Practically, Gyula remained the only stronghold of the Turks north of the Maros. In 1694, several Turkish letters sent from the castle were intercepted by the imperial troops, in which they requested the delivery of food from the Turkish armada stationed in Timisoara. The Turkish military leadership was unable to deliver food to Gyula. The fate of the Turkish castle defenders was sealed. In mid-December 1694, the castle commander indicated his intention to capitulate. On December 21, a contract was signed on the surrender of the castle and the free retreat of the guard and the population. Gyula's Turkish guard left the castle on January 18, 1695, thus returning the city to Christian hands and under the authority of the Habsburg Empire after 129 years.


From the expulsion of the Turks to the civil revolution (1695–1848)

In 1703, the Rá military that remained in the Gyula castle ransacked the town, and in 1705 the Kurucs besieged the castle, under the leadership of Sándor Károlyi. Finally, permanent resettlement became possible after the defeat of the Kuruc War of Independence, so we count Gyula's post-Turkish history from 1714.

The recaptured territories were placed under treasury management by the Vienna Court Chamber, and III. In 1715, King Károly restored the county administration. The resulting dual public administration (chamber and county) ceased in 1720, when four-fifths of the county was awarded to János György Harruckern, court transporter, as a reward for his merits. There are many descriptions of the uninhabited region of that time; according to one of them, in 1698, the court chamberlain visited the area from Gyulavári to Szentandrás, and Békés was the only place where he could find at least ten people. Two decades later, when the official in Arad sent his report on the revaluation of the county, he argued to his superior that the residents of the surveyed localities were very poor: three or four people had to get together to put an animal in a plow or cart. In this extremely backward and wild region, life had to be restarted, and when the first settlers, about twenty Hungarian families, arrived in Gyula in 1714, they built their houses on the highest point of the town, in the vicinity of today's parish.

Rác and Romanian soldiers both served in the ranks of the castle's army. After the castle guard was dismantled, the bars left, and some Romanian families took on tasks in the castle and settled around the castle, creating the foundations of today's Romanian City - that is, Miklósváros, named after the patron saint of the church. From 1723, the landlord settled several waves of German residents in the city from the Rhine region. He designated the place of their settlement in his own melon and corn fields. The main street of the settlement was designated, which was located on the site of today's Jókai Street. In 1734, the German population elected a separate judge for themselves, and separated from Gyula, they formed a town under the name of Németgyula, which was under independent public administration for 123 years. In 1730, two hundred and fifty families lived in the town, with about 1,250 inhabitants, and then their number increased to 6,434 by 1783. All three denominations (Roman Catholic, Reformed and Orthodox) built their own churches (the major churches were only built at the end of the century). In 1722, there was still a Turkish mosque and minaret on the site of today's parish church, behind them stood the domed Turkish bath, and there was also a minaret in the courtyard of the castle.

The development of the city accelerated in the second half of the eighteenth century. Of the early buildings, the cantor's house and school built in 1735 remain. In the plague of 1738, 1,308 souls died, and the survivors built the Holy Trinity Chapel, which still exists today, out of a vow. From the second half of the century, we can show several monuments, including the Roman Catholic parish building, the Roman Catholic and Reformed church, the county hall, the teacher's apartment in Németgyula and some more affluent bourgeois houses.

In the 1790s, the first paved road between the Kapus bridge and the castle was completed - it was the county's first stone road - and the first stone bridges, the Bárdos and Kapus bridges, were built at the beginning of the 19th century.

The houses with reed and shingle roofs in the cities of the Great Plain were often destroyed by fire. Between 1782 and 1882, in a hundred years, there were seven fires in the city, and the one in 1801 exceeded all previous ones. The fire that started in Németgyula destroyed the entire town, not sparing the churches and the castle either. After the fire, the county renewed its previous decree: if someone is found with a pipe either on the streets or in the yard, they should be punished with fifty strokes of the cane. The task was to rebuild the city; it became necessary to issue the building regulations and build the city according to the engineering plan. Then the square in front of the county hall was widened, and today's Petőfi-Erkel-Harruckern square was formed. Due to the protection of the castle, the right side of the street was not allowed to be built on - this would later become Maróti tér, today's Groza park. The master builder Czigler brought to Gyula by the landlord did a great job during the reconstruction; several classicist buildings from this period have survived, and the early buildings of the streets lined with one-story townhouses also reflected this period.

Water was the other danger. Since Fehér-Körös flowed through the town and floods often flooded the settlement, one hundred and seventy-nine houses collapsed in Magyargyula in 1816, while two hundred and three in 1843. At the end of the 18th century, there was already a coffee house in the town, and there were five pubs in the manor, two in Magyargyula, and one in Németgyula. The property of the manor was the Arany Korona (later Korona) inn opposite the castle. We often see its name in travel books because it was the scene of many cultural and historical events. The 100-year-old pastry shop is a relic of the social life of the reform era that still exists today.

Political life also revived in Gyul during the reform era. Among the youth leaders of the 1832–1836 parliament, we also find the son of the Békés county chief physician, János Tormássy, who was accused during the parliamentary trials and imprisoned together with László Lovassy. Albert Rosty (1779-1847) of Barkócz was a leader of the advanced middle-class forces, sub-parish of Békés (father-in-law of Baron József Eötvös). In 1841, the Casino, a lively forum for political life, was established in Gyula, modeled on Pest.

At the beginning of the 18th century, the dominant economic branch was animal husbandry: while in 1715 the twenty-nine families living here cultivated only ninety-one hectares of land, five years later 900, and in 1773 almost 3,996 hectares were cultivated. The industry developed primarily in Gyul at the county level. In 1724, fifty-seven craftsmen were registered, towards the end of the century guilds were formed one after the other, and in the middle of the 19th century seventeen guilds were already operating in the city. Industrialization was accompanied by the development of trade. While in 1737 there were only six merchants in the county, two of them in Gyula, in 1773 their number increased to thirty-two, and a third of them also worked in Gyula. An 18th-century vaulted shophouse (with the county's oldest shop) still stands next to the hosiery factory.

The importance of the fairs in Gyula was increased by the fact that in 1723 Baron Harruckern acquired the right to hold fairs for the town. From the Transylvanian mountains, firewood and building wood were floated down the Fekete-Körös to the sites, and the Transylvanian wood sellers obtained their grain from here.

This is also when culture unfolded in its entirety; In 1715, no literate person could have been found who could have taken a place in the county civil service, but from 1716 we already know the name of the local teacher, and from then on the school education of the children can be continuously followed.

Description of the settlement at the end of the 18th century:
GYULA: "Hungarian and German Gyula, two adjacent field towns in Békés Vármegye, Ura Ura B. Harukker Uraság, its inhabitants are Catholics and Reformed, lies between the waters of Körös, named after the old Castle. Its inhabitants are industrious, and its fairs are crowded, the In addition to his lordship's buildings, there are also wild gardens and frog ponds here. The greater part of Határbéli's fields produce richly, and there are good opportunities for selling his property locally, and in Arad, their pastures are enough for their own cattle, their forests are scanty, reeds are enough for their small needs, their vines are fruitful, water mills on site, first class."
(András Vályi: Description of the Hungarian State, 1796–1799)

At the end of the century, the teacher's house and school were also built in Németgyula, where the father of Erkel Ferenc himself taught from 1807. In the first decades of the 19th century, the still existing, truly imposing building of the downtown Catholic elementary school was built, and it was from the same period that Hungarian culture received Ferenc Erkel and the writer Albert Pálffy. The first memories of theater are linked to the castle, where, like the castle theaters of the time, performances were held by noble art lovers. We know of 21 performances in German between 1821 and 1845.

The city took its first steps in the field of health care in 1770: it was then that a doctor was employed for the first time, and also in 1770, the first pharmacy of the county, the Megzöld gyógystár, was opened in Gyul. In 1826, the county decided to set up a hospital, but the hospital finally started operating only on May 1, 1846, in the building next to today's main hospital entrance.