Şoimoş Fortress

The Şoimoş Fortress is situated in the village of Şoimoş, now part of the city of Lipova, Arad County, Western Romania. It was raised on the right bank of Mureş River, on Cioaca Tăutului Hill.

The fortress was built by the end of the 13th century by a noble family. It is assumed that the first owner was Paul, Ban (marquis) of Severin, between 1272-1275, which yields it first to his brother Nicolae, and then to his grandson, Posa, son of his brother Ioan, in 1278. The role of the fortress was already manifested in the situation of the centrifugal movement of Transylvania and Western Hungary, under the authority of Prince Ladislaus Kán II. The prince ruled the fortress by two of his vassals, counts of Arad: Alexandru (in 1310), and Dominic (1311). After 1315, in the time of King Carol Robert of Anjou, it become a royal citadel, associated with the dignities of count or viscount of Arad.

Towards the middle of the 15th century, the fortress was donated successively. In a document drafted in Buda in 1442, it is said that the citadel was initially mortgaged for the sum of 19,000 florins to Ladislau Hagymasi of Bereczko and his family, by King Albert (1439). The faithful of the new king, Vladislav I, took it over (1440), then the king donated it to the Ország family. The two sides agreed on the common rule in 1442. Under unclear circumstances, the Şoimoş Fortress became property of Corvin family (1446). Ion (or Iancu) de Hunedoara had dismissed his opponents giving them other compensations. Some clues have led to the assumption that the time of John Hunyadi the city was rebuilt. The truth is that only since 1453, his rule was formalized by the young King Ladislaus V. Historian Gerö László believes that Italian craftsmen were involved, and Entz Géza has made an association between the frames of gates from Şoimoş, with Deva fortress and the Hippolit tower in Eger (Hungary). Window frames still kept in the city are not belonging to the middle of the 15th century, but are almost 50 years newest.

In the time of King Matthias it was mortgaged again, to Jan Giskra, former commander of the Bohemian Hussites (1462), during which city maintenance was estimated at 1,000 florins a year. Since 1471 it was ruled by Nicolae and Iacob Bánffy, the first being count of Arad. In 1487 it was confiscated by force from Bánffy family, unfaithful to the King. The citadel belonged then to Ioan Corvin, natural son of the King, then came to Gheorghe Hohenzollern de Brandenburg by his marriage with the widow of Ioan, Beatrix of Frangepan. In peacetime, the number of soldiers was only 12. In the citadel lived Hungarians, Germans and Romanians, all in the service of George of Brandenburg; around the fortress were about 95 settlements.

In June 1515, after the conquer of Lipova, the city was besieged by the rebels of Gheorghe Doja. Details of the siege are well known because of the investigation carried out subsequently, after suppressing the peasants' uprising. After defeating the rebels under the walls of Timişoara, the prince of Transylvania, Ioan Zápolya, held the fortifications of the Mureş Valley, and give the citadel into possession to palatine Perenyi. Around the middle of the 16th century, it became the princely residence of the widow of Ioan Zapolya, Izabella. In 1551, the fortress was given to Andrei Báthory, who represented the King Ferdinand of Hapsburg. It was occupied by the Turks in 1552, then released in 1595 by Borbély György, a captain in Ştefan Bathori's army. It was finally gave to the Turks by Prince Gabriel Bethlen, and remained under Turkish occupation by March 26, 1688.

The fortress had a military role in the early 18th century, without being involved in any major military event. It was officially abandoned in 1788 and subject to demolition, but the difficult access and the relative remoteness were the reasons for the stopped destruction. In the 19th century the monument was protected by law and the last repair occurred in the early seventh decade of next century.