Șoimoș Fortress is located on the right bank of the Mureș River, opposite Lipova, on the Cioaca Tăutului hill. It was built after the first invasions of the Tartars in the area and is documented since 1278. The Șoimoș Fortress is on the list of historical monuments.

Historic

The fortress was built towards the end of the 13th century by a noble family. The first documentary attestation dates from 1278, when the money Pál donated “Castrum Somos” to his brother’s sons. Its role increased constantly starting with the voivode Ladislau Kán II who ruled the fortress through two intermediaries who were also committed by Arad: Alexandru (1310) and Dominic (1311). After 1315 it became a royal domain, being the residence of the counties and vice-committees of Arad.

Cetatea Soimos1

Towards the middle of the 15th century it was donated successively, passing through the hands of several masters, finally King Vladislav I donating it to the Ország family (1440-1444). In 1456 it came into the possession of Iancu de Hunedoara, who then gave it to the Czech Hussite captain Jan Giskra in 1471.

In 1509 the fortress and the domain came into the possession of George Hohenzollern of Brandenburg, who practiced a heavy exploitation. It was besieged in 1514 by Romanian and Hungarian uprisings led by Gheorghe Doja. After a short resistance, the garrison of the fortress led by the voivode of Ciuci revolted against Gheorghe Hohenzollern’s men and joined the insurgents. According to tradition, the rebel camp was located on the nearby Cioilor Hill. In 1541, when Transylvania became an autonomous principality, the Falcon was the residence of the minor prince, Ioan Sigismund and his mother, Queen Isabela. During this period it was strengthened and beautified in the Renaissance style, and external bastions were added. In the inner courtyard you can still see some artistically carved stone profiles from the princely apartments located upstairs.

Cetatea Soimos2

The Turks occupied the fortress in 1552, after repeated sieges, and in 1595 it was recaptured by György Borbély, the captain of Ștefan Bathori, reaching the custody of the Transylvanian rulers. Moise Secuiul – the leader of the resistance fight against the Austrian occupation, embodied by General Gheorghe Basta -, after being defeated near Teiuș in 1602, took refuge in the citadel of Șoimoș. However, considering this settlement too much unsafe, he concluded an exchange pact with Pasha Bektaș from Timișoara, ceding the camp in exchange for the fortress of Kladovo. In 1599-1600 the fortress passed into the possession of Mihai Viteazul. The camp was finally liberated from Turkish rule only in 1688. The damage during and after the siege was never remedied, as the fortifications began to fall into ruin. No conservation measures have been taken either. In the 18th century, the fortress gradually lost its military importance as a result of artillery training. In 1784, near Horia, the revolts of Horia clashed with the imperial and noble forces. Definitively abandoned in 1788, the fortress was increasingly ruined. In recent years, some wall consolidation work has been carried out.

Architecture

The castle has interior towers of approximately triangular shape, the easiest access road being from the west. The path leads over the wide and deep defense ditch, on the former suspension bridge placed on some huge pillars, towards the gate of the external fortifications, reinforced with a defense tower. Due to the deplorable condition of the bridge, entering the fortress through this place is dangerous nowadays and because of this the only accessible path is the one that leads along the ditch to a crack in the wall from the east.

The courtyard of the inner fortress of considerable size (35×22 meters), is dominated by the gate tower and the old tower, several storeys high. To the north is the Palace of Queen Elizabeth richly adorned with Renaissance sculptures. Remarkable is the balcony preserved intact to this day and which bears all the name of the former sovereign.

From the fortress, a wonderful view opens both to the Mureș gorge and to the Arad plain. Wikipedia