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Would you consider Orăştie as the cultural capital of Hunedoara County?

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History and Legends

History and Legends

Updated: Thursday, June 14, 2012 8:47 PM

A bellicose history.
            At the beginning of the 15th century, a Turkish army plundered and burned the city, resulting with the enslavery of thousand of recidents and forcing the Seat of Orastie to the paying of a regular tribute. A new damage occurs under the attack of the Turkish army led by Murad II, supported by army of Vlad Dracul of Wallachia. Ladislau Olah, the royal judge of Orastie takes part in the Transylvanian Saxons revolt against King Matei Corvin, losing his life during the reprisals. By the middle of the 15th century,Transylvania is under full Turkish invasion, Orastie being plundered and burned again. Matei Corvin approves the free election of a royal county lord, chosen by the Saxons, the Hungarians and the Wallachians of the Orastie community. The election of the county lord leads to new conflicts with the Turkish armies led by Ali and Skender Mihaloğlu and accompanied by soldiers of the Romanian Country, led by Basarab IV. The Transylvanian army led by Prince Stefan Bathory meets mountaineers, Saxons, Swabians, Hungarians, Serbs from Timisoara, Sibiu, Serbia, Romanian Country, Alba-Iulia - more than 25.000 people are faced with herds of 34.000 cavalrymen in battle on the Plain of Bread . Great military strategists and their flocks joined the Transylvanian army: the Committee of Timis Paul the Chinese, the Serbian despot Vuk Grgurević, the future ruler of Transylvania Bartolomeu Dragfi and many others. Turkish armies are defeated with great loss, their Wallachian allies completely destroyed. In memory of the victory over the Turks, Stefan Báthory builds up a chapel near the place where today stands the Aurel Vlaicu village.
            In 1563 Palia is printed, the first Romanian translation of the two first books of the Old Testament, at one of the first Romanian printing houses. The early 18th century faces great destruction - robbed twice by Giorgio Basta, the administrator of Transylvania, destroyed by an earthquake in 1604, the population decimated by famine, the city is largely destroyed. County Judge Marin Nagy asked the Saxon University of Sibiu (the authority of the Seven Saxon Seats) for tax cuts, describing the deplorable state of people who survived disasters.
            Hardly rebuilt, Orastie is plundered and burned in a new conflict with the Turkish armies in the second half of the 17th century. In 1663 the Reformed College is founded by Mihai Apafi. The largest collection of books and manuscripts from Transylvania (550 titles) is bequeathed to the Reformed College of Orastie by Mihail Halici, its first rector.
            In the 18th century, the population is mostly Romanian, Orastie leadership being divided between Saxons and Hungarians. This is the time when the first Romanian primary school is being founded, but the new flourishing community is interrupted by the plague of 1738, which significantly reduces the population and imposes new waves of settlers from upper Austria. The Romanians demand for the Orthodox cult to be respected against the religious union imposed.
            The 19th century is marked by a large fire that burned 127 houses and the tower of the disunified church, an earthquake that causes 10 years later the tower of the Reformed Church to collapse. On the other hand, it’s a happy time for the Romanian community who adds one more floor to the existing school, where torward the end of the century will teach Elie Miron Cristea, the future Patriarch of Romania. From 1848, the Romanian language is recognized among the three official languages. In 1853, Orastie district becomes one of the 10 territorial prefectures of the Great Principality of Transylvania.
             In the second half of the 19th century, the personal advisor of Emperor Franz Josef evaluates the state of the city and its surroundings, advising for the giving of rights for the Romanian majority too. "Romanian Casina" is established, an intellectual organization based on the Junimea model, ASTRA (Transylvanian Association for Romanian Literature and Culture of the Romanian People), also a Saxon bank, one Hungarian and one Romanian, printing houses, brick, glass and alcohol factories, and also the first synagogue, in recognition of the Hebrew community in 1867.
              The year 1900 brings electric street lighting, a new urban plan whose effects are visible today, an agreement between the Saxons, Hungarian and Romanians to ensure equal status for the three languages. On August 4, 1912, Aurel Vlaicu flies the route Orastie-Bintinti-Orastie (take off and land on the Small Hill). Orastie is present through its local personalities, in almost all the major events at that time – the 1848 Revolution, the War of Independence 1877-1878, but also in all the cultural and social movements against the forced Magyarization of the Romanians in the area. Prestigious personalities of the city got involved, such as Nicolae Roman, accused in the Memorandum trial, his lawyer Silviu Moldovan and politicians Ioan Mihu, Aurel Vlad and Ioan Mota, with great merit in the history of the Romanian national movement. Aurel Vlad is a member of the Romanian Parliament and plays an important role in the Great Union of 1918, being elected to the Governing Council after the Grand National Assembly in Alba Iulia on December 1, 1918. Next comes a period of economic and spiritual growth, Orastie being promoted in 1995 to the rank of town and as recognition of its historical, cultural and spiritual merits, in 2002 Orastie received the "Diploma of the European Council".
            Orastie plays an important role in modern history, through the contribution of its personalities to events such as the Great Union of 1918, by Aurel Vlad and Ivan Mota, the development of aeronautics by Aurel Vlaicu, Nicolae Vaideanu, Jean Barboi and Cornel Masticiu, music by Andor Kovách, András Szöllösy, literature by Albert Amlacher, Otto Piringer, Dominic Stanca,  sciences by Iosif Mallasz, Zalányi Béla, Elizabeth Roboz Einstein, Zeno Draia, Tankó Béla. In 1995 Orastie is raised to the rank of town.
            Over time Orastie is visited by the Austro-Hungarian emperor, Charles Robert of Anjou and Franz Josef I, the king and queen of Romania, Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth of Greece, Princesses Elena and Ileana, Prince Nicholas, King Charles II and King Michael, and other personalities that have shaped local history, such as Nicolae Iorga, Prime Minister of Romania, Avram Iancu, 1848 Romanian revolutinary, Ioan Zápolya, prince of Transylvania, Vasile Ursu Nicola (Horea) şi Ion Oarga (Closca), leaders of the peasant uprising of 1784, Andrei Saguna, Metropolitan of the Orthodox Church in Transylvania, Elie Miron Cristea, the Romanian Patriarch, Iuliu Maniu, the Romanian Prime Minister.