Last Sunday we decided to go on a day trip to visit Șoimoș Fortress – also known as the Fortress of the Hawk-, which majestically lies high above the river Mureș. Considering how lovely the weather has been lately (although a bit windy) and with trees just about to bloom, we hopped in the car and drove about an hour before reaching our destination. Finally there, we had to climb a hill – rather steep, one might say – to finally reach the walls of the fortress.
Already mentioned in the later decades of the 13th century, the fortress was first the residency of barons and famous Hungarian landowners and later, in the first years of the 14th century, it became a royal domain. By the middle of the 15th century it was successively passed on to several masters, finally being donated to a wealthy Hungarian family. While it was well preserved through the first two thousand years of its existence, in 1514 it was besieged in a peasants’ revolt led by Gheorghe Doja against the kingdom’s nobility. When Transylvania became an autonomous principality, the fortress became the residence of prince John Sigismund and his mother, Queen Isabella. This was perhaps the most prolific time period for the building as it was beautified in the Renaissance style and multiple bastions were added to it. If you look closely, in the inner courtyard the artistically carved stone profiles from the princely apartments can still be observed. After being repeatedly besieged by the Turks, becoming the possession of different princes and, ultimately, being finally liberated from Turkish rule, the fortress was considerably damaged. Although a historically important location, no conservation measures have been taken and, as a result, it lost its military importance. It was in the later decades of the 18th century when it was finally abandoned despite its importance in the context of culture and history.
Although becoming a ruin, with some consolidation work being carried out in the past years, Șoimoș fortress is a sight for sore eyes, especially for those who love a bit of history. I am fascinated by fortresses, castles, citadels, rural sits and everything falling in this category, hence why we decided to visit this particular touristic attraction. As someone who loves Outlander – books series focusing on time travelling and history -, this was a memorable experience I do hope will remain carved into memory. I can only imagine people running around doing their daily chores behind the walls of the fortress, kings, queens and nobleman taking their tea and the countless medicinal plants and lizards climbing its walls. I couldn’t help but touch the walls, close my eyes and travel back in time reconstructing the life that once existed there.