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3 September 1543 The fall of Székesfehér ...

3 September 1543 The fall of Székesfehérvár castle, the heroic last stand of Captain Varko

Sep 04, 2022

Read the summary about the life of Varkocs György, and the siege of Székesfehérvár, based on the research of Szibler Gábor.

King Ferdinánd appointed Varkocs György as captain of Fehérvár in the first part of 1543 when everybody already knew that Sultan Suleiman would arrive in person in Hungary. The king assigned to him several thousand Hungarian, German, Bohemian, Italian, and Spanish troops but not all of them could arrive in Fehérvár in time.

We know that Werbőczy Imre, a famous Borderland warrior also served there. When the army of the Sultan arrived there, the garrison had not been filled up yet. In the meantime, the burghers of Székesfehérvár were against the appointment of Varkocs, knowing that he would fight until the last man. It is known that the wealthier burghers had made contact with the Ottomans even before the siege began in 1543.

Even Varkocs was outside the castle at that point. The burghers were negotiating about the surrender of the city when Varkocs arrived on 20 August and officially took over the command. The Ottoman troops were right on his heels because he had returned only a few days before the besiegers totally surrounded the castle.

Varkocs tried to strengthen the outer cities as much as he could. He had altogether 1,000-1,200 soldiers, including the burghers and some of the people who took shelter in the city.


Then, the Ottomans managed to break into the outer city on 2 September under the cover of the fog they took the so-called Budai (later Beslia) Gate. Varkocs and his hussars tried to fend them off but soon they were outnumbered.

When they wanted to withdraw into the castle, they were not allowed to get into the inner castle because the burghers closed the gate. The warriors were begging the burghers to let down the drawbridge and let them come in but it was in vain.

The burghers said that if they opened the gate, the Turks would certainly push in after the Hungarians. Thus, the Hungarian warriors made their last stand and faced the enemy but they were outnumbered and massacred. Captain Varkocs György fell with them. Suleiman had the severed head of Varkocs carried around in the town for everyone to see.


You can read the full story of the siege on my page:

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