The current Romanian name of the city,Târgu Mureş, is the equivalent with the Hungarian Marosvásárhely with both meaning “market on the Mures (Maros) [River]” In Romanian, târg means “market” and, in Hungarian, vásárhely means “marketplace”. The HungarianMarosvásárhely is sometimes shortened toVásárhely.
The first written reference to the city was in the Latin Novum Forum Siculorum in 1332 followed by mention as Sekulvasarhel(modern Hungarian: Székelyvásárhely), meaning “new market of the Szekelys”, in 1349.Other Latin names for the town included Agropolis and Areopolis.
In 1616, Gabriel Bethlen gave the nameMarosvásárhely to the newly upgraded royal free city. The Romanian name for the city,Oşorhei was a phonetic derivation fromVásárhely while the German name for the town, Neumarkt am Mieresch (also shortened to Neumarkt or Marktstadt; inTransylvanian saxon, Nai Mark or Nai Muark), is a translation of Marosvásárhely.
Other historical Romanian names for the town besides Oșorhei were Mureș-Oșorhei and Tîrgu Mureşului; other historical Hungarian names in addition toSzékelyvásárhely included Újszékelyvásár and Újvásár.
After World War I, Marosvásárhely became part of Romania and was renamedOșorheiu. The name Târgu Mureș became common in the interwar period. After, World War II, the spelling of the city’s name was changed to Tîrgu Mureș following a 1953 spelling reform that replaced the letters a with i in all words. Another spelling reform in 1993 replaced the letters î with â in many words and the city has been officially spelt “Târgu-Mureș”.
The city was first documented in 1332 in the papal registry under the name Novum Forum Siculorum, and as Sekulvasarhel(Székelyvásárhely) in 1349. On the place of its Castle Church, the Dominican’s church stood until the Mongol invasion, when it was destroyed. In its place, the Franciscans built a new Gothic church in 1260, which was completed in 1446. Since 1439 the town was the scene of the session of parliament (diet) 36 times. In 1405, the King of Hungary Szigismund of Luxembourg granted the city the right to organize fairs. In 1470 King Mattias Corvinus granted the first judicial privilege to the city, and in 1482 declared the city a royal settlement. In 1492, wayvoda István Báthory strengthened its monastery with fortifications, this was a pentagon-shaped outer castle tower. In 1506, the troops of Pál Tomori were beaten by the Szeklers rising against the payment of an extraordinary Ox tax imposed on them on occasion of the birth of Louis of Hungary. In 1557, the Reformed Church College (i.e. Presbyterians) was established as the oldest Hungarian school of Transylvania. In 1571, the session of Transylvanian parliament under prince John the secind Sigismund Zapolya accepted the free preach of the word of God, including the Unitarian Church. In 1600–1601, as a result of the siege of Giorgio Basta, the fortress turned to ruins. In 1602, the troops of Gergely Németh put on fire the remaining houses of the town, therefore, in 1602 the reconstruction of the fortress was started further the advice of mayor Tamas Borsos, but it was actually built between 1614 and 1653. Mozes Szekey the only prince of Szekler origin visited the city in 1603, when liberated Transylvania from foreign domination. In 1616, it was granted the status of a free royal city under the name of Maros-Vásárhely by prince (fejedelem) Gabor Bethlen. In 1658, Turkish and Tartarian troops invaded and burned it, 3000 people were taken into captivity. In 1661, as no one show willingness to accept the duty of prince, under pressure from pasha Ali, Mihaly Apafi was elected prince here. In 1662, resulting from the negligence of the Turkish military residing here, the city was almost completely burnt down. In 1687, it was devastated by German imperial troops.
In 1704, the Kuruc troops of Pál Kaszás occupied the fortress, which was re-occupied by Lőrinc Pekry from the labanc in 1706. On 5 April 1707, Francis the second Rakoczi was raised to the chair of princes. In 1707 it was struck by pest, more than 3500 people died, the black death renewed in 1709, 1719 and in 1738–39. The city received a major boost to its social and economic life when it became home to supreme court of justice of the Principality of Transylvania in 1754. In 1802, the Teleki Library founded by count iSamuel Teleki was opened for the public with 40.000 volumes.
Avram Iancu, the leader of the 1848 Romanian revolution in Transylvania, was a young lawyer in the city of Marosvásárhely before engaging in the fight for the rights of Romanians living in Transylvania. On 4 November 1848, the Szekler troops were beaten by the Austrian imperial troops under its walls, and the city was also captured. On 13 January 1849 the troop of major Tolnay recaptured it. On 30 July 1849, Sandor Patofi and Bem set out from here for the Battle of Segesvar.
In 1854, Szekler martyrs Károly Horváth, János Török and Mihály Gálfi were executed on the Postarét for plotting against the Austrian rule, since 1874 a monument marks the place. In 1861, Marosvásárhely became the seat of Marosszek, in 1876 that of Maros-Torda Country. In 1880 the statue of Bem was inaugurated in Roses Square, in downtown area; in 1893 the statue of Kossuth was as well. The statue of Rakoczi was also inaugurated in 1907. All three were demolished after World War I between 1919 in 1923 after Transylvania became part of Romania.
The city as Maros Vásárhely in 1735
Marus-Vasarhely on the Map of Joseph the second
Places of worship
The Reformed Fortress Church is the oldest church in the town. According to historical evidence, less than a century had passed after the first appearance of the Franciscan order in Transylvania,Hungarian Kingdom, that the Franciscan friars arrived to Marosvásárhely. The building of the church took an entire century, from the middle of the 14th century until the middle of the 15th and it consisted of a monastery building, an older chapel, the church and the steeple. The church was finalized between 1400 and 1450. The church may have been originally decorated with frescos, as traces of mural paintings were found inside. The almost complete disappearance of these paintings is due to the fact that the church became the property of Protestant believers in 1557. The religious reform required for churches to have no paintings, statues or religious frescos.
The Fortress Church is the oldest church in the town
The existence of the Franciscan order in Marosvásárhely was directly affected by the religious reform which was largely spread in Transylvania during the 16th century. In 1557, the influence of the Reformed Church over the Hungarians in the town was so strong that it eventually led to the confiscation of the properties of Catholic monastic orders. Franciscan monks, who until that time had been attending the church in the fortress, were forced to leave town. They returned after nearly two centuries when the political climate had become favorable to Catholicism due to the instauration of the Habsburgs in Transylvania. They bought the land in the center of the town where they built a new church and monastery by 1777. The tower, the only part that is still standing, was added to the church’s facade in 1802 by architect János Topler. In 1971 the municipality decided to demolish the monastery to create the necessary space for the construction of the National Theater and the square in front of it. A new church was built for the Franciscans on Libertăţii street.
At the beginning of the 18th century, one of the most representative Baroque churches of Transylvania was built in the town. St.Jhon the Baptist Church was erected in the North-Eastern part of the city center and belongs to the Roman Catholic parish. The inside of the church is luxurious, with liturgical objects that are true works of art. The main altar, made in 1755 by Anton Schuchbauer and Johannes Nachtigal is of monumental dimensions and has a pseudo-architectural structure. The paintings of the altars in the lateral chapels: Saint Ladislau 1 of Hungary, Saint Joseph, Saint John of Nepomuc, Holy Cross belong to the same Michael Angelo Unterberger. The stained glass windows made by the Türke Company of Grottau were installed in 1898.
The Big Synagogue was built between 1899 and 1900 at the initiative of the Jewish community “Status Quo” and that was considered to be one of the most beautiful synagogues of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The design of the building was drawn up by Gartner Jacob from Vienna and the construction works were coordinated by the Hungarian Pál Soós. The entire edifice is dominated by the central cupola. Each side of the central spire is decorated with a floral rosette similar to the ones on the facade. This type of window is also used several times on the lateral facades. The vast interior is richly decorated, both with shapes and color. The synagogue has 314 seats on the ground floor and 238 on the top floor. The most recent large scale remodeling of the building took place in 2000 when the walls were reinforced and the interior decoration was re-done.
The existence of the Unitarian faith in the town is linked to the name of Ferenc, founder of Unitarianism and the first Unitarian bishop. The political circumstances in Transylvania became favourable for Ferenc Dávid’s activity as the Diet of Torda held between 1557 and 1568 granted freedom of faith to all religions in Transylvania. The Unitarianism became religio-recepta together with all the other Protestant faiths. The king of the state himself, John 2 Sigismund Zapolya became Unitarian. The Unitarian Church was built between 1929 and 1930 next to the old Unitarian prayer house dating from 1869.
Ascension of the Lord Orthodox Cathedral
Reformed Church (Libertatii (Szabadi) street)
The first fortress in the town was erected in 1492 upon order of Transylvanian voivode Stephen Bathory, and was accomplished somewhere between 1602 and 1652 under judge Tamas Borsos. Having a pentagon plan, surrounded by a defense wall, the Citadel has seven forts, five of them bearing the names of the guild which – according to tradition – supported its maintenance: the leather dressers’, the tailors’, the butchers’, the ironmongers’, the coopers’. After the Citadel was taken over by the Austrian troops, it became the headquarters of the military garrison based in the town. In the mean time the Baroque style building was built (on the left hand side of the road in front of the entrance gate) and in the second half of the 18th century the construction works of the “barkey” were started, an addition finished in the 19th century. On the occasion of the Târgu_Mureş days – which have as central point of performance the Citadel – a museum center was opened in the gate fort (erected in 1613) presenting the history of the town and of the Citadel.
Entrance to the City Fortress
The Teleki-Bolyai Library is a historic public library and current museum in the town. One of the richest Transylvanian collections of cultural artefacts, it was founded by the Hungarian Count Samuel Teleki in 1802, at the time when Transylvania was part of the Habsburg Monarchy, and has been open to the reading public ever since. It was among the first institutions of its kind inside the Habsburg-ruled Kingdom of Hungary. It houses over 200,000 volumes, of which many are rarities, constituting a comprehensive scientific database. The book collection is divided into several smaller libraries, of which the two main donations are the original 40,000-volume Teleki Library and the 80,000-volume Bolyai Library; the rest, grouped as the Miscellaneous Collection, is made up of several private libraries, volumes previously held by religious schools and those of a Franciscan monastery. Overall, the library constitutes a collection of most traditional types of Transylvanian book.