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THE BATTLE FOR EUROPE
The Carpathian Frontier, 1453-1683
June 08 - August 02, 2014
As the 15th century ends, the battle for Europe begins! The southeastern European frontier collapses in front of the Ottoman Turks. The heroes (and their legend) that held back the East have died: Vlad Dracula the Impaler, prince of Wallachia in 1476; Holy Stephan the Great, prince of Moldavia in 1504; Skanderberg (Iskender Bey), lord of Albania in 1468. The fall of Constantinople in 1453 and the united European defeat at the great Battle of Mohacs in 1526 opened the way for the Ottoman expansion into Europe. By 1529, Suleiman the Magnificent has conquered southeastern Europe, the Kingdom of Hungary collapsed and the Ottoman troops were battering the walls of Vienna. The Ottoman expansions was finally checked in 1683, when the arrival of King Jan III Sobieski of Poland’s heavy cavalry charge under the walls of besieged Vienna broke the Ottoman army and won a crucial victory.
Fortified Saxon Churches of Biertan and Viscri
Transylvania was never invaded by the Turkish armies. The Saxon fortresses and the Szekely armies held the Ottomans armies at bay successfully. With the collapse of the Kingdom of Hungary in 1526, its Transylvanian territories became a political battlefield between European and the Ottoman backed princes until the Principality of Transylvania was born as an autonomous political entity in 1570. In 1600, Michael the Brave, with the support of the Transylvanian Szekely armies, beat the Ottoman and their supporters and realized the first union of the three Romania principalities into one kingdom.
Szekely Cemetery and Church
So, the Carpathians frontier held… but at what price? The aim of this project is to evaluate how major political events physically impact local populations. For that purpose, we will analyze the human remains from four different cemeteries from central Transylvania, around the city of Odorheiu Secuiesc, dating from the 16-17th centuries. The four communities that were chosen for this purpose are in relative geographic proximity to one another but vary in their settled environment from low valley flood plain to hill top occupation.
Vlad Tepes (the Impaler) Dracula
Sighisoara, Dracula's Birthplace
Saint Stephen the Great (1433-1504) King of Moldova
Stephen's Capital - Cetatea de Scaun