Association TREUM-Trencin European Town

History of Trencin
Trencin belongs to the oldest Slovak cities, chronicled as early as in the 11th century located near Carpathian mountain.

 

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Trencin Central Square

 

Earliest archaeological findings show the presence of early humans in Trencin and its surrounding regions as early as 200 000 years ago. In the 2nd century AD, during the time of the Marcomanni Wars, soldiers of the II. auxiliary legion who were spending winter at Laugaricio, left a writing on the rock below the castle, known today as the Roman Inscription. The inscription places the city of Trencin amongst other European cities with antique history. In his work Geographica, Claudius Ptolemaeus – a Roman geographer, cartographer, and polyhistor living between 90 and 168 AD, mentions a commercial station called Leukaristos on the other side of Danube, identical with Laugaricio, or today’s city of Trencin.

 

Slavic presence on the territory of Trencin has been documented since as early as the 6th century. At first, the city became one of the pillars of the Great Moravia Empire. Following interim periods of the Czech and Polish dominions, the city and its surroundings became border district of the Hungarian kingdom in the early 11th century.

The city of Trencin as such is mentioned in 1111 and 1113. In 1241, Bogomer (Bohumir) – District Lord of Trencin, waged a defensive warfare from the castle against the Tartars. Settlement below the castle was most likely destroyed by the invasion, however; the castle itself, built in part from stone, survived the attack.

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Trencin Castle

 

Fifty years later, Trencin was to live its time of greatest splendor. Matthew Czak of Trencin, turned the city into the center of his vast dominions. In 1321, following his death, Trencin went back under the ownership of the Hungarian ruler, Charles Robert.

 

In the 14th century, the city hosted royal heads from almost the whole of Europe. King Charles Robert and his son Luis met at the castle on August 24, 1335 with the Czech king Jan of Luxembourg accompanied by his son Charles, and Polish ruler Kazimir, to carry out negotiations that ended a lengthy conflict between Bohemia and Poland (see article “Treaty of Trencin from 1335).

 

It was again in 1362, when the castle hosted peace talks between Louis the Great and the Roman emperor Charles IV. Trencin’s city walls also welcomed people who would come to the city for joy. It was there, where in 1461 the king Matthew Korvin, together with his mother Elisabeth, was expecting the arrival of his fiancée, Bohemian princess Katarina (Kunhuta), daughter of George of Podebrady. In 1512, the castle hosted the engagement ceremony of Stephen Zapolsky’s daughter with the Polish king Sigmund.

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Trencin Castle by night

 

Diplomatic traditions of Trencin have not been forgotten. In May 24 and 25, 2002, the castle hosted a summit of the prime and foreign affairs ministers of the Visegrad Group and the Benelux, while in 2004 it became the meeting place of the participants to the NATO Parliamentary Session.

 

In 1599, plundering hordes of the Krum Tartars serving the Oman Sultan penetrated as far as Trencín and ravaged broad surrounding areas. In 1604, the Botchkay’s hayducks inflicted a horrendous damage to the city. 20 years later, another catastrophe hit the city – Trencin was given to the mercy of the plundering armies of Gabriel Bethlen. During the years 1644 – 1645, the rebel armies of George I. of Rakoci again threatened the city. Repeated invasion of the Oman armies hit the Middle Vah region in 1663. On October 2 of the same year, the castle and the city survived the attack; however, the enemy burned down adjacent suburbs outside the city.

 

15 years later (1678 – 1683), Trencin was raided by the armies of Imrich Tököli. The last and biggest catastrophe hit Trencin in the period of the revolt of classes headed by Francis Rakoci II. The Kuruk armies did not conquer the castle itself; however, they besieged the city below. There was an outbreak of famine, worsened by a catastrophic fire on May 14, 1708.
The second half of the 16th and 17th centuries did not only bring disasters. These years turned out to be the times of blooming arts and culture. Since the second half of the 16th century, Trencin became the place of settlement of the first newly baptized converts (Habans) that initiated later existence of the characteristic Trencin majolica.
 

In 1790, the city was again hit by a disastrous fire that destroyed almost the whole inner town. The fire has also put a definite end to the Castle of Trencin, which was to be reduced down to ruins ever since. Flood of August 1813 caused the lives of 44 local people. F. Palacký, later „father of the Czech historical school“ almost lost his life.

 

Establishment of the Piarist Gymnasium is connected with the year 1647, when the Jesuits founded their own school that soon afterward, in 1649, was to be changed into the famous Gymnasium. At the beginning of the 19th century, there was also the Town School, together with other denominational schools – Catholic (for girls), Lutheran, and Jewish.
In 1874, Trencin became garrisoned town, home to the 15th militia regiment. 71st infantry regiment of the Austrian army.
 

In 1877 Natural Science Society of the district of Trencin was established, chaired by Dr. K. Brancik.

 

People’s Library promoted education of the broad public by letting people check out books at no charge. Today’s Public Library of Michael Resetka builds on its traditions.

 

Sports activities in Trencin started to be organized in the 1890s. Athletes in the city were involved in sports such as rowing, fencing, tennis, and figure skating. Cycling Union in Trencin was short-lived, though. Demonstration of a soccer match in Trencín was performed in 1904, at the visit of the archprince Fridrich and archprincess Isabel. However, it was not until after 1908, when the game began to be played periodically. Trencin Physical Education Society established in 1904, offered still greater mass membership. Today’s TTS builds on these historical traditions. On May 24, 1914, a Slovak – Andrew Kvasz, performed a takeoff of a plane heavier than the air, first of its kind in the Váh region.

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Trencin Historical Festival

 

Trencin has had its own hospital since the Middle Ages; after the fire of 1528, the hospital would be maintained from bequeathals and principals. General hospital established in 1847 and later transformed into public district hospital, contributed to the well being of people living in the city. The hospital was one of the oldest in Slovakia.

 

Period of World War I in Trencin was marked by a known revolt of the soldiers of the 71st regiment in the Serbian Kragujevac on June 2, 1918. Subsequently, 44 regiment soldiers were executed for having participated in the revolt.

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Trencin Historical Festival

 

New boost to Trencin’s economic and industrial base took place after the rise of the Czechoslovak Republic in 1918. At present, there is a number of secondary schools in Trencin. Gymnasium of Ludovit Stúr (Grammer School) , Piarist Gymnasium (Grammer school), Gymnasium of J. Branecký, Business Academy of Dr. M. Hodza, Secondary Nursing School, Secondary Industrial School of Textile Production, Emil Bellus Secondary Industrial Construction School. Universities of Trencin include Alexander Dubcek University, and City University of Seattle focused on Management.

 

The Treaty of Trencin from 1335
The Trencin castle has been a place of many diplomatic negotiations throughout its history. The first meeting known from the history of diplomacy took place in the Trencín castle in 1099, where the duke of Bohemia Bretislaus met with Ugrian monarch, after the death of king Ladislaus.
Another important meeting was held in the Trencín castle in 1309 during Matus Cak of Trencin‘s ownership of the castle . It was a meeting with a papal legate Gentilis. The main topic of negotiations was a support of Charles Robert of Anjou’s claims to the Ugrian throne. However, Matus Cak broke the agreement and stood against Charles Robert in the battle for Ugrian throne. The consequence of his actions was the papal curse set on him by Gentilis.

 Besides the treaty from the year 1335, several peace negotiations took place in the Trencin castle in 14th century which were important for the Kingdom of Bohemia and the Ugrian Kingdom.
In 1362, there were peace negotiations between the Ugrian King Louis the Great /son of Charles Robert/, and the Bohemian King and the Roman Emperor Charles IV. They were discussing their mutual dispute over Italian city of Aquila. Two years later, they concluded a peace.

 The paradox is that the Ugrian King Louis concluded a treaty of alliance and mutual non-aggression with the Austrian duke Rudolf, during the war with the Kingdom of Bohemia. As a result, the allied forces were formed and deployed in Trencin. At that time, the King of Bohemia and the Roman Emperor Charles IV called for a ceasefire. This resulted in further negotiations in the town of Brno and the signing of peace agreement in Krakow.

 

In 1372, King Louis and his wife Elizabeth welcomed at the Trencin castle a patriarch of Alexandria and gave up their claims to the territories of Charles IV and his brothers Jost and John right in front of him. By this act, the peace between the countries of the Czech crown and the Ugrian Kingdom was concluded, although some historians consider this act as the armistice.

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Plague Column on Central Square small

 

The situation in the countries before the conclusion of the Treaty of Trencin:
The Kingdom of Bohemia was influenced by famine, armies of Albrecht von Habsburg and Otto of Bavaria looted Bohemia and Moravia, during this period almost half of the inhabitants died out. In 1306, Wenceslaus III / the last member of the Premysl family / was killed in Olomouc on the way to Poland for a military mission. His father Wenceslaus II already renounced any further claims to the Ugrian throne after unsuccessful battles for Hungary. In 1310, the Luxembourg family obtained the Bohemian throne, which gradually reinforced its position in the Bohemia while setting up its claims to the Polish crown.

 

Historic Polish territories were also evolving; the area was fragmented into individual principalities. Therefore, many of them did not recognize the Bohemian domination, especially after the unification of Poland by the Piast dynasty. Particularly Casimir III, after obtaining the Krakow’s throne, claimed to the Polish crown which belonged to John of Luxembourg.
 

Hungary also experienced power struggles for the throne. After the extinction of the Arpad dynasty, the Anjou family / descendants of French King Louis IX. /, the Bohemian Premysl family and the Wittelsbach family made their claims to the throne. After the death of Wenceslaus III /the last member of the Premysl family/ the biggest support was given to Charles Robert. However, there was also a group of powerful magnates, and one of them was Matus Cak of Trencin whose territory – called by historians "the Land of Matthew"- was the biggest. In 1308, Charles Robert was elected the Ugrian King and crowned in 1310 in Székesfehérvár. Matúš ÄŒák was no longer a palatine and he had lost control over the "the Land of Matthew" during the battle of Rozhanovce in 1310.

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Trencin Historical Festival

 

In the struggle for the Polish crown, Casimir III joined Louis of Bavaria, the Hapsburgs and the Wittelsbach family and the military meeting with the Bohemians was being prepared. The son of John of Luxembourg, Charles / the further emperor Charles IV / asked for diplomatic talks with Casimir in order to avoid military conflict. There was also a possibility that John of Luxembourg, the Polish king, would give up the Polish throne and would receive the territory of Silesia. The mediator of this agreement should have been Charles Robert, who was at that time a brother-in-law of the two kings.

 

The preliminary conditions were agreed in August, 24 in 1335 in Trencin therefore they are called the Peace of Trencin or the Treaty of Trencin . The parties to the agreement were John of Luxembourg and his son Charles from the Kingdom of Bohemia, Charles Robert from Hungary; Casimir III was represented by delegates. They agreed to avoid mutual power struggles and to cooperate military.

 

The oldest of them, Charles Robert was selected to act as a representative in the dispute over the territory between them and the Teutonic Knights. He was also selected in a dispute over the land claims of the Bohemian King.
 

John of Luxembourg was selected to represent the claims of the Teutonic Knights.
Charles Robert was appointed to be a mediator of all negotiations.
John of Luxembourg and his son Charles renounced the claim to the Polish throne.
Casimir III the Great renounced claims to Silesia and Mazowia that remained in the possession of the Bohemian King.

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Synagogue in Trencin 

 

The treaty was sealed by the Polish King in Krakow in mid-October, and then sealed by the Ugrian King. Further negotiations continued in November in the Hungarian city of Visegrad where the treaty of alliance was finalized.
 

The parties to treaty agreed to cooperate in case of military attack.
They also agreed that the Polish King would pay compensation of 20 000 horde of Prague groschen / name of the currency at that time / to the Bohemian King for giving up the claims to the Polish throne. The document concerning the renouncement of the claims to the throne was prepared and it was given to the custody of the Ugrian King.
They agreed to negotiate with the Teutonic Knights in order to give back the occupied territories to Poland.
 

An important part of the Treaty of Trencin was the control of trade routes and goods transport. The goods depot was transferred from Vienna to Brno in Moravia in order to avoid economic losses. Therefore, the part of the agreement was not only a political alliance, but also an economic alliance.
 

The historical meaning of the Treaty of Trencin
The period of economic and political expansion of the Central European countries has begun. The borders of these countries were strengthened. The Bohemian-Polish dispute was settled and important economic issues related to all three countries were resolved. A new three-party coalition was formed, which prepared the draft text of the Visegrad Treaty. The historical period of strengthening of the economic and military potential, a period of peace, tranquility and prosperity in all areas and a successful era in the history of the three countries have begun during the Middle Ages peak.

 

Quotation from the Chronicon aulae regiae:
“The young king Casimir III, who came to Prague from Visegrad, received honor and stayed in Prague for 9 days. On the way home, he happily brought a right and a title of the Polish Kingdom, with an agreement of the Bohemian King.”

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Parish Church on Central Square

 

A Czechoslovak president Vaclav Havel, a chairman of the Hungarian government Jószef Antal and a Polish president Lech Walesa choose the designation for a group of four countries the Visegrad Group at the meeting held in Visegrad about 656 years later. The presidents re-signed the declaration on the close cooperation of their countries towards European integration.

 

The fact that the Slovak Republic ranks among countries of the Visegrad Four, or the Visegrad Group has historically heralded the meeting of three leaders in August 1335 in Trencin.