Municipality of Vasvár

THE IMPORTANCE OF THE VASVÁR PEACE TREATY OF 1664

In 1664 Christian armies in Europen collaboration won a major victory near Szentgotthárd over the Ottoman- Turkish forces which had occupied a great part of Hungary more than a century before. After losing the battle, on August 10th, the army chief of the retreating Turkish army made peace with the envoy of Habsburg Emperor Leopold I in the nearby town of Vasvár. the battle of Szentgotthárd was the first significant victory over the Ottoman- Turkish army forces previously reckoned to be invincible. The victory impressively represented the then emerging supremacy of the European politicalconditions as well. Both the battle and the peace attracted considerable interest in europe of its day because, as a result of European cooperation, it became possible to expel the Turkish troops from Europe. Nevertheless, for Hungary the treaty was considered disadvantageous because the moment of the militairy success was not exploited, and also because the status quo between the two empires was maintained. In fact, however, it launched the process which let to the liberation of Hungary in the decades thereafter. 

 

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE PEACE FOR THE TOWN

Located on the Western border of Hungary, Vasvár was an important town in the Middle Ages as the center of Vas County. However, as a consequence  of the Turkish conquest the settlement started to decline. It was abandoned by its institutions and population, the buildings started to decay with the only exception of the Dominican monastery, which had been converted into a fortress. At the time on the treaty the town was not more than a minor fortification, but that was also destroyed by the marching Turkish army. (The treaty itself was probably made in the Turkish camp, but local tradition connects it with an old town building.) It was only after the Turkish wars in the eighteenth century when the reconstruction ofthe town started, but it never regained its previous importance. The peace treaty made the name of Vasvár known both in Europe and Hungary; one of the few treaty sites which are located in the country today. Earlier the Vasvár peace treaty was seen in rather negative terms by Hungarian history. However, now, precisely thanks to professional events related to the cooperation of the European Places of Peace it is assessed in a more sophisticated way: it is considered a significant peace playing an imporant role both in Europe and Hungarian histories. 

 

THE REHABILITATION AND RECONSTRUCTION OF THE PEACE SITE

The building located on the site of the Vasvár Peace made in 1664 is under national protection of historic buildings. The house has been completely renovated (replacement and repair of the roof, exterior facades and windows, a complete interior renovation upgraded heating.)

 

In the basement ofthe building an interactive showroom has been created, using traditional building materials, leaving the old walls intact (original vault doors, herringbone pattern flooring, original style down stairway), but up-to-date electric and engineering system has been installed, altogether with showroom furniture. 

 

the exhibits of the peace treaty showroom: 

 

  • a copy of the original text of the peace treaty based on the Vienna Archives in Latin, German and Italian languages, bound in codex
  • a photograph of the tondo depicting an allegory of the battle of Szentgotthárd (the original is located on the side of the Victoire Placede memorial in Paris)
  • a copy of the detail of the Turks' own peace document with Sultan Mehmed IV's signature on handmade paper
  • reliefs of life-size figures (wood carvings) wearing textile clothing to imitate the characters of the battle and the peace treaty (Ahmed Köprülü, turking Grand Vizier, Riamondo Montecuccoli, chief of European armies; Count Nádasdy (III); Ferenc, judge royal

An animated film is presenting the battle of Szentgotthárd and the Vasvár peace treaty is also provided in the showroom. 

 

A LIST OF EVENTS RELATED TO THE PEACE TREATY
  • 'War and Peace in Europe of the 18th century', international conference (25 to 26 May 2001)
  • 'Past and present in the spirit op peace', talks with military historians (21 May 2004)
  • 'Vasvár 1664 - European revolution', conference (8 September 2011)
  • 'The art of peace', lecture (28 September 2012)
  • 'War and Peace in the period of Miklós Zrinyi', international conference (15 to 17 May 2014)
  • European Network of Places of Peace, 8th meeting (7 to 10 August 2014)

 

EVENTS ORGANIZED FOR CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE
  • Bus and walking tour to the site of the Battle Szentgotthárd (21 to 23 May 2004)
  • Football tournament of junior teams from places of peace in the Carpathian Basin (21 to 23 May 2004)
  • 1664 m long Peace Memorial run of the Vasvár Peace Treaty (every year from 2012 to 2016)
  • Drawing competition and exhibition on the subject of regional importance of the Vasvár Peace Treaty, 95 entries, catalogue with 24 works
  • Lecture of young people on the art of peacemaking. Jan-Pierre Bois (University of Nantes) and Dr. Ferenc Tóth, senior research fellow, Hungarian Academy of Science (28 September 2012)

 

VASVÁR, GENERAL INFORMATION

Vasvár was built on the western border of Hungary, near an important commercial and military road, along which the central parts of the country were connected with Northern Italy. Thanks to its favourable location it became a county seat and urban settlement. the development of the town was brought to and end by the Turkish occupation, and never reganted its previous importance. In the 18-19th century the town was principally known for its pilgimage and religious institutions. by now it has become a small town of 5.000, as a district centre it has an important role in administration. In addition to the House of Peace, the town can pride itself of major historical monuments: the Dominican monastery and church, the reconstruction the Vasvár rampart protection the former Road of Soldiers. Many of its natural treasures are well known: Szentkút Forest Park (the pilgimage site), the area of Natura 2000 surrounding the town, just like the vast majority of forests and meadows. The 85 degree Celcius thermal water coming from 2500 meters that feeds the town's spa and district heating is of crucial importance. The town is situated on an important route even today, the No. 8, the main international highway leading to Austria, which offers opportunities forthe development of the town.