Buda in the Turkish Era

Article Index

The Siege in 1684

Charles of LotharingiaA campaign for the recapture of Buda was only made possible after the Turkish defeat at Vienna (1683) and the establishment of the Holy League. Learning from previous failures, the campaign was launched earlier in the year. The Imperial troops led by Charles of Lorraine - after they had defeated the Turkish army at Vác - occupied Pest, which had been evacuated by the Turks at the beginning of July. Then on the 12th of July 1684 another victory against the Turks was won, and the walls of Buda were finally reached on the 15th of July.

Although not an overwhelming force, the besieging army of over 30,000 - supplemented by 8,000 Hungarian soldiers on the 18th of July - well outnumbered the defending 10-12,000 soldiers. However, the besiegers did not have enough artillery pieces. The beginning was promising again: on the 19th of July - after a battle which cost the Turks considerable losses - the attackers managed to occupy the suburb, then on the 22nd of July defeated the Turkish field troops at Érd. After this they were able to begin the siege of the town and the castle, which meant that first of all they had to build up a double entrenchment-earthwork system. The inner, narrower ramparts (contravallacio) checked the castle directly, whereas the outer defence line (circumvallacio), which surrounded a much bigger area, was formed against the anticipated relief troops. Emanuel Miksa II, Bavarian PrinceThey marked the main directions of attack so that the artillery set up on the neighbouring hills and mountains could provide the best support. From Gellért hill they fired at the southern bastions, especially the Rondella and the Mace tower of the palace, and from Nap hill of today they attacked the section between the northern closing wall of the palace and the Fehérvár rondella (Kasim pasha kulesi), while on the north, from the direction of present-day Kis-Sváb hill and Rózsadomb, they besieged the neighbourhood of the Esztergom rondella (Toprak kulesi). In these parts simultaneously to the artillery arrangement the besiegers approached the castle walls stage by stage with the help of saps so that they could mine them and launch an attack with the infantry. Michael Wening: The Siege of Buda from the East, 1684 - detailMichael Wening: The Siege of Buda from the East, 1684 - detailThey also attacked from the northeast, from the direction of the Danube bank. In spite of the continuous cannon fire, the repeated minings and attacks by the infantry, the defensive army led by Mehmed Kara (Black) and Ibrahim Seytan ("Satan") fought very hard, and even launched various counterattacks that inflicted losses upon the enemy. On the 9th of September the weakening besieging troops received considerable reinforcements under the command of the Bavarian Elector-prince Maximilian Emmanuel, but on the 22nd of September the Turkish field troops attacked the outer defence line of the besieging army at several points. On the 25th of September the defenders also launched a significant attack against the inner defence line. On the 4th of October the Imperial troops - under the command of Maximilian - launched a major attack against the walls, but when this was repulsed they were only able to maintain a state of siege for a short while. Because the besiegers were caught in the crossfire they decided to withdraw at the end of October. They broke camp between the 1st and 3rd of November, then withdrew leaving a great number of wounded soldiers behind.

Nicolas Hallart - Michael Wening: The Siege of Buda from the north, 1684