The Ottoman history of Slovakia

THE SLOVAK National Museum is presenting an exhibition at its Vajanského embankment building that brings together artefacts from several museums around Slovakia to present a historical view of Ottomans living in Slovakia from soon after the Battle of Mohács in Hungary in 1526 for the following 150 years. It is called ‘Turks in Slovakia’ and is available until June 13.

A statue carrying a Turkish inscription.A statue carrying a Turkish inscription. (Source: Courtesy ofSNM)

THE SLOVAK National Museum is presenting an exhibition at its Vajanského embankment building that brings together artefacts from several museums around Slovakia to present a historical view of Ottomans living in Slovakia from soon after the Battle of Mohács in Hungary in 1526 for the following 150 years. It is called ‘Turks in Slovakia’ and is available until June 13.

After the Ottoman army led by Suleiman the Magnificent defeated the Great Hungarian forces of King Louis II of Hungary and Bohemia at Mohács, life in Slovakia was to a great extent influenced by the presence of the Ottoman Turks and parts of the current territory of Slovakia became an administrative region of the Ottoman Empire.

Items displayed in the current exhibition, like chandeliers, tiles, chalices, copper bowls, an inkpot with an Arabian inscription, an Ottoman wedding tent, a coffee can and smoking pipes show the peaceful everyday lives of the Turks living here.

But there are also armaments, weaponry, flags and other military items of the Ottoman army units that prove their mission here was not just innocent and peaceful. The Ottomans made Fiľakovo Castle the administrative headquarters and used several castles, especially in the south of the country, as fortresses.

The artefacts shown by the Slovak National Museum are on loan from museums in Piešťany, Fiľakovo, Rimavská Sobota, Komárno, Trnava, Betliar, Červený Kameň and the Archaeological Museum in Bratislava.

However, Michal Pírek, a military historian at the Historical Museum of the Slovak National Museum at Bratislava Castle, wrote in an article published in the Pravda daily that he thinks that many of the items are much younger than stated and some are souvenirs brought from trips abroad or presents to Hungarian nobles and merchants rather than true artefacts from the Ottoman army.


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