History of Oradea

* 10th century founded Várad ("vár" = castle, "-ad" = diminutive suffix (cf.Heren"d", Kermen"d", Kövös"d", Fertő"d", Város"d", Jobbá"gy", Hortobá"gy""))
* 1082-1095 Várad Bishopric was founded by King Ladislaus I of Hungary.
* 12th century the second cultural and religious center of the kingdom.
* After the canonization of Ladislaus, his gravestone became the place of many ordeals.
* 1208-1235 REGESTRUM VARADIENSIS is the oldest documents concerning Oradea.
* The city flourished during the 13th century.
* The Mongol-Tatar attack against the city. The city's destruction was described by Rogerius in his work entitled "Carmen Miserabile" ("Sad Song").
* 5 kings were buried here, during the centuries: St. Ladislaus, Stephen II of Hungary, Andreas II, Mary of Hungary, Sigismund of Luxembourg
* XIV century one of the most prosperous period in the city's life. Statues of St. Stephen, Emeric and Ladislaus (before 1372) and the equestrian sculpture of St. Ladislaus (1390) erected in Oradea. St. Ladislaus' fabled statue was the first proto-renaissance public square equestrian in Europe. (The statues were torn down and melted by the Turks in 1660) The Kolozsvári brothers only work which has survived the centuries is the Statue of St. George in Prague. Bishop Andreas Báthori (1329-1345) rebuilt the cathedral in Gothic style. From that epoch dates also the Hermes, now preserved at Györ, which contains the skull of King Ladislaus, and which is a masterpiece of the Hungarian goldsmith's art.
* Sigismund King of Hungary and Holy Roman Emperor intercede with the Pope on behalf of letting Oradea Cathedral having patronal festival rights. Same as only two Basilica had at that time in Europe: St Mark's Basilica from Venice and Santa Maria Portiuncula from Assisi

* In 1412, Wladislaus II of Poland came to the gravestone of St. Ladislaus barefooted.

* 1437 Sigismund died and was buried in Oradea Cathedral.
* 1445 Bishop John Vitéz of Zredna took up the duties of bishop. He was one of the most distinguished and active promoters of Humanism in Hungary.
* 1474 The city was devastated by the Turks
* Matthias Corvinus met the Sultan's, the Emperor's and the Pope's ministers in Oradea Castle.
* The peasant uprising from 1514 led by György Dózsa have sacked and burned up the city
* 1526 Bishop of Oradea Francis Perenyi was killed in the Battle of Mohács
* Friar George Utyesenich took up the duties of bishop.
* 1538 in 1538, Zápolyai’s ablest adviser, the Croat Franciscan, Friar George, mediated the secret agreement of Oradea, under which each claimant (Ferdinand of Habsburg and John I of Hungary) recognised the other's title and the territorial status quo.
* The population of Nagyvárad numbered around 15-20,000
* 1541 fall of Buda, refugees arrived to Oradea.
* 1557 Queen Isabella's captain Tamas Varkoch captured the fortress. The bishopric's estates were confiscated and the members of Oradea's chapter scattered all over the country.
* 1565 Saint Ladislaus' grave was ruined.
* 1570-1596 a new fortess was built in late Italian Renaissance style
* 1598-1606 Oradea seceded Transylvania

* In 1598, the fortress was besiged and, on August 27, 1660, Oradea fell to the Turks.

Jewish community

The "chevra kadisha" was founded in 1735, the first synagogue in 1803, and the first communal school in 1839. Not until the beginning of the 19th century were Jews permitted to do business in any other part of the city, and even then they were required to withdraw at nightfall to their own quarter. In 1835 permission to live at will in any part of the city was granted them.

The Jewish community of Oradea became divided into Orthodox and Reform . While the members of the Reform congregation still retained their membership in the "chevra kadisha", they started to use a cemetery of their own in 1899. In the early 20th century, the Jews of Oradea had won prominence in the public life of the city; there were Jewish manufacturers, merchants, lawyers, physicians, and farmers; the chief of police (1902) was a Jew; and in the municipal council, the Jewish element was proportionately represented. The community possessed, in addition to the hospital and "chevra kadisha" already mentioned, a Jewish women's association, a grammar school, an industrial school for boys and girls, a yeshiva, a soup kitchen, etc.

The following are among those who have held the rabbinate of Oradea:
* Joseph Rosenfeld (Orthodox);
* David Joseph Wahrmann (Orthodox);
* Aaron Landesberg (Orthodox);
* Moricz Fuchs (Orthodox);
* Alexander Rosenberg (Reform: removed to Arad);
* Alexander Kohut (Reform: removed to New York, 1885; died, 1894);
* Leopold Kecskeméty (Reform).
According to the "Center for Jewish Art":

The Oradea Jewish community was once the most active both comercially and culturally in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In 1944, twenty-five thousand Oradean Jews were deported to concentration camps, thus decimating this vital community. Three hundred Jews reside in Oradea today. In the center of the city, towering over other buildings in the area, is the large Neolog Temple Synagogue built in 1878. The unusual cube-shaped synagogue with its large cupola is one of the largest in Romania. Inside there is a large organ and stucco decorations. In 1891, the Orthodox community also built a complex of buildings including two synagogues and a community center. [cite web |url=http://www.hum.huji.ac.il/CJA/NL14-Romania.htm |title=Uncovering and Documenting Jewish Art and Architecture in Western Romania |accessdate=2007-03-05 |date=Summer 1998 |work=Center for Jewish Art |publisher=The Hebrew University of Jerusalem]

Notes

References

:JewishEncyclopedia|Oradea::By : Gotthard Deutsch & G. Kecskeméti ( [ [http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=452&letter=G JewishEncyclopedia.com - GROSSWARDEIN (NAGY-VARAD): ] ] )


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