Costin Feneșan

Cetatea Jdioara – sfârșit de drum (1693-1701) / The Fortress at Jdioara – End of a Story (1693-1701)

Jan. 1, 2019

Giovanni Morando Visconti
Luigi Ferdinando Marsili
Gabriel Jósika
Federico Veterani



Built at the end of the 13th or the beginning of the 14th century, the royal fortress/castle at Jdioara, located on the road from Caransebeş to Lugoj, was part of the defensive chain in the Banatic highlands against the Turkish penetration, as well as a checkpoint on the road to Transylvania. During that time the fortress/castle at Jdioara changed several owners, from voyvods of Transylvania (John Pongrácz of Dindeleag), princes of Hungary (John Corvinus, natural son of king Mathias Corvinus) or leaders (ban) of the so-called banat of Caransebeş and Lugoj (Steven Tompa, Paul Keresztesi) to some members of local highranking noble families (Macskási/Măcicaş of Tincova, Fiat of Armeniş/Caransebeş, Jósika of Caransebeş/Brănişca). %e last known owner of Jdioara before the Turkish seize of the banat of Caransebş and Lugoj in 1658 was Sigismund Jósika, son of the former Transylvanian chancellor Steven Jósika. During the war between Austria and the Ottoman Empire the former banat, as well as the fortress/castle at Jdioara, passed in the years from 1688 to 1699, for longer or shorter periods of time, from one hand to the other. Gabriel Jósika, a descendent of Sigimund Jósika, along with many noble-fellows fleeing from Caransebeş in 1658, returned with the Austrian army, seizing the opportunity to request the restitution of the lost real estates, among them the fortress/castle of Jdioara. General Federico Veterani, the commander in chief of Transylvania, granted to Gabriel Jósika (a man having a consistent political career in the autonomous Principality of Transylvania and thereafter under Habsburg rule) the possession of Jdioara and the surrounding villages by a donation-deed from January 24th, 1693. At the suggestion of the Imperial Court-Chamber (kaiserliche Hofkammer), Emperor Leopold Ist has decided that Jósika, as well as his other fellow-nobles, is to be considered only as a user and in no case as a full owner of the acquired estates, on the principle of uti possidetis. A final decision on the real possession was postponed after the conclusion of a peace with the Porte. During a journey to Vienna in the spring of 1697, Gabriel Jósika tried to obtain, by means of a petition filed to the Emperor, the acknowledgment of his full possession on Jdioara, but with no chance to succeed. Meanwhile, the treaty of peace concluded at Karlowitz (January 26th, 1699) granted the whole province of Banat to the Ottoman Empire, compelling Austria to demolish all occupied fortresses/castles, including Jdioara, before leaving the territory. %e final Austro-Turkish convention from December 2nd, 1700 on the border-delimitation had put an end to all hopes of Gabriel Jósika. On January 19th, 1701, from his camp on the river Bistra, major general count Luigi Ferdinando Marsili, imperial commissioner in the region, ordered major Leopold Friedrich Ungar de Merana, commander in Caransebeş and of the military border in the Banatic highlands, to proceed without any delay to the demolition of the fortress/castle at Jdioara. %e demolition works were entrusted to lieutenant-colonel Giovanni Morando Visconti, an imperial military engineer. On March 17th, 1701 he wrote to general Marsili, that on the previous day, at 16:00 hours, the fortress/castle at Jdioara was completly destroyed by successive gunpowder explosions.