In 1415, the ruler of Wallachia [1] Mircea the Old agrees to pay the Ottoman Empire an annual harach [2] of 3,000 gold, after, as a result of punitive expeditions to Wallachia, the Turks captured Turna (Severin) and Braila, turning Giurgia into a raya[3], forcing the ruler of Wallachia to conclude peace. In 1420, after a major campaign in Wallachia, during which the Turks defeated and executed the ruler Mihai, the successor of the ruler Mircea on the throne, the Ottomans reached the borders of the Moldavian Principality. In 1420, the Turkish fleet attacked Chetatya Albe (future Akkerman), but the fortress was recaptured by the Moldovan army. The second attempt of the Turkish fleet to capture Chetatya Albe also ended in failure for him.

Despite these victories, in order to ensure its security and sovereignty, Moldova, under the ruler Petru Arona, agreed to pay 2,000 gold harach to the Ottoman Port. The payment of the harach meant the recognition and observance by the Ottomans of Moldova as an independent principality.

In the summer of 1455, Sultan Magomed II issued a decree to stop the invasions of Moldova. But seven years later, the situation on the southwestern border of Moldova became more complicated after in July 1462, the Ottomans, having captured Targovishte (the capital of Wallachia) and expelled Vlad the Impaler, known in literature as Dracula, put Radu the Beautiful on the throne of Wallachia, leaving an armed detachment to help him. From now on, the Ottomans will carry out all future invasions of Moldova together with Wallachian detachments.

In 1469, already in the time of Stefan III the Great, the Ottomans once again attacked the Moldavian lands together with the Wallachians, but the soldiers of Stefan III resolutely repelled this raid.

In the period from 1469 to 1470, the Tatars attacked Moldova. Moldavian troops under the command of Stefan III win a brilliant victory over the Tatars at Lipnik, near the Dniester (Oknitsa district). The convincing, categorical victories of Stefan III alarmed the Ottomans. In December 1473, the Ottomans, once again united with the Wallachians, organized a major campaign against Moldova: 12,000 Turks, united with 17,000 Wallachians, attacked, plundered and burned the Moldavian Principality up to Byrlad. But the Moldavian troops are also repelling this joint Wallachian-Turkish invasion. By 1474, after several defeats of the Wallachian-Turkish alliance, it became clear that a fight between Moldova and the Ottoman Port was inevitable. The Ottoman Empire had reached the apogee of its power and could not allow such a small country as Moldova to become an obstacle to its expansion. But Moldova, which became a recognized European factor under Stefan III, did not allow anyone to trample their lands with impunity. Stefan III appealed to Pope Sixtus IV with a l to organize a Christian anti-Turkish coalition. But it was to no avail. The Moldavian principality and its ruler Stefan III were left alone before the hordes of the Ottomans and their satellites-the Wallachians and Tatars.

In December 1475, a 120,000-strong army, under the command of Hadim Suleiman Pasha, with the support of the Wallachian army, invaded the territory of the Moldavian Principality, heading for its capital - Suceava. The goal of the campaign was to capture Moldova and replace Stefan III with another ruler, obedient to the Ottomans. Stefan III, with an army of only 40,000 soldiers, supported by several thousand sekeyev (sekuyev)[4], Hungarians and Poles, used the tactics of exhausting, weakening the enemy. The lands on the way of the Wallachian-Turks ' advance were devastated. The Moldavians exhausted their opponents with continuous raids.

Stefan III chose the valley of the Byrlad River, south of Vaslui, as the battlefield. The armies met at the so-called High Battle of
Battle of Vasluya Vasluya

The bridge (Podul Ynalt) is 60 km south of the city of Iasi, at the confluence of the rivers Rakova and Byrlad on January 10 . Despite the numerical inequality, the Moldavians ' good knowledge of the terrain contributed to the fact that during the battle the Moldavian army, consisting of 40 thousand poorly armed people's militias, mainly from peasants, as well as 5 thousand hired Hungarian soldiers, partially provided by Matyash Korvin, volunteers plus 2 thousand Poles, completely defeated the 120 thousand Turkish army of Suleiman Pasha (including 20 thousand enslaved Bulgarians). The Turks lost from 40 to 50 thousand people in the battle. The final offensive was preceded by an unusual trick of Moldavian military trumpeters. Having penetrated deep into the rear of the Ottoman army, the trumpeters gave the signal for a decisive attack. The Turkish soldiers were literally confused, thinking that they were surrounded. A panic began, which Stefan immediately took advantage of. The enemy was defeated.

The great victory of the Moldavians, "poorly armed and taken almost from the plow" (K. Marx), spread the glory of Moldova even more throughout Europe and covered the name of the ruler Stefan III, who was called Great after that, with unfading glory. Sultan Murad's widow, Ya, admitted: "The Turkish army has never suffered such a defeat." After this resounding victory, Stefan III does not allow himself to rest on his laurels.

A few days after the battle, the ruler of Moldova informs and warns the Christian kings and princes:"...The infidel emperor of Turkey plans to take revenge and come in May himself and with all his strength against us and conquer our country, which is the gateway of Christianity and which God has saved from this until now. But if this gate of Christianity, that is, our country, is lost – may God save us from this – then all Christianity will be in great danger. Therefore, we ask you to send your captains to us to help against the enemies of Christianity, while there is still time..."

On 20.06.1475, Stefan III the Great wrote to his representatives in Hungary, Stanch, the Duma of Micheu and:"...We learned through our people about the enemies of Christianity, about the infidels who are coming against us... and the sultan himself will go against us by land, so that he himself will enslave our land with all his strength and with all the strength of Wallachia, because the Wallachians are enemies for us, just like the Turks. And to believe reasonably that this is exactly the case."

The Turkish armies, united with the Wallachians, attacked Moldova a year later, on July 26, 1476, at a place called Valya Albe (White Valley), near Rezboen. Here Moldavians once again died for their homeland. The Battle of the White Valley (Rezboen) is the culminating event in the punitive campaigns undertaken by the Turks together with the Muntans (one of the names of the Wallachians) against the Moldovan Country. This is how the direct participant of this battle, Stefan III na Veliky, conveys this tragic event for Moldova and Moldavans. There follows a genuine model of an objective story about an event with adiverse consequences for the narrator and his people. An authentic model of a sincere story: "Io Stefan voivod, by the grace of God, the lord of the Moldavian Land, in the year 1476, my reign of the 20th of this year, a strong Mehmet, the emperor of Tours with all his eastern forces, and also with him Basarab voivod named Laiote, came with him with all his Bessarabian country. And they came to plunder and take the Moldavian Country; and they came to this place called the White Stream. And we, Stefan andoiur son Alexandru went out to meet them here and did a great battle with them in the month of July 26; and by the will of God, the Christians were defeated by the infidels and many Moldavian warriors (soldiers) fell here..."

However, the Turks died significantly more in this battle, the Moldavians offered fierce resistance, later retreating and ravaging their country in order to deprive the Turks of the possibility of supplying the army, hiding behind the walls of their cities and fortresses. The Turks failed to take the capital of Moldova, Suceava, and the exhausted and hungry Turks, under the threat of an epidemic that had begun and the Hungarian army of Matei Korvin, approaching to help Stefan, retreated from Moldova.

Sultan Mehmed II The ConquerorThus, the campaign of Mehmet II in 1476 did not achieve its goal – Moldova retained its independence. The diplomatic efforts of Stefan III, his written and oral appeals, through ambassadors, to the Republic of Venice, the Papal Curia, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the Hungarian and Polish kingdoms with a proposal to form an anti – Ottoman Christian coalition to guard the "gate of Christianity" - Moldova, were in vain. Neighboring countries, large church and shopping centers became more and more passive as the Ottoman-Wallachian expeditions became more and more difficult to stop.

In the summer of 1484, a powerful Turkish army, together with Wallachian troops and "with the support of the Tatars", besieged the fortress of Kilia, defended by the Moldovans under the command of the pyrkalabs Ivanko and Maxim. After a heavy week-long siege, the Turkish-Wallachians capture the fortress.

On August 8, 1484, Turkish-Wallachian-Tatar troops also captured Chetatya Albe, which was defended by Moldovans under the command of pyrkalabs (commandants) Herman and Oane. But the tests of Moldova did not end there. Having learned that Stefan III was in Kolomyia, the Turks, together with the Wallachians, attacked Moldova in September 1485, plundered and set fire to the country as far as Suceava, but Stefan III quickly returned and under the pressure of his troops, the Ottomans retreated all the way to Kilia.

A month later, the Moldavian army under the command of Stefan III defeats (16.11.1485) at Katlabuga (in Bessarabia, that is, in Budjak) the Turkish army led by Bali-bek Malkoch oglu. Nevertheless, Stefan does not manage to free Kilia.

During this period, Stefan III the Great became the number one enemy of the Turks and Tatars. In the spring of the following year (1486), a powerful Turkish army led by the same Bali-bek again attacks Moldova, trying to conquer it. In the Battle of Shkei (1486), the Moldavian army defeats the interventionists and eliminates the contender for the Gompodar throne, Chronoda.

Exalted by kings, princes, European chroniclers, church hierarchs – the papal Curia, the Senate of Venice, who fed him with sweet speeches, magnificent phrases and empty promises-left without anyone's help before the Turkish hordes united with the Wallachian and Tatar troops, betrayed by all the Wallachian lords whom he himself put on the throne, forced to take into account the territorial claims of other neighbors, Stefan III the Great signed in 1489 a peace treaty with Sultan Bayezid II, pledging to pay the Port of Harach in 3,000 Venetian florins, while remaining, at the same time, a single autocratic ruler of Moldova, although without Kilia and Chetatya Albe.


The long stay of Stefan III the Great on the throne of Moldova had a beneficial effect on all areas of the political, social, economic, administrative and spiritual life of Moldova. All the achievements of the Moldavian state under the rule of Stefan III the Great are the result of the coincidence of the boldest plans of the great voivode with the aspirations of his subjects. With the support of peasants, small boyars, townspeople, merchants and employees, as well as the neutralization of any attempt of disobedience on the part of the large boyars, Stefan managed to establish the Moldavian state among the authoritative European countries.

By consistently approving the system of a unitary state with a rigid hierarchy, Stefan III the Great created the necessary conditions for the development of Moldova in all areas. The period of his rule remained the most brilliant and exceptionally fruitful in the development of Moldova. The loud victories of the Moldovans under the command of Stefan Voivode over the Ottomans, Wallachians (Muntans), Poles, Tatars, Hungarians crowned the Moldavian soldiers with well-deserved glory, spreading the news of a courageous people and a state with a little-known name of Moldova to Stefan throughout Europe.

After Stefan III the Great (2.07.1504), his son Bogdan III (1504-1517) came to the throne of Moldova, who inherited from his

Bogdan III the One-Eyed father the qualities of a brave warrior, quick in actions and ambitious in desires. However, unlike his father, he was not always careful enough and did not know how to anticipate the course of events by using the modest defensive capabilities that the country had at its disposal.

A year after the enthronement, the ruler entered the war with Poland because of the disputed Pokutia[5]. The Moldovan-Polish clashes continued until 1509. Governed sometimes impulsively, without a common vision of the situation, without a thoughtful definition of the directions of the political strategy (the conclusion of alliances, agreements or at least agreements), Moldova increasingly fell under the influence of the big boyars, lost credibility with neighboring states, lost the ability to protect itself from invasions. The long Moldavian-Polish conflict, the attack of the Wallachians and the retaliatory punitive expedition, the subsequent devastating invasions of the Tatars to Chukhur and to Yass (1510, 1513), the new intervention of the Wallachians, who once again violated the "eternal peace", forced Bogdan III to normalize relations with the Ottomans and pay them tribute, but already 8,000 gold.

Seen by the historian Ureke "as a strategist who watched over all sides so that the country left by his father would not be infringed", Bogdan III the Terrible (cel Grozavu) died in 1517 in Iasi.

At that time, his son Stefan was 11 years old. It was he who was put on the throne and ruled Moldova for 10 years (1517-1527). In fact, for five years, until 1522, Moldova was ruled by Luca Arbore, a major boyar, portar (commandant) Suceava, who was actually the regent under the teenager Stefanice, who bears the title "voda".

Guided in politics by the principles of Stefan III the Great, Luca Arbore tried to keep Moldova whole and independent. His attempts to hold the country in his hands on behalf of the minor ruler caused discontent among the major boyars. At the age of 16, encouraged by the boyars, Stefanice refuses his mentor and in April 1523 orders the beheading of Luka Arbore.

In January 1527, Stefanice Voda died in Khotyn, according to one version, from poisoning.

Bust of Peter Rares in the Moldovica Monastery, Suceava County, Romania

The next ruler of the Moldavian principality-Peter Raresh comes to his first reign (1527-1538), and this circumstance will have a sensitive impact on Moldova.

The most talented son of Stefan III inherited many qualities from his father – he was dynamic, uncompromising in decisions. However, he sometimes made mistakes in assessing the emerging balance of power in Central Europe, and he was not always able to predict the result of inevitable clashes. Petru Rares first strengthened relations with Poland, improved relations with the Port (which, in turn, concluded an alliance with Poland), established contacts with Ferdinand of Habsburg. At the same time, in the second year of his reign, Peter Rares organized a campaign, one of the largest undertaken by the Moldovans in Transylvania. As a result of this campaign in the winter of 1529, Peter Raresh received from the King of Hungary John Zapolya as payment - the fortress of Bistritsa and its surroundings, the valley of Rodna, as well as the fortress of Ungurashul.

The victories in Transylvania turned the head of Peter Raresh. Losing his sense of reality, he stopped taking into account the opinion of the Gospodar council. The boyars complained that : "The lord never listens to our advice," "from these victories ... being proud, Peter Raresh considered that luck would always be with him, would always accompany him," writes Manolake Dragic with reproach.

In December 1530, the Moldavian troops entered Pokutia, leaving their garrisons in the cities and fortresses. However, in August 1531, the Polish Hetman  Jan Tarnowski returns Pokutia to Poland. The ruler, wishing to capture Pokutia at any cost and compensate for the damage, sends troops to Poland, but their advance was stopped at Gvozdiyek (19.08.1531). Three days later, on 22.08.1531, the Moldavian army was defeated in the Battle of Obertyn.

The" pride " of Peter Raresh had serious consequences for Moldova.

Considering that the time has come to subdue Moldova, weakened by the military company in Poland, Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent organizes a major campaign, calling the Wallachians under his tui (banners), coordinating the operation with the Tatars.

15.09.1538 Suleiman and his Ottoman-Wallachian detachments occupy the capital of the Moldavian Principality - Suceava, which did not even resist. The boyars betray their master. Peter Raresh leaves Moldova (28.09.1538) and hides in the fortress of Ciceu.

Thus, the ill-considered actions of Peter Rares had dramatic consequences for Moldova in all directions – economic, territorial-administrative and political: Budjak and Tigina join the Ottoman Empire, which appoints (without consulting the Gospodarian council) the new ruler of Moldova – Stefan Lacuste.

So, since 1538, Moldova has been under Ottoman rule. The Turks are resettling Nogai Tatars in Budjak. For the first time, the Ottomans leave a garrison of 500 janissaries in Suceava to protect their protege, Stefan Lacuste.

In turn, the Turkish chroniclers consider Moldova conquered by the Ottoman Empire back in 1476 after the battle of the White Valley, and the subsequent Turkish campaigns were organized mainly to suppress the rebellions of rebellious lords.

Whatever it was, 1538 was the year of the final enslavement of the Moldavian Principality. However, unlike the Balkan lands,

Sultan Suleiman Kanuni the pashalyk was not created here, but the Moldavian state administration was preserved. Based on the idea that Tigina and its surroundings belong to the Moldavian state, a number of researchers emphasize the grave consequences of its loss. But the facts indicate a slightly different, very peculiar situation. It is possible to say with a sufficient degree of confidence that in this case Turkey decided to finally remove the problem of the disputed territory that existed between the Moldavian state and the Tatar khans, who, with all the above-mentioned rulers of Moldova, actually ruled this region. All the numerous destructive Tatar attacks on cities and entire regions of Moldova are known from the Moldavian chronicles.

So, Tighina is mentioned only in the key that the attacks of the Tatars are coming from her side (the proximity of Budjak), but the city is never mentioned in these chronicles as having suffered from such invasions.

As it was written in other sections of the site (versions of the origin), it is obvious that before the Turkish conquest, the city and the trading post of Tighina were under the rule of the Tatars and their vassals of the Genoese, who were forced to leave after the fall of Belgorod to their trading post of Olkhonia (Soroka), and then completely leave this region, although legally Tigina was part of the Moldavian Principality.

On the rights of the strongest Sultan is located in Tighina its Ottoman garrison, and for many centuries custom and

coastal villages were already Turkish possession, called by the Turks, Ben-Der, and the Tatars once again confirmed its vassal of Turkey, however, is their even arranged such political interference Osman, as the latter assumed the onerous functions for the protection of the borders and contents of the fortresses of the regular garrisons.

The Crimean Khan Sahib-Giray I (1532-1551) took an active part in the Turkish Sultan's conquest of Moldova and was generously rewarded, although he was defeated by Raresh at Stefanesti before the capture of Suceava.

After the fall of Suceava, the sultan celebrated the victory with the Crimean khan for five days, and their agreement on the construction of the Bendery fortress may have taken place there. That is why a number of researchers consider this khan to be the "parent " of the fortress.

Such transactions between the Tatars and the Turks were no longer uncommon. If we take into account that the construction of the Perekop fortress began simultaneously with Benderskaya, the fortifications of Ochakov were significantly strengthened, then we can conclude that the Turks and Tatars created a whole system of defensive structures. The Crimean khans and beys, who had become rich as a result of predatory campaigns in the Russian lands, Moldova, Poland, saw in the construction of stone castles-fortresses a symbol of the assertion of their statehood, as well as the creation of more reliable springboards for their devastating raids, and did not spare money for this. Only for the construction of the Tyagin fortress[6] on the Dnieper, Mengli-Giray paid the Turks 150,000 gold.

The construction of the Bender fortress commissioned by the Tatars became a convenient reason for Sultan Suleiman to introduce his troops there.

The Ottomans' rejection of Tighina was marked by the placement of a marble slab on the Gate Tower of the citadel of the fortress, the so-called "tarikh Suleiman" (currently restored), the inscription on which read:

"I am the servant of Allah and the ruler of this world, the Sultan. Allah has made me a

faithful leader of the people of Mohammed, I am the favorite of the All-merciful.

The wisdom of Allah and the miraculous power of Mohammed are my companions. I am the one

Suleiman, in whose name the "Khutba" (prayer) was read in the holy


I am the one who sent ships to the European, African and

Indian. I am the Shah of Baghdad and Iraq, the king of Rome (Byzantium) and the Sultan of


I have achieved the throne and the golden crown of the Hungarian king out of my sympathy and

generosity, he (the king) is a submissive slave of the Sultan.

And I also expelled the voivode Peter, a multi-angry rebel. When the dust rose from the

shoes of my horse, I conquered Bogdan (Moldova).

Year 945 (according to the Muslim calendar), Hassan Bey, New cadi of Bendery, who strengthened the crossing, helped the sea beys. I am Suleiman, the descendant

of the Ottomans, who built the fortress and wrote the chronogram."

Almost every word of the last two lines carries a great semantic load. Scientists have determined the date of compilation of the chronogram in 1538. According to the manner of performing the tarikh and writing individual elements, it is known that the chronogram was carved by a skilled Tatar master stonemason from Bakhchisarai, Kafa or some other city of the Crimean Khanate. The phrase "new cadi of Bendery" makes it possible to assume the presence of Turks at the customs point long before the construction of the fortress.

An exact replica of the restored tarih in 2019. Only a fragment of the slab has preserved till our days

The publication was prepared by Georgy Vilkov. Used materials from the site https://www.moldovenii.md/, as well as publications by G. Astvatsaturov

[1] Wallachia is the name of the historical region between the Carpathian Mountains and the Danube River, which is now located in the southern part of Romania

[2] Harach-poll tax from gentiles (zimmi) in Muslim states

[[3] Raya - a territory taken from a vassal ruler and directly subordinated to the Ottoman administration (usually in the vicinity of the fortress)

[[4] Secui is one of the sub-ethnic groups that make up the Hungarian national minority in the territory of the modern Republic of Romania

[5] Pokutye is a culturally original region and a historical region now in the west of Ukraine, between the Prut and Cheremosh rivers.

[[6] Is often confused with the Tighina (Tyagun) on the river Dniester


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