Skip to main content
First page

Slovenes and the 430th anniversary of victory over the Ottomans

By June 23, 2023July 1st, 2023No Comments

430 years have passed since the famous victory of the Slovenes over the Ottomans at Sisak. This account was published in Slovenia by the periodical Demokracija.

Victorious Battle of Sisak, in which the Slovenes also defeated the Sultan’s army. (Photo: Facebook)

On 22 June 430 years ago, the famous battle of Sisak took place between Christian and Ottoman armies. The battle ended with the victory of the Christian  Imperial forces led by General Baron Ruprecht von Eggenberg. One of the leaders of the Christian army was the noble Andrej Auersperg Turjaški, commander-in-chief of Vojna Krajina. Since it was Slovenes (Carniolans, Carinthians and Styrians) who were mostly responsible for the victory, historiography records the battle as a great victory for Slovenes over the Turks. 

In this battle in 1593  the Turks are said to have lost up to 10,000 men and the Christian forces only between 40 and 50). The bulk of the Turkish (Ottoman) forces thereafter shifted towards Central Europe and Vienna. As a result, major Turkish incursions into the territory of Vojna Krajina, Carniola, Carinthia and Styria came to an end, and the military pressure on Slovenian lands was relieved.

Conflicts in the Western Balkans became more intense after the Ottoman Sultan Murat III made peace with Persia in 1590. Austrian Emperor Rudolf II reached a truce after sending diplomatic envoys to Murat’s court, but the 8-year peace agreed did not last. Already the following year, under pressure from military circles at his court, Murat appointed Hasan Pasha Predojević as commander of Ottoman forces. He came from Herzegovina, born into the Serbian Predojević clan. In his youth, Nikola was taken to the Sultan’s court in Constantinople, where he was renamed Hasan.

Hasan captured the important fortress of Bihać on his way to the West. In 1592, he had the Yeni Hisar (Petrinja) fortress built. From there he planned an attack on Sisak.

Construction of the Sisak Fortress began in 1544 and was completed in a few years. When Predojević was given the task to destroy Sisak, he camped by Kolpa with 12.000 warriors and began a siege. In response to the attack a Christian army was formed, numbering approximately 5,000 men, who came from the Croatian and Slavonian Krajišnica forts, Banska Croatia and the hinterland of Slovene lands.

The Christian army made a calculated move and trapped the Turkish troops between two rivers. This caused a disorder in Ottoman ranks, and they came under attack by soldiers from the fortress they had been besieging. The Carniolan nobleman Andrej Auersperg Turjaški, who led the arquebusiers (units armed with arquebus guns), played a prominent role in the victory.

The Turkish forces fled in panic and were pushed back to Kolpa. There a large number of them drowned, including the commander Hasan pasha Predojević. The battle lasted only an hour.

Hasan’s coat, kept by the National Museum of Slovenia. Source: National Museum of Slovenia.

That it was the people of Carniola who did the most to win the battle over the Turks is evidenced by a historic relic. The greatest trophy of the battle, Hasan’s cloak, belonged to Andrej Turjaški. The cloak became the property of Ljubljana Cathedral and is part of the legacy inventory of Bishop Tomaž Hren  from 1630. Hren had Hasan’s mantle made into a mantle for Masses in Ljubljana Cathedral. Today, the cloak is in the National Museum in Ljubljana.

The victors seized abundant booty. Besides the cloak, it consisted of 39 cannons, 10 Turkish flags, many weapons, a helmet with rich ornaments, jewels, gold, and Hasan Pasha’s tent with valuables.