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Our town is located along the east side of the Carpathian Mountains, at 46° 43’ north latitude, and 25° 35’ east longitudes. The existence of the town is due to its proximity to the Belchia stream, which on average flows 810 meters high in the mountains. This clean water made it suitable for the development of a settlement.

Gheorgheni is an integral part of the Giurgeu basin, located at its eastern edge. The town borders are as follows: In the east, the Magas Bükk and the 1257m high Pongracz hill, in the north, the 1545m high Pricske hill, in the northwest, west and south, by the three municipalities bordering Giurgeu basin, are the villages Szárhegy, Alfalu and Tekerőpatak.

The history of Gheorgheni is closely associated with the life of the Szeklers people in the region. The first official mention of the settlement of Gheorgheni appears in the register of papal taxes for the years 1332-37, where the name Gorgio is mentioned.

At the end of the 12th century, beginning of the 13th century, the village of Gheorgheni was located further to the east of the Belchia stream that lay in a valley. Evidence of this is the discovery of a Christian cemetery from the Middle Ages in that location.  Additional evidence from 1332 shows the basic plan for the village already established.


Gheorgheni society has been associated with the Szekler military function as frontier guards. These foot soldiers were allocated a certain amount of land for their service.

Beginning in the 15-16th centuries, the Szekler people from Gheorgheni did everything to protect their public liberties and special tax-exempt status. Perhaps this explains their involvement in the revolts of 1511, 1519-21 and 1562.  There were 78 “libertinus” registered in the area of Prince János Zsigmond in Gheorgheni. In the year 1567, he donated their land to the főnépeknek. There were additional revolts by the Szeklers to regain their freedoms in the years 1571, 1575, 1583 and 1596.

The legal event of the 16th century was the appearance of the Szekler village laws. These laws refer back to an earlier period of community legislation and can be traced back to the year 1581. Also in this year, in Háromszék- Zala, Gyergyoujfalu, and Gheorgheni, as well, the   boundary fixing statute law was established.

In the first part of the 17th century, princes now recognized the need to maintain an Szekler military force in the region. This realization helped strengthen freedoms for the Szeklers people and assisted in the development of their settlements. Szeklers were allowed to engage in various autonomous market/trade activities according to their own regulations.

For example, in 1607 Zsigmond Rákóczi made a “vásárjog” a market law for the town. This decisive act, contributed to the settlement of Armenians from Moldova in Gheorgheni in 1637, 1654, then in 1669.

Habsburg domination again threatened Szekler freedoms. Therefore, the people of Gheorgheni fought on the side of Thököly Imre, and II. Rákóczi Ferenc for their ancient freedom, and for Hungarian freedom beginning in 1708.

The Austrians tried in 1762 to set up a border military force, but did not want to provide tax exemptions for the Szekler. This sparked a rebellion, and on 26 July 1762 the Gubernium chairman of the House of Habsburg, together with officers' corps was forced to flee the territory of our city.

In December 1763, the Austrians managed to organize the first Szekler infantry and hussar force.  By the end of the 18thcentury, and the beginning of the 19th century, the Szekler border guards took part in the Russian-Austrian-Turkish War, the War of Bavarian Succession, French Revolution and against Napoleon's army. In these battles the “gyergyóiak “ or, people of Gheorgheni, became acquainted with the principles of the French Revolution and the Enlightenment. This would be the driving force behind the events of 1848-1849 “Szabadságeszmény”, which contributed in a decisive manner to the Gheorgheni Szeklers enormous military sacrifice and contribution to the success of liberty.

By the second half of the 19th century, Gheorgheni society is no longer limited. The land becomes a commodity in the new capitalist mindset, also present were craft guilds.

Gheorgheni In the early 20th century, especially in the woodworking industry, was very developed. We also see the metal, the hotel industry, the leather industry, the spinning and weaving industry, tailoring and other branches of clothing industry, the milling industry, and engineering industries growing. Of all the settlements, Gheorgheni’s economic development was the most important of the early Ciuc County.

From 1607 foreward, Gheorgheni was shown in various documents to be a town. But, in 1871, in order to pay less tax,  the leadership declared Gheorgheni a large village. Then, in 1907, Gheorgheni was once again declared a town by officials, with new administrative legal statutes.

Also at the beginning of the 20th Century, there was a prosperous economic life. But the Treaty of Trianon changed all that. Gheorgheni lost the benefits of a cross-border trade situation. However, the contemporary Romanian authorities were not necessary to ensure the conditions for further development of this Hungarian town.

In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, Gheorgheni underwent a socialist industrialization and Romanianization program designed to alter the ethnic character of the region. As the villages surrounding the town’s population was Hungarian, this attempt failed.
Of course, this effort was intended to benefit the leaders of established companies.

The contemporary furniture factory, woven factory, machinery and spare parts manufacturing factory and mechanical company, possessed relatively modern machine stock and provide a number of jobs for the population of the Gheorgheni basin.

The changes in December, 1989, allowed Gheorgheni to  strengthen its Hungarian character. Also, the building of relationships between twin cities was strengthened. The city's potential for significant economic decline can be detected in the unlawful privatization that occurred between 1996-2001.

What would be needed to ensure the future of Gheorgheni? The rational use of natural resources, reasonable harvesting and processing of timber, and growth of tourism opportunities to name a few, would contribute decisively to the town's development. Another condition for the future of Gheorgheni would be to make viable small and medium enterprises. Today, there are many businesses that would guarantee rural economic development and contribute to regional economic growth. Associations may also contribute to better exploit the potential of tourism, as well as the nurturing of relationships between twin cities. These opportunities could be decisive for the future of Gheorgheni, not only because of our history and common culture, which hold us together, but also as a cooperation of institutions.

Dr. B. Garda Dezső

Dr. B. Garda Dezső
Last Updated ( szerda, 09 december 2009 )