The History of the town of Baia Sprie
The town of Baia Sprie is located in the north-west of the Maramures County and it is one of the communities that defines the mining belt of the county.
Baia Sprie has a rich historic past. Here there are old sites dating from the 1st and 2nd centuries A.H. The town is officially dated from 1329, during the Hungarian king Carol Robertwho offers the inhabitants the first privileges.
The Latin name of the town is Mons Mediuswhich means the Middle Mountain. From this period the town links its existence to mining and it appears in the documentsover the centuries as a royal free town as well as Rivulus Dominarium, the City of Baia Mare.
In the year of 1360, the town can be found in the documents under the name of Montana Nostra, and in 1348 under a borough name of Civitas Medio Montis, in1390 under the name Felsőbánya, in 1406 again Civitas de Monte Medio, and later , in the 19th century, in 1851 under the name of Felsőbánya again. If “baia” mean “mine, “spria” means “rough” in Latin. This means that the working conditions in the mines in Baia Sprie were very rough. The old people of the town say that the name of the place comes from a goddess whose name was Spria. As a proof, there is a statue of the goddess in the old center of the town.
The town of Baia Sprie, situated of the Sasar river banks, at the base of the Gutâi Mountains, it spreads on a surface of 91 square km. Having unique surroundings, it was a touristic resort during the 18th and 19th centuries. All the mines in Baia Mare and Baia Sprie were in the queen’s property.
In the year of 1411 the two cities are given by the king Sigismudto Ștefan Lazarevisc, a Serb despot, in exchange to the citadel of Belgrade. Later on, in 1427 Gheorghe Brancovisc became the lord of the town. The names of both lords left a bad taste in the mouths of the inhabitants of that time because they oppressed the inhabitants in order togrow rich.
Under the lordship of Iancu of Hunedoara, between 1446 - 1453,the inhabitants gain some rights. Later on the king Matei Corvine would add some more rights. A series of events brought sadness to the inhabitants:
• In 1460 the Polish Prince Albert vandalized the town.
• In 1562 the Turks attacked the place.
• In 1589 the town burned to the ground.
• In 1690 the town gave its mines to the state in order to be free of taxes.
• In 1710, 580 inhabitants died during the pest epidemic.
• In 1771, the Huns invaded.
• In 1780 the town was flooded, many dwellings being destroyed.
• In 1782 all the crops were destroyed by the grasshopper’s invasion.
Yet, the town remained alive. The richness beneath the Mine Hill assured the prosperity of the citizens and the recovery of the damages.
There were periods of flourishing but also periods of downfall marked by the decreasing of the local population. Due to the documents during the reign of Imperatriz Maria Teresa, the population grew from 300 inhabitants to approximately 5000 inhabitants and remained constant until the middle of the last century.