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Baia Mare(in Hungarian Nagybánya), the county seat of Maramures, is an important city in northern Romania. It is located in the western part of the county, on the middle course of Sasar River, at an average altitude of 228 metres. The city stretches over 23 ha and contains also the following settlements: Blidari, Firiza, Valea Neagra, Valea Borcutului. It has 149,500 inhabitants (80.2% Romanians, 17.5% Hungarians, 0.7% Germans, 1992 census).
Consistent with the concentration of the economic activities and their importance, Baia Mare ranks the 3rd in the northwest of Romania.
Nature in its generosity has been both shelter and cradle to a strong community in this area. During the Bronze Age, it was the realm of the Thracians from which later descended the Geto-Dacians. It was also part of the large Dacian state formed by Burebista. The first mention of the settlement is from 1142, when King Géza II settled it with Saxonians. The name of the settlement was Frauendorf (german) / Asszonypataka (magyar) / Rivulus Dominarum (latin), meaning “River of the Ladies” or “Woman's Brook”. The richest documentation, however, is found in the act of privilege issued by Louis I the Great of Anjou in 1347.
In 1411 the king exchanged the city for Belgrade with George Barankovich, Serbian prince. (1411-1526 Belgrade was a Hungarian border castle). In that year a document speaks of the Mint in Baia Mare, one of the oldest and most famous in Transylvania.
In 1446 the mines and domain of Baia Mare become the property of the Corvin family as a token of gratitude for the bravery shown by Iancu de Hunedoara in his battles against the invading Turks. Iancu commissioned the Saint Stephan cathedral whose Stephan Tower remains a landmark of the city to this date.
In 1469 Matei Corvin bestows upon the city the right to develop its defense system by erecting fortified walls and keeps, strengthened by deep moats and large palisades to keep out the invaders. Baia Mare thus became an impressive fortress.
In 1567 it was annexed by Prince János Zsigmond, prince of Transylvania. The city was in Szatmár County of the Kingdom of Hungary.
In 1600, as a sign of gratitude for having cancelled several of the city's debts, the tenant of local mines, Felician Herbstein, ordered a coin to be minted in gold, displaying the effigy of the Wallachian prince, Mihai Viteazul. Collectors agree that this is an effigy of the prince of great numismatic value.
Between the years 1605-1606, 1621-1629, 1645-1648 the city with the county was part of the Principality of Transylvania. From the 16th century the settlement used the name Nagybánya. In 1703, the legendary outlaw Pintea Viteazul was witness, alongside Francisc Rakoczi II, to the freeing of the city from the hands of the Austrians. The year 1889 sees the printing of the first newspaper in Romanian - "Gutinul" - a weekly paper dealing in matters social, literary and economic.
From 1919/1920 (Romanian occupation/Treaty of Trianon) to 1940 (Diktat/Second Decision in Vienna) part of the Kingdom of Romania. 1940-1944 part of Hungary. The Treaty of Paris reallocated it to Romania. The settlement was a city 1952-1960 in Baia Mare Region, 1960-1968 in Maramures Region and from 1968 is in Maramures County.
Ethnic groups In 1910: Hungarian 64.8%, Romanian 33.7%, Germans 1.2% Religions In 1910: Greek Catholic 38.1%, Roman Catholic 34.7%, Calvinist 14.8%, Jewish 10.9%, Other 1.5%
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This city is also known as: Baia Mare.