Battle of Maritsa

One of the crucial battles in the Serbian history, a tragic event that predestioned the history of the Balkans. Very little is known about this important battle. What we know is that the local Serbian rulers, the Mrnjavčevićs – failing in several attempts to gain help from Byzantium and other Christian allies for dealing with the Ottomans – went deep into the Turkish territory following the Maritsa river course (Bulgaria), reaching almost Edirne (Andrianople), the new Turkish capital. There, at Cernomen (present Greece), on the right Maritsa river bank, Turkish army was waiting under the command of a Rumeli Beylerbey Lala-Shahin Pashe. There were about 60,000 Serbs, while the Turkish army was significantly weaker of some 15,000 men. But the Turks resorted to deception and pretending to surrender, at night between 25 and 26 September 1371 attacked the  Srbs who were completely off guard. King Vukašin and his brother despot Jovan Uglješa died in the battle along with almost the whole Serbian army. Even today the Turks call the place Sirf-sindigi – destruction of Serbs. Soon after Macedonia fell under the Turks, and King Marko became a Turkish vassal. Thus, for the Turks, the road to southern and central Europe was open.


As a reminder of the Battle of Maritsa defeat there is a saying,  “ (He) Was taken away by the murky Maritsa”.


Some historians say that the Battle of Maritsa is unjustly clouded by the Battle of Kosovo.


The Mrnjavčević Brothers, King Vukašin and despot Jovan Uglješa (the ruler of the Greek Macedonia).