Salonta, the second biggest city in Bihor county after the county town Oradea, is situated in the west extremity of Romania, near the Hungarian border.

The specific natural conditions were favourable for human settlements from early times. The first mentioning about Salonta is from 1332, when, in one papal document, this place was mentioned as "socerdas de Ville Zalantha". Afterwards, the name suffered numerous modifications. In the end, in 1587 this settlement was named "Szalonta".

Until the sixteenth century Salonta had belonged to the noble Toldi family and had not great importance in this region because it was situated in the vicinity of the Kölesér fortress, which was a strong political and economical center. In that period Salonta included approx. 50 houses, situated between marsh and reed, and had approx. 250-300 inhabitants.

The Osmanli Turks destroyed in 1598 the Kölesér fortress and the old cradle of Salonta. The fortress it was not repopulated after, but, after a short period, Salonta was to rebuild. This because many of the refugees came back and, in addition, the prince of Transilvania, István Bocskai, settled here 300 soldiers with their family to protect the region from the Turks. In this time was constructed the watch-tower in the center of the settlement, known today as "The Truncated Tower". The soldiers obtained large areas to cultivate and enjoyed much of privilege.

In these conditions, the number of inhabitants increased fast, and after that Salonta obtained even the right to keep weekly markets - it became a strong economical center.

István Bocskai,
the prince of Transilvania

In 1659, György Rákóczi the 2nd, prince of Transilvania, ordered to burn down the city, which it was to repopulate at the end of the seventeenth century.

After the Turks had withdrawn the tower lost its importance of defence, its ruins were spread all over, only the tower faced the destroying thorms. By the end of the 17 th century the town was repopulated and became a flourishing settlement.

In 1700 the Empire Court renounced to the soldiers' services and by this the old privileges and noble rights were canceled.

At the beginning of the nineteenth century the local craftsmen organized themselves in guilds. In 1820 was founded the bootmaker's guild and in 1836 the tanners' one. At the end of the nineteenth century in the town existed about 500 certificated craftsmen.

In 1849 the spirit of the revolution stimulated Salonta's population to fight. Arany János himself takes part in the revolutionary events.

In Salonta was born János Arany, one of the greatest Hungarian poet, who was deeply inspired by the Salontan way of life.

 

At the turn of the century the region progressed very fast. In that period were started the drainage operations, the railway construction and were founded the first industrial and commercial institutions with capitalist character. In addition, it was observable a strong migration from the rural area to the town.

After the first world war, when Transilvania was integrated in Romania, Salonta became a frontier settlement between Romania and Hungary.

The evolution of the industry increased after 1948, when new economical unit were set up in the city.