I do not know that any of the descendants of a king are buried in such an unusual place --
two Magyar princesses rest in peace above the portal of a cathedral in Croatia.
It happened exactly 770 years ago this year. Two very young princesses died in a similar time
of the same year, in the same city, when they were saving their lives from invading hordes of the
conquerors from the Mongol Empire, the Crimean Tatars.
To escape from the Tatars who defeated him in the Battle of the Sajo River near the village of Muhi (1241),
Hungarian-Croatian king Bela IV leaves his homeland Hungary. Austria has been inhospitable for him
and he comes to Zagreb, Croatia, February 1242. Persecuted by Kadan, son of the Great Khan Ögedei and
grandson of Genghis Khan, Bela IV and his family, together with a large retinue of nobility, were forsing
to flee to the southern Croatian region, Dalmatia, where the Tatar army had the first failures (Šibenik and
Klis) in their conquering of Europe. Impregnable fortresses of Dalmatia (Klis, Trogir and the local Benedictine
monastery on the island Kraljevac), were havens for the king till the second half of May, 1242. Klis was the
place of death, probably of the plague, of Bela's two daughters: Princess Margaret (ca. 1220-1242) and
Princess Catherine (ca. 1229-1242). Their remains lie in a small sarcophagus above the portal of the Split
Cathedral. Its magnificent tower in front of it was in construction at the time.
At that time, Split was Kingdom's autonomous community, ruled by Croatian nobleman Ivan II Frankopan Krčki,
Duke of Krk, Modruš and Vinodol.
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