Gabriel Bethlen’s reign is regarded as the golden period of Transylvania. The Prince had to preserve Transylvania’s independence in between the two adjacent gigantic empires, the Habsburg and the Ottoman. He saw the Habsburgs as the greater threat to Transylvania’s independence, so he led several successful military campaigns against them.
After the Thirty Years’ War began, Bethlen made an alliance with the Czech estates of the realm. This event is represented on his relief. Bethlen captured Upper Hungary, and he even reached Vienna with his army, although he had to retreat. In 1620 at the Diet of Besztercebánya, ha was elected King of Hungary, but after only a year he gave back the title in order to make peace with the Habsburgs. In exchange, he was given the title Imperial Prince, and he could keep the seven counties he had previously captured.
The statue of Gabriel Bethlen is a creation of György Vastagh, Jr.