Battle of Kunovica

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Battle of Kunovica
Part of Crusade of Varna
File:Suva Planina pogled iz Luznice.jpg
Suva Planina
Date 2 or 5 January 1444
Location Kunovica between Niš and Pirot, Ottoman Empire (modern-day Serbia)
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Result Crusader victory[1]
Coa Hungary Country History (15th century).svg Kingdom of Hungary
POL Przemysł II 1295 COA.svg Kingdom of Poland
SLazarevic Coat of Arms.png Despotate of Serbia
24px Ottoman Empire
Commanders and leaders
POL Przemysł II 1295 COA.svg Władysław III of Poland
Coa Hungary Country History (15th century).svg John Hunyadi
SLazarevic Coat of Arms.png Đurađ Branković
Mahmud Çelebi  (POW)

The Battle of Kunovica or Battle at Kunovitsa (Serbian: Битка на Куновици)[2] was the battle between crusaders led by John Hunyadi and armies of the Ottoman Empire which took place on 2 or 5[3] January 1444 near mountain Kunovica (Suva Planina) between Pirot and Niš.[4]


The Christian contingent began their retreat on 24 December 1443,[5] after the Battle of Zlatica. The Ottoman forces followed them across the rivers Iskar and Nišava and in the Kunorica pass attacked (some sources say ambushed by) the rear flanks of the retreating armies composed of armies of the Serbian Despotate under command of Đurađ Branković. The battle took place during the night, under the full moon. Hunyadi and Władysław who were already through the pass left their supplies guarded by infantry and attacked Ottoman forces near the river on the eastern side of the mountain.[3] The Ottomans were defeated and many Ottoman commanders, including Mahmud Çelebi of Çandarlı family (in some earlier sources referred to as Karambeg),[6] were captured.[4]

The Ottoman defeat in the Battle of Kunovica and capture of Mahmud Bey, the Sultan's son-in-law, created the impression of an overall victorious campaign.[7] According to some sources, Skanderbeg participated in this battle on Ottoman side and deserted Ottoman forces during the conflict.[8]


Four days after this battle Christian coalition reached Prokuplje. Đurađ Branković proposed to Władysław III of Poland and John Hunyadi to stay in Serbian fortified towns during the winter and continue their campaign against Ottomans in Spring 1444. They rejected his proposal and retreated.[9] By the end of January 1444 forces of Władysław and Hunyadi reached Belgrade[10] and in February they arrived to Buda where they were greeted as heroes.[3] During 1444 ambassadors of Christian forces were sent to Adrianople and organized signing of ten-years long peace treaty known as Peace of Szeged.[11]

Contemporary Ottoman sources blame rivalry between the commanders Kasim and Turahan for the defeat at Kunovica, while some claim that the Serbian Despot Đurađ Branković bribed Turahan not to participate in the battle.[12][13][14] Turahan fell from favour as a result and was banished by the Sultan to a prison in Tokat.[15][16]

This battle is commemorated in Serbian epic song Blow, Wind (Serbian: Подухни ветре).[17]


  1. Hussey 1966, p. 383.
  2. Mijatović 1880, p. viii.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Setton, Hazard & Zacour 1990, p. 293.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Babinger 1992, p. 25.
  5. Mirčetić 1994, p. 95.
  6. Der katholische Volksfreund: Wochenschrift für häusliche Erbauung und Belehrung des katholischen Volkes. Rieger. 1855. p. 352.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Imber 2006, pp. 16, 17.
  8. Gegaj 1937, p. 120

    En 1443, une occasion allait s'offrir pour réaliser son plan. Les Turcs faisaient la guerre aux chrétiens révoltés. Une bataille s'engagea à Kunovica, près de Nich. L'armée du sultan était commandée par Karambeg, pacha de Roumélie, et Scanderbeg. Or, dès le début des engagements, l'aile confiée à Scanderbeg abandonna ses positions ; le reste de l'armée turque...)

  9. Jireček 1978, p. 367.
  10. Калић-Мијушковић 2006, p. 405.
  11. Gregory 2011, p. 389.
  12. Imber 2006, p. 51.
  13. Ćorović 2014, p. 353.
  14. Željko Fajfrić (1999). Sveta loza Brankovića. Grafosrem.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. Babinger 1987, p. 877.
  16. Imber 2006, p. 17.
  17. Gavrilović, Andra (1912). Istorija srpske i hrvatske književnosti usmenoga postanja. Izd. Knjižara G. Kona. p. 26.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>