Historically, Ujhely (Sátoraljaújhely) was belonged to the county of Zemplin. Documents in its archives show that in 1734 Jews were living at Sátoraljaújhely and that they were allowed to acquire real estate. It is evident that the community was then increasing; for 10 years later the Jews possessed a school which in 1829 received a bequest of 260,000 gulden from Martin Raphael Kästenbaum, and which was thenceforth known by his name.
The oldest tombstone bears date of 1760, although the ḥebra ḳaddisha, with which was connected to a hospital, was not established until 1772, its founder being an itinerant rabbi named Naphtali Hirsch. The first ḥebrabook has a drawing on its title-page representing the last rites.
Sátor-alja (meaning “under the tent”, referring to the tent-shaped hill nearby) was a settlement from the Conquest of Hungary until the Tatars destroyed the town. It was rebuilt in the 13th century, although there was disagreement among the citizens concerning the name: some wanted to keep the original name, and some wanted to rename it új hely (“new place”).
Sátoraljaújhely was granted town status in 1261 by King Stephen V, and a castle was also built around that time.
Sátoraljaújhely has often has played an important role in the region’s history: revolts against Habsburg rule began there in the 17th and 18th centuries. After the Revolution of 1848, Sátoraljaújhely developed rapidly owing to its location close to important trade routes leading to Poland, Russia, and Transylvania. The town’s light industry led to it becoming the capital of the comitatus(county) of Zemplén in the 17th century.
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