Alba Carolina Fortress
When Romanians say Alba Iulia they usually think unification city, a real heart of the Great Romania. The city lies in Transylvania, on Mures river.
The Alba Carolina Fortress, with a perimeter of 12 km, is the largests and best preserved fortress in Romania.
In the old town visitors can stroll along the wide, tree-lined streets of the Habsburg citadel, one of the most impressive in Europe, to discover the historical, cultural and architectural places of interest of Alba Iulia:
– The Roman Catholic Cathedral – the oldest and most valuable monument of architecture in Transylvania
– The Batthyaneum Library
– The Orthodox Cathedral of the Reunification
– The Babilon Building – housing the National Museum of Unification
– The Union Hall the Apor Palace
– The Princely Palace
– The University of Alba Iulia
The Alba Iulia citadel, designed by Italian architect Giovanni Morando Visconti, was built between 1716 and 1735, using the Vauban military architectural system—the largest of this kind in Southeastern Europe. The fortress is outstanding both for its architectural elements and for the beauty of its six gates, unique in European military structures. Doubtless the artists, sculptors Johann Koning, Johan Vischer and Giuseppe Tencalla, had been inspired by ancient mythology. The gates, valuable samples of early baroque style, have served as a model for 18th century Transylvanian architecture.
The Princely Palace, built in the 16th century, was Prince Mihai Viteazul’s residence during the first political unification of Romanians in the 1600s. Following Ottoman and Tatar invasions the palace was destroyed. During the rule of princes Gábor Bethlen and George II Rakoczi the palace was restored but not to its previous condition. From 1700 on, the building was used as military barracks. Opposite the palace is the Union Hall (Sala Unirii), where the unification act between Romania’s other historical provinces and Transylvania was signed during the Great Assembly of December 1st 1918.
Located near the western entrance of the citadel, the impressive Orthodox Cathedral was built between 1921 and 1923 to celebrate Transylvania’s reunification with Romania. The first monarchs of unified Romania, King Ferdinand I and Queen Marie were crowned there on 15 October 1922.
The Catholic Cathedral, built in the 13th century on the site of a Romanesque church destroyed during the Tartar invasion of 1241, features one of the most impressive early Renaissance interiors in Transylvania. The light coming in from the Gothic windows helps create inside an ethereal atmosphere. The tomb of Prince Iancu de Hunedoara (c.1400 – 1456) is located in here, as well as that of Polish-born Isabella Jagie??o (1519 – 1559), former Queen of Hungary.
Alba Iulia is a beautiful European city which is worth visiting, with tourists spending their time in a pleasant, and memorable way.