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Beat the hiking and mountain biking trails
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The Alba Iulia Carolina Citadel

Helpful information

⧫ From Raven’s Nest: 96 km / 2-hour car drive
The Citadel is free to visit, but the museums carry entry charges.


One of the oldest cities in the country, Alba Iulia is surrounded by the scenic Apuseni Mountains. The name of the city comes from the white walls of the old Roman castrum. Here, you can find the largest citadel in Romania, built between 1715 and 1730. Built in a baroque Vauban-star type the fortress is one of the largest of this kind in Europe.

You will be impressed by the fortification system created by Prince Eugene of Savoy designed to ensure the defenses of the newly conquered provinces of the Habsburg Empire.

Site of ancient Apullum, Alba Iulia Carolina Citadel is considered the spiritual capital of the country because this is the place where Transylvania’s unification with Romania was first signed.

The fortification has the shape of an irregular heptagon, the seven towers giving it a typical stellar image of such systems. The Trinity is the largest tower and has a crowned blazon with multiple fields and acanthus leaves. The rest of the towers are St. Stephen, Eugene of Savoy, St. Michael, St. Carol, Saint Capistrano and St. Elizabeth.


The gates are beautifully decorated. The rich sculptural decorations that can be seen at the Main Gate, for example, are the result of the work a team of stonemasons and sculptors did at the fortress yard between 1715-1738. There you can find the symbol of the Austrian Empire, the legendary founder of Rome and other statues that were depicted from the legends of the ancient wars and the Austro-Turkish war.


Each of the gates has something worthy to be noted: Gate III, the largest and most impressive of them, is decorated with intricate carvings on both facades; Gate IV is the only one of the west side gates that has Baroque style decorations; Gate V, built in a deceptively simple style, is completed by a bridge that connects the Saint Michael ravelin to the counterguard. 


Today, the Alba Carolina Fortress is one of the main attractions of the Alba Iulia county, by providing a unique historical and medieval ambiance. It is truly like a history lesson as well as a military engineering one. Inside you can also find museums, churches, and the Unification Hall that sealed the union of Transylvania with Romania in 1918. The main attractions are the Coronation Cathedral and National Union Museum.


The city of Alba Iulia and the surrounding areas offer tourists a variety of activities and places to visit. But if you’re passionate about history, you can easily spend an entire day at this charming citadel.


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