Alba Carolina – Vauban Bastionary Fortress
Today, on the 2nd day of spring , we are thinking about summer and because last summer we visited the fortress of Alba Carolina, in this blog article we will present you the main attraction of this beautiful fortress.
Historical facts about Alba Carolina fortress
The construction of the Alba Carolina fortress took place between 1715-1738, shortly after the Hapsburg domination in Transylvania. The Austrians raised this fortress to defend them against the Ottomans and to consolidate their power. It has a structure of “Vauban” shaped fortification system of a star with seven corners (7 towers).
The 4th gate is located in the middle of the curtain connecting the Saint Trinity Bastion with the Saint Michael Bastion being decorated in baroque style. This gate is also known as the Bishop’s Gate or the New Gate. Nowadays, the tourist information point is located in the 4th Gate.
The Romano-Catholic cathedral was built between 1247 and 1291 and is considered one of the most valuable monuments of medieval architecture from Transylvania, being a combination of Romanic and Gothic styles, completed with renaissance and baroque elements. Its interior stands out due to the inscriptions and coats of arms belonging to the religious and laic dignitaries and to the presence of funeral monuments, such as those belonging to Iancu of Hunedoara, his brother and his elder son.
The first cathedral built after the Great Union in 1918 was the Coronation Cathedral which was constructed in 1921-1922 and is a synthesis of many Romanian architectural and traditional decorative elements. It was built for a specific purpose: to be the place of coronation of King Ferdinand and Queen Mary as kings of all Romanians and Romania reunited after World War. In 1948, the gate marked the integration of the clergy and of the Christians of the United Romanian Church under the Romanian Orthodox Church. The cathedral became a symbol of the Romanian history and culture.
In front of the Princely Palace (residence of prince Mihai Viteazul or Michael the Brave after his entrance in Alba Iulia on November the 1st 1599), the equestrian statue of Michael the Brave was symbolically raised, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Great Union from December the 1st , 1918. The 8 meters high bronze statue, made by the sculptor Oscar Han, represents the prince holding up the mace in his left hand, as a triumphant leader.
Alba Iulia City main attractions
The Princely Palace was intended to fulfill the comfort , defense and representation needs of the princely family. Initially, it was and Episcopal residence and the headquarters of a capitulary school and after the 1556 it became the residence of Transylvania’s princes. The palace was also the residence of Michael the Brave during his reign in Transylvania. The prince held two Diets in one of the palace’s rooms, during November the 20th -28th, 1599 and during July the 20th – 27th, 1600.
The Union’s Hall building was built between 1898 and 1900 and initially it was the military Casino of the Austrian army from Alba Carolina fortress. On December the 1st, 1918 the Austrian Casino building was chosen to host the Great National Assembly from Alba Iulia, which resulted in unanimously proclaiming the union of the following provinces: Transylvania, Banat, Crișana, Maramureș and Sătmar with the Kingdom of Romania. Inside the Union Hall, there are various exhibits related to the day of December the 1st, 1918.
The Batthyaneum Library, former church of the Trinitarian monks was built in 1719, Starting with 1792 the church was bought by the catholic bishop of Transylvania, Ignatiu Batthyani and it was turned into a library and an astrological observatory. Nowadays, the library has over 70000 manuscripts, documents and printings. The most important manuscript is the Codex aureus, a clerical book written with gold letters dating from the 9th century.
The Custozza monument was raised in 1906 as a tribute to the officers and soldiers of the Infantry Regiment no.50, fallen on June the 24th, 1866 during the Custozza battle, between the Austrians and the Italians. The Infantry Regiment no.50 lost 10 soldiers. The battles place and year as well as the names of the 10 fallen officers are engraved on the monument’s frontages and the name of the soldiers fallen in the battle, most of them Romanians are engraved on the three plates.
In 1937, at the initiaitive of Astra Cultural Association, a monument shaped as an obelisk was raised in front of the 3rd gate. The obelisk represents a tribute to the leaders of the 1784-1785 peasantry riot, Horea, Cloșca and Crișan.
Nowadays, the 3rd gate has become the headquarters of the guard of the gate’s itinerary and every day visitors may attend to the ceremony of changing the guard. The Hapsburg Army serving the Carolina fortress consists of over 50 soldiers, all dressed in uniforms specific of the first half of the eighteenth century.
At the end we want to truly emphasis that this city is a symbol of the Romania that we know today and the ceremony of changing the guard it’s a really nice experience and it should not be missed.
So, what are your travel plans for this summer? We strongly believe that you should not miss Romania.