Historical Monuments

October 23, 2017

GISELLA PALACE

Scientific consultant: Tudor Roșu, PhD historian Script editor: Nicolae Neag, PR expert Translation made by: Cristina Ioana Cofaru, local expert.

Built in 1905, the Gisella Palace was the first two-stories building in the Lower Town. Located in the central square of the city, the palace was the tallest central building with its three levels and the tower. The building was owned by the Glück family, Jewish and one of the richest in the city. The Gisella Palace also distinguished by its main façades which faced both sides of the city's square, where celebrations and fairs were organized in the early 1900's. The edifice is nowadays the most impressive private building still standing since the city center scenery of the early twentieth century. After 1965, the building became the headquarters of the People's Council of the Alba Coun [...]
October 23, 2017

ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE „ASSUMPTION”- LIPOVENI

Scientific consultant: Tudor Roșu, PhD historian Script editor: Nicolae Neag, PR expert Translation made by: Cristina Ioana Cofaru, local expert.

The northern district of the XVIII century city centre is named Lipoveni. In the first decades of this century, the Assumption Church was erected here. The years 1690-1691 are inscribed above the entrance into the church, but the inscription is considered unlikely by historians. The place of worship is not listed among a detailed map of the city from 1711. It only appears in the cartographic representations from 1752. The main contributor to the edifice was Ioan Dragoş de Thurna, an interesting character ennobled by Empress Maria Theresa in 1742. His name and coat of arms are engraved on two silver votive candles from 1736 and 1766 respectively. Several rebuilds have transformed the Chu [...]
October 23, 2017

WOODEN CHURCH OF THE RESURRECTION

Scientific consultant: Tudor Roșu, PhD historian Script editor: Nicolae Neag, PR expert Translation made by: Cristina Ioana Cofaru, local expert.

The church has had two distinct phases: a historical one dating back to the first centuries of its existence and a modern one linked to its relocation and refurbishment. The church is believed to have been built in 1769 in the village of Brăzești, which currently belongs to the city of Baia de Arieş. The place of worship was moved to the current site, in the Cetate district of Alba Iulia, in 1991. Zamfira Constantinescu, the abbot of the Prislop Monastery, was the main contributor to the church's displacement. The painting was made by Sister Viorica Creţu from the same monastery, who apprenticed to Father Arsenie Boca, called „the Saint of Ardeal” (or Transylvania). The first ser [...]
October 23, 2017

NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE UNION

Scientific consultant: Tudor Roșu, PhD historian Script editor: Nicolae Neag, PR expert Translation made by: Cristina Ioana Cofaru, local expert.

The National Museum of the Union is hosted by the largest Romantic-style edifice in Alba Iulia which was built between 1851 and 1853. The building used to have a well-defined purpose: to host the Habsburg army in the citadel. Its tenants were recruited from all-over the Habsburg Empire and it is said that all the languages on earth were spoken in this officers’ pavilion; therefore locals called the building – and for good reason - the „Babylon” building. With its more than one meter high thick walls and with its over 100 rooms, the building has the appearance of a fortress. The safety of its tenants was most likely taken into account as well. The „Babylon” would serve the army [...]
October 23, 2017

UNION HALL

Scientific consultant: Tudor Roșu, PhD historian Script editor: Nicolae Neag, PR expert Translation made by: Cristina Ioana Cofaru, local expert.

The Union Hall is one of the most important buildings in Romania. It is the place where the union of Transylvania with Romania was concluded in 1918. It is no exaggeration to say that this is a place of remarkable symbolic value, pilgrimage and introspection. Are you wondering why the meeting of the Great National Assembly was held precisely here? Because this was the most spacious building in Alba Iulia at that time and the only one that could house 1,228 Romanian delegates on December 1st, 1918. They represented the entirety of Transylvania, geographically, socially, professionally, religiously and politically. The central moment of the meeting was the reading of the „Union Resolution [...]
October 23, 2017

CORONATION CATHEDRAL

Scientific consultant: Tudor Roșu, PhD historian Script editor: Nicolae Neag, PR expert Translation made by: Cristina Ioana Cofaru, local expert.

The Coronation Cathedral is the first important religious site built in Transylvania after the 1918 Union. The Orthodox Place of Worship was erected specifically for the coronation of the King Ferdinand and Queen Maria, as monarchs of united Romania, on 15 October 1922. The foundation stone of the cathedral was laid on 28 March 1921 and the construction works lasted about 9 months. From an architectural perspective, the cathedral was built in the Neo-Brâncovenesc style - the national architectural trend promoted during the debut decades of the twentieth century. Both the 52-meter-high bell tower and the tower of the Catholic Cathedral dominate the city view seen from afar The Orthodox be [...]
October 24, 2017

„SAINT NICHOLAS” WOODEN CHURCH

Scientific consultant: Tudor Roșu, PhD historian Script editor: Nicolae Neag, PR expert Translation made by: Cristina Ioana Cofaru, local expert.

The story of the wooden church began in the village of Acmar (in Blandian) in 1768. However, when a brick wall church was built in the village, the wooden one was abandoned. After 20 years of abandonment, the church was recovered on Emilian Birdaş’s initiative (Orthodox Bishop of Alba Iulia) when the edifice was moved to the current site of Valea Popii area in 1994. It is a ship-shaped oak beam construction with its base laid on a small stone foundation. An open porch supported by 12 wooden pillars is built along its whole length of the southern side. The entrance to the church - a massive oak door – is also here. The altar and the nave of the church bear three and four windows res [...]
October 23, 2017

FORMER PREFECTURE

Scientific consultant: Tudor Roșu, PhD historian Script editor: Nicolae Neag, PR expert Translation made by: Cristina Ioana Cofaru, local expert.

The building was constructed in the North-eastern corner of the Citadel over the structure of some older noble houses from the 16th century. The edifice overlaps one of the four sides of the former Roman Castrum in Apulum which had the same alignment as the medieval citadel. Over time, the building used to have both civil and military purposes. The names under the edifice used to be known are in connection to the functionalities it used to have or the personalities it used to shelter. It was the House of the Saxon Thrones when Alba Iulia was the capital of the Transylvania principate. Like other buildings inside the citadel it was transformed so to reflect the political importance of the [...]
October 23, 2017

MILITARY ENGINEER GARRISON

Scientific consultant: Tudor Roșu, PhD historian Script editor: Nicolae Neag, PR expert Translation made by: Cristina Ioana Cofaru, local expert.

The military engineer garrison was built between 1897 and 1898. The military unit received the name of the Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph. The edifice was built on the entire eastern side of the citadel square on the site of a former monastery and church. When new buildings emerged independently on the four sides of the garrison, an ample inner courtyard was shaped. During World War I, a large Austro-Hungarian military storehouse functioned there. In the autumn of 1918, the barracks were one of the first and most important military units in the Alba Iulia Citadel taken over by Romanian soldiers. The building became the headquarters of the National Guard, also known as the „Alba Iulia Le [...]
October 23, 2017

„DESCENT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT” ORTHODOX CHURCH

Scientific consultant: Tudor Roșu, PhD historian Script editor: Nicolae Neag, PR expert Translation made by: Cristina Ioana Cofaru, local expert.

It is the most spacious place of worship in Alba Iulia. Its construction, interior painting and rood screen have been achieved over a fairly long time (16-years). The consecration of the church took place on June 11, 2006, on Whitsun, that is, precisely at the event of its patronage, namely the „Descent of the Holy Spirit”. Located at the western end of the Roman Plateau and the city, the Church is located opposite the Coronation Cathedral. It was also the reason why the church has the west-facing altar, a particular case in the Orthodox edifice system. The architecture of the church is of a Neo-Byzantine type - a Greek cross shape, with two symmetrical bell towers at the entrance an [...]
October 23, 2017

„SAINT MICHAEL” ROMAN-CATHOLIC CATHEDRAL

Scientific consultant: Tudor Roșu, PhD historian Script editor: Nicolae Neag, PR expert Translation made by: Cristina Ioana Cofaru, local expert.

Built 800 years ago, the Roman Catholic Cathedral is the oldest cathedral in Transylvania. It has also the oldest and tallest building both in Alba Iulia and the Alba County for centuries. Its 56.7 meter tower dominates the city skyline seen from afar. The cathedral is considered to be the third religious building on the same site. It is built out of stone blocks from the walls of the Roman camp at Apulum. The works started at the beginning of the thirteenth century. From an architectural perspective, the edifice encompasses all styles used between the tenth and thirteenth centuries: Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque. The Romanesque is the most prominent. Started in this period, [...]
October 23, 2017

ARCHBISHOP’S PALACE

Scientific consultant: Tudor Roșu, PhD historian Script editor: Nicolae Neag, PR expert Translation made by: Cristina Ioana Cofaru, local expert.

The Roman-Catholic Archbishop’s Palace is located in the south-western corner of the citadel, in the immediate vicinity of the Roman Catholic Cathedral. The history of the palace is closely linked to that of the prestigious institution that has been established here for centuries: The Roman Catholic Diocese of Alba Iulia which became the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Alba Iulia in 1991. It’s difficult to mark the earliest times of the palace. The first documentary reference that remind of the Palace's existence dates back to 1287. The edifice, the bishop's residence, was built at the same time with the cathedral in the immediate vicinity. All buildings on the southern side of the cita [...]
October 23, 2017

RUINS OF THE TENTH CENTURY CHURCH

Scientific consultant: Tudor Roșu, PhD historian Script editor: Nicolae Neag, PR expert Translation made by: Cristina Ioana Cofaru, local expert.

In 2011, during rehabilitation works of the fortress, a random discovery determined the archaeological research of the green area in front of the Roman Catholic Archbishop's Palace. Excavations have highlighted the vestiges of a church. The church's dimensions are 20 meters on the east-west axis and 12 meters on the north-south axis, with a wall thickness of 1.2 meters. Experts believe that the church functioned between about 950-1050. From an architectural point of view, the church had a kind of a provincial Byzantine plan „in Greek inscribed cross”, characterized by a square central room framed by four pillars that could support a dome. The place ceased to exist when the first cath [...]
October 23, 2017

FORMER STOREHOUSE

Scientific consultant: Tudor Roșu, PhD historian Script editor: Nicolae Neag, PR expert Translation made by: Cristina Ioana Cofaru, local expert.

The takeover of Transylvania by the Austrians in the late 17th century signified the start of a new era for Alba Iulia. When Viennese authorities decided to build the Alba Carolina Fortress, the city turned into a large garrison. One unit of the imperial army in the citadel was the storehouse whose main duty was to procure flour and provide bread for the soldiers from the citadel; and, secondly, to serve as a warehouse for supplies. Located on the eastern side of the citadel, the building where the storehouse was built was a massive one, quadrilateral in shape, with an inner courtyard. The southern wall of the storehouse is built right over the wall of the Roman castrum, which was used a [...]
October 23, 2017

FORMER WAR COMMISSARIAT

Scientific consultant: Tudor Roșu, PhD historian Script editor: Nicolae Neag, PR expert Translation made by: Cristina Ioana Cofaru, local expert.

The War Commissariat represented an important structure within the Austrian garrison in the Alba Carolina Fortress. Its main duties were military, economic and social: from soldier recruitment to construction and maintenance issues to supply, accounting, and healthcare purposes. The Commissariat building was one of the first projects bearing the signature of the first architect of the Bastion Fortress (eighteenth century), the Italian Giovanni Morando Visconti. Square-shaped and massive, the edifice is typically military of a commanding appearance. Its window openings - probably built at a stage subsequent to the first construction phase - contain stylish stone frames that were specific t [...]
October 23, 2017

THE 1ST GATE OF THE ALBA CAROLINA CITADEL

Scientific consultant: Tudor Roșu, PhD historian Script editor: Nicolae Neag, PR expert Translation made by: Cristina Ioana Cofaru, local expert.

The 1st Gate of the Alba Carolina Citadel stands proudly at the base of the terrace on which this grand fortification was built. Carved out of stone in the shape of a triumphal arch, it is the first access point to the citadel from the East. The gate also provides an insightful history lesson, particularly with regards to Rome and its legacy, which were claimed by the Habsburg Empire. The monument carries rich sculptural ornamental work, with scenes carved in relief depicting mythical characters, such as: Aeneas, the legendary founder of Rome; Perseus, the most important hero until Hercules; and, Antaeus, the giant whom Hercules wrestled and killed. A bicephalous eagle boasts prime [...]
October 23, 2017

THE 2ND GATE OF THE ALBA CAROLINA CITADEL

Scientific consultant: Tudor Roșu, PhD historian Script editor: Nicolae Neag, PR expert Translation made by: Cristina Ioana Cofaru, local expert.

The story of the 2nd gate of the Alba Iulia Citadel had some troubled episodes. The monument began to be counted among the gates of the fortification only after 1935, when it was demolished to allow the construction of the nearby „Horea, Closca and Crisan” Obelisk. The present form of the gate is the result of a restoration project finished in 2009. Until then, only the lateral pillars and some hinges reminded the passer-by about the monument. In the new structure, on the central pillars the original atlantes were placed, being brought back from the National Union Museum where they guarded the entrance until then. We are speaking about two statues realized in a specific baroque antit [...]
October 23, 2017

THE 3RD GATE OF THE ALBA CAROLINA CITADEL

Scientific consultant: Tudor Roșu, PhD historian Script editor: Nicolae Neag, PR expert Translation made by: Cristina Ioana Cofaru, local expert.

Located on the eastern side of the Alba Carolina Citadel, the 3rd gate is the main access point into the actual fortification. The gate is placed right in the middle of the part of the wall that links two of the Citadel bastions – Saint Eugene and saint Capistrano, the latter also being known as the Transylvania bastion. The monument, shaped as a double triumphal arch is remarkable both by its dimensions and the richness of its decoration. The monumental feature of the gate is also given by its pillars that consolidate it but, in the same time, they give the gate a special ornamental aspect. The technical term for the pillars is „pilasters”. In the upper case the statue of the mou [...]
October 23, 2017

THE 4TH GATE OF THE ALBA CAROLINA CITADEL

Scientific consultant: Tudor Roșu, PhD historian Script editor: Nicolae Neag, PR expert Translation made by: Cristina Ioana Cofaru, local expert.

„The Bishop’s Gate” and „ The New Gate” are the names under which the 4th gate of the Alba Iulia Citadel was known in the past. The monument has the shape of a vaulted corridor that pierces the wall between two of the citadel’s bastions: the Trinitarians and Saint Michael, and it is placed on the western end of the main road that crosses the citadel. It is the only richly decorated gate from the three on the western side of the fortification. The opening of the gate is limited by two statues technically named „atlants”, representing two mature bearded men, wrapped in cloaks that partially cover their nakedness. The median quoin of the gate’s arch presents a mask symbol [...]
October 23, 2017

THE 5TH GATE OF THE ALBA CAROLINA CITADEL

Scientific consultant: Tudor Roșu, PhD historian Script editor: Nicolae Neag, PR expert Translation made by: Cristina Ioana Cofaru, local expert.

The 5th gate of the Citadel is one of the secondary entries placed on the western side of the fortification. In the 18th and 19th centuries it had a utilitarian purpose: it ensured the exit of the soldiers towards the training field placed in the present Roman’s Plateau area. The architecture of the gate is a simple one. The monument is shaped as a 15 meters long vaulted tunnel that ensured the link between Saint Michael ravelin and the third line of defence of the fortification, named counterguard. Through here entered the king Ferdinand and the Queen Maria in 1919 when the sovereigns of Romania visited the city of the Great Union. Shortly after that, when the Crowning Cathedral was b [...]
October 24, 2017

THE 6TH GATE OF THE ALBA CAROLINA CITADEL

Scientific consultant: Tudor Roșu, PhD historian Script editor: Nicolae Neag, PR expert Translation made by: Cristina Ioana Cofaru, local expert.

It is the gate through which the king Ferdinand and the queen Maria entered when they visited Alba Iulia for the first time in 1919. Through here they entered again in 1922 when they were crowned as sovereigns of the Great Romania. The 6th gate is located on the western side of the Alba Carolina Citadel, on what is the third line of defence for the fortification, on the counterguard. The monument is a small one, being composed of two massive pillars made from overlapped stones, without any decoration elements, and linked to the brick wall. The restaurateurs placed two unexploded stone cannonballs on top of these pillars. The pillars are the limits of a vehicle access way through which, b [...]
October 24, 2017

THE 7TH GATE OF THE ALBA CAROLINA CITADEL

Scientific consultant: Tudor Roșu, PhD historian Script editor: Nicolae Neag, PR expert Translation made by: Cristina Ioana Cofaru, local expert.

The 7th gate is located on the northern side of the Alba Carolina Citadel, on the third line of the fortified defence, technically named „counterguard”. It was discovered during the ample reconstruction works for the Citadel, after being out of use for almost 300 years. The idea of the utility of this gate was abandoned since before the fortification was finished, so the opening was covered by a brick wall. It was probably considered that the existence of the gate would rather harden the defence of the main body of the citadel instead of easing it in case of an attack from the northern side. Before 1717, the gate was the exit way of the Austrian troops outside the walls, on the north [...]
October 24, 2017

TRANSYLVANIA’S BASTION

Scientific consultant: Tudor Roșu, PhD historian Script editor: Nicolae Neag, PR expert Translation made by: Cristina Ioana Cofaru, local expert.

There are seven of them and they give the Alba Carolina Citadel its seven-pointed star shape. We are talking about the bastions of the Citadel which form in the central area „the safe precinct” of the fortification, the most important and the best protected. Built on the eastern side of the fortification, the St. Capistrano bastion was named by the Austrians after Giovanni da Capistrano, an Italian Franciscan monk with a rich religious activity, sanctified after 1690. The walls of the bastion are built in brick and filled with earth, having a 2,5 meters thick base, and for the filling the builders used stone taken from the Apulum Roman castrum walls. It has a triangular shape with th [...]
October 23, 2017

„MICHAEL THE BRAVE” MEMORIAL CHURCH

Scientific consultant: Tudor Roșu, PhD historian Script editor: Nicolae Neag, PR expert Translation made by: Cristina Ioana Cofaru, local expert.

The Memorial Church of „Michael the Brave” stands in the proximate site of the old Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral founded in 1597 by Michael the Brave. In the seventeenth century, the Metropolitan Complex housed an older church and a printing house alongside the cathedral. Alba Iulia was the capital of Orthodoxy in Transylvania at the time. The glory of the Orthodox Metropolitan Church in Alba Iulia was short-lived. The complex was demolished in 1715 when works for the great bastion fortress started. The construction of the current church, which is reminiscent of the Metropolitan Church of Transylvania, began in 1988. It was located as close as possible to the original cathedral of [...]
October 23, 2017

VELICAN HOUSE

Scientific consultant: Tudor Roșu, PhD historian Script editor: Nicolae Neag, PR expert Translation made by: Cristina Ioana Cofaru, local expert.

Located in the central area of Alba Iulia, the Velican House embraced Romania’s history before 1 December 1918 and in the period that followed. One of the reasons for choosing the building as a meeting place for Transylvania’s lead politicians was that the Velican family used to have old connections with prominent fighters for the cause of the Union of Transylvania with Romania. The building was also comfortable. Camil Velican was one of the key organizers of the Great National Assembly of Alba Iulia which decided the unification of Transylvania with Romania. Representatives of the Transylvanian Romanians used to meet in his home both before and after 1 December 1918. On 2 December, f [...]
October 23, 2017

THE CITADEL’S SQUARE

Scientific consultant: Tudor Roșu, PhD historian Script editor: Nicolae Neag, PR expert Translation made by: Cristina Ioana Cofaru, local expert.

It is the place in the heart of the Citadel where thousands of people of every age meet every year in order to enjoy concerts full of rhythm. Here, artists from Romania and abroad demonstrate that music is best to be heard in the Citadel Square. If you come here for a concert or simply stop for socializing or to take pictures, you must know that this area had a special importance since the Roman times. As an argument, we can tell you that here was the headquarters of the 13th Legion Gemina, the only legion that remained in Dacia for the entire period of Roman domination. The traces of the „Principia” are visible inside the Roman Museum with the same name, located on the northern side o [...]
October 23, 2017

DRUMMER’S SQUARE

Scientific consultant: Tudor Roșu, PhD historian Script editor: Nicolae Neag, PR expert Translation made by: Cristina Ioana Cofaru, local expert.

The name of the square is given by the statue placed in the middle of it, representing a drummer dressed in the 18th-century uniform. It is the place where you can walk, ride a bicycle or rollerskate. „The square” is actually the space between two of the Alba Carolina Citadel’s bastions on the northern side of the fortification: Saint Elisabeth and Saint Charles. The fortification element placed in front of them, towards the north, is called ravelin and it is also called Elisabeth. The name of the Saint Charles bastion is referring to the emperor Charles 6th, under whose rule the Citadel was built. Even more, the monogram of the Austrian emperor, flanked by two bizarre animals, [...]
October 23, 2017

THE MINT’S GATE

Scientific consultant: Tudor Roșu, PhD historian Script editor: Nicolae Neag, PR expert Translation made by: Cristina Ioana Cofaru, local expert.

There have been two mints in the Alba Iulia Citadel: the „old” mint and the „new”. The old mint operated at the time when Alba Iulia was the capital of the Principality of Transylvania, a title which endured for nearly 150 years. The first issue of coins, which displayed the city’s logo, dates back to the early 1600s, the time of Prince Gabriel Báthory. The old mint reached its peak during the reign of his successor, Prince Gabriel Bethlen, who issued a significant amount of coins, including gold pieces. When the Austrians took over Transylvania, the mint became property of the Habsburg Empire. The now „New Mint” was located on the southern side of the Bastion Fortress, b [...]
October 23, 2017

FORMER HUNGARIA HOTEL

Scientific consultant: Tudor Roșu, PhD historian Script editor: Nicolae Neag, PR expert Translation made by: Cristina Ioana Cofaru, local expert.

Inaugurated in 1887, the Hungaria Hotel was the most impressive building in the so-called „Lower Town” at that time. Its position was central on the western side of the City Square. The establishment hosted numerous political and cultural events. On 30 November 1918, it embraced Romania's history when the articles of the Union Resolution were negotiated and settled in the hotel restaurant, creating the fundamental act of  the Union of Transylvania with Romania. The act was officially put to vote and agreed upon the next day in the current Union Hall. Following the Union of 1918, the hotel was named „Dacia”. This changed to „Apulum” in 1968. In the first half of the 20th cent [...]
October 23, 2017

THE MONUMENT IN „DEALUL FURCILOR”

Scientific consultant: Tudor Roșu, PhD historian Script editor: Nicolae Neag, PR expert Translation made by: Cristina Ioana Cofaru, local expert.

The decision to build this monument was taken in 1926, the year carved on its marble base. The small obelisk recalls the execution of Horea and Cloşca, which occurred in Alba Iulia on 28 February 1785. The placement of the monument in the Dealul Furcilor area was not a coincidence. Its location was thought to be the place of execution for the leaders of the 1784-1785 Revolt. The city’s original execution site was in fact on the other side of the hill, closer to the present Partoş district. This information was not known at the time of the monument’s inauguration. The four metre obelisk has a short marble clad base, which is bordered by pillars bound by chains and metal balls. An [...]
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