THE 3RD GATE OF THE ALBA CAROLINA CITADEL
Also named in the past „The Charles Upper Gate”, it is the most impressive according to its dimensions and ornaments, presenting itself as a double arch of triumph, and it ensures the entrance into the actual citadel.
In its upper side the equestrian statue of emperor Charles the 6th is presented, the one during whose reign the citadel was built. Charles is passing triumphantly over naked and castrated Turks (the maximum humiliation for an Ottoman soldier). In 1716-1718, Charles the 6th led a victorious war against the Ottoman Empire, after which Austria expanded all the way to the river Danube, occupying, amongst others, the Timisoara Banat and Oltenia. The emperor is represented in a hybrid armor, a mixture between a Roman emperor’s equipment and the baroque fashion. The bird visible in his helmet is a license of the restoration team which interpreted in such way the rich panache that used to adorn the helmet in the past. The emperor appears triumphant, sober, dominant, and his horse is carved in a warrior-like attitude.
Under the statue of Charles the 6th there is a pyramid shaped base, with a 3 by 3 room on the inside named „Horea’s cell” since 1937, when the nearby obelisk was inaugurated. In reality, according to the historical sources, Horea was incarcerated in the 4th Gate. The same sources mention that Closca was incarcerated in the 3rd gate, without any mentioning of the exact cell or space.
Other statuary groups present defeated Turks. Right under the pyramid shaped base the sign of Austria appears, the double headed eagle with the sign of Transylvania on its chest. On this shield, one can see the eagle with the spread wings, or the „tur”, the symbol of the Hungarian, flanked by the sun and the moon, the symbol of the Szekely ethnic population in Transylvania, and the seven towers, placed into the lower field, the symbol of the Transylvanian Saxon ethnic population.
In the above mentioned war, from 1716 to 1718, the Habsburg troops were under the command of the famous prince Eugene of Savoy, who gained important victories in Petrovaradin and Belgrade. Eugene of Savoy is represented in the two bas-reliefs over the lateral entrances. These are only partially renovated because their shapes were very destroyed over time thus making their restoring impossible. On the bas-relief on the right, the prince receives the sword and the cross from Charles the 6th while above them, an angel spreads a scarf on which it is written „In hoc signo vinces” (By this sign you will triumph), thus sending the thought to the famous vision of the cross experimented by emperor Constantine the Great before the battle of Milvian Bridge, in 312. On the bas-relief on the left, Eugene of savoy is returning triumphant in a carriage pulled by two lions, and receiving the model of the Alba Iulia citadel from a woman (personifying the victorious Austria), while the winged Victoria is placing a laurel crown on the head of the prince.
The aspect of the gate’s facades is enriched by various bas-reliefs placed in metopes and other types of fields (representing shields, rifles, axes, halberds, helmets, cannons, trumpets, drumps, bagpipes, standards, horsemen, fantastic animals and so on).
On the interior façade, the figurative plasticity is more abundant, even exceptional. In the upper case there are four statues of the classic virtues: Moderation (Temperantia), Wisdom (Prudentia), Justice (Iustitia) and Courage (Fortitudo). The virtues keep or used to keep their own symbols: the spilled horn of abundance, the model of a temple, the pair of scales, and finally the lance, and they are also accompanied by fantastic animals.
The frame of the openings are realized by means of four atlantes supporting capitals decorated with exotic fruits and vegetal garlands. They have partially uncovered vigorous bodies, with tensed muscles. The ones on the sides are young and the ones placed on the flanks of the central opening are represented as mature bearded men.
The area above the central opening, two putti (angels/cupids) present a shield with the monogram of Charles the 6th, crowned with a laurel crown and with two letters „C” placed in opposition and which is the short from of the Caesar title of the emperor: „Carolus Caesar”.
In the same manner as on the exterior façade, two bas-reliefs decorate the spaces above the secondary entrances. Actually they are exceptionally alto-reliefs (with shapes exiting well over the composition plan). They both show terrible battles against the Turks. The one on the left presents a cavalry attack and the one on the right an infantry attack, but without mentioning which battles were actually represented. Also, the equipment of the soldiers are allegorically represented, with ancient elements which were not specific to the 18th century. Right under the bas-reliefs there are some heraldry signs. The one on the left was identified as belonging to the count of Steinville, the commander of the imperial troops in Transylvania, and the one o the right contains the well-known Milanese symbol „biscione” with a snake that swallows a man. It is the symbol of the Visconti family, whose member was the first architect of the citadel, Giovanni Morando Visconti.
After an elaborated restoration process, the gate was re-inaugurated and restored for the touristic circuit in 2008. The mobile bridge in front of the gate was also restored.
Charles the 6th (1685-1740, emperor between 1711 and 1740)- although under his reign the Roman-German Empire conquered territories from the Turks, the plus that his reign brought to the empire is questionable.
His complete title was: Charles, by God’s grace chosen Emperor of the Holy Roman-German empire, always Augustus, king in Germany, Castilia, Aragon, Leon, Sicily, Jerusalem, Hungary, Bohemia, Dalmatia, Croatia, Slavonia, Rama, Serbia, Galitia, Lodomeria, Cumania, Bulgaria, Navarra, Grenada, Toledo, Valencia, Galicia, Mallorca, Sevilla, Cordoba, Corsica, Murcia, Jaen, Algarve, Algeciras, Gibraltar, Canary Islands, islands and shores of India, Archduke of Austria, Duke of Burgundy, Brabant, Milano, Stiria, Carinthia, Carniola, Limburg, Gelderland, Würtemberg, Upper and Lower Silezia, Calabria, Athens and Lepantho, Prince of Suebia, Catalunia, Asturia, Marquis of the Holy Roman Empire, of Burgovia, Moravia, Upper and Lower Lusetia, Count of Habsburg, Flandra, Tirol, Ferrete, Kyburg, Goritia, Artesia, Count of Alsacia, Lord of Oristani, Count of Gziano, Namur, Roussillon, Ceretania, Lord of Slavonia Mark, Port Naone, Biscaya, Molina, Saline, Tripoli and Mecehelen, etc.
The best known variant for the cause of his death was the consumption of some poisonous mushrooms (the viper mushroom).
He is the author of the Pragmatic Sanction, work that abolished the succesion to the throne on masculine line. His succesor to the imperial throne was his even more famous daughter Maria Theresa.
Scientific consultant: Tudor Roșu, PhD historian
Translation made by: Ciprian Dobra, PR 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 mounted emperor Charles 6th is visible, the one under whose rule the citadel was built. The emperor appears triumphant, sober, dominant, and his horse was carved in a warrior frenzy manner, stepping over Turkish militaries. The gate has three entrances: one for vehicles and two smaller ones for pedestrians.
Two panels placed above the pedestrian entrances come into notice, both having as a main character the famous Prince Eugene of Savoy. On the right bas-relief, he receives the sword and the cross in order to go to war against the Turks. On the panel on the other side, the military commander is represented in a carriage, some sort of cart on two wheels, pulled by two lions, while receiving the model of the Alba Iulia citadel from a woman who personifies the victorious Austria.
The spaces on the upper case above the entrances are decorated with weapons and different ancient military equipment.
The central part of the eastern façade is dominated by Austria’s emblem – the double-headed eagle having on its chest Transylvania’s emblem.
Exceptional! Is the word that best describes the baroque decoration on the western façade of the Gate. The four statues from above the gate represent the four classic virtues: Moderation, Wisdom, Justice and Courage. The openings of the gate are enclosed by four statues for which the technical term is „atlants”. By the lateral openings two young men are represented and the ones flanking the central opening appear as bearded mature men. The two angels above the central opening present a shield with the monogram of Charles VI: a laurel crown having inside two opposite „C” letters that is the symbol for the emperor as a Caesar, the descendant of the Roman Emperors –„Carolus Caesar”. The monument, alongside the other gates of the citadel influenced the evolution of the baroque sculpture in Transylvania.
The monument is also known as „The Gate of Horea”. Popular tradition considers that in the small room from the base of Charles 6th’s statue was the place for the incarceration of Horea, the leader of the upraised peasants in 1784.
The 3rd gate was given back to the tourist circuit in 2008, after an elaborated restoration process.