October 23, 2017
October 23, 2017


In his ambitions as the protector of culture, Prince Gabriel Bethlen wanted to turn Alba Iulia into a „Heidelberg of the East”. Therefore, he founded the Academic College in the heart of the citadel. It was set up in 1622 and it received the rank of academic school in 1629, providing three faculties: Theology, Philosophy and Philology. The humanistic school was attended by 40 students who received scholarship supported from the budget of the princely court in Alba Iulia. Here the youth were preparing for various secular careers and practical functions of the Principality of Transylvania.

Through its size and the prestige of the teachers who taught here, this higher education institution had a European significance, unequaled in Transylvania.

Nevertheless, the glory of the college in Alba Iulia was short-lived: the Tatar and Turkish invasions of 1658 and 1662 affected the college, which was burned and causing the institution to be moved to Aiud where currently still functions – offering just pre-university classes.

The building where the college functioned was taken over by the Austrian army at the beginning of the eighteenth century. Initially, „The Great Barracks of the Infantry” occupied the place – it could gather up to 1,000 soldiers.

The edifice still exists today at the crossroads of Unirii Street and Roman Street. The massive, ground floor and top floor building have several wings that delineate two inner courtyards with characteristic features of the late Renaissance in Transylvania.

Its military purpose is still preserved today.