NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE UNION

UNION HALL
October 23, 2017
THE PRINCIPIA MUSEUM
October 23, 2017

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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 after the 1918 Union, except that the military staff had no multiethnic origin anymore, but only Romanian.

It changed its destination only on 28 November 1968, when the National Museum of the Union was inaugurated here. The event took place in the presence of Nicolae Ceausescu, General Secretary of the Romanian Communist Party – the most important position in the state at the time.  It was fifty years since the Union of Transylvania with Romania.

It is one of the most famous museums in Romania, as heritage and scientific renown. Its collections account for about 200,000 heritage objects. The museum is the place where you can return to prehistoric times, live in the Dacian and Roman times, go through the Middle Ages and „witness” Horea’s Uprising or the World Wars. At least one hour should be allocated for a visit.

In order to pique your interest, just a few of its treasures should be recalled: a bronze age skull with a trepanation hole; the Dacian treasure from Lupu; three splendid Roman marble statuettes discovered over the last three decades – they  have been dedicated to the ancient gods Liberty Pater and Nemesis and to Hercules, respectively; a scale model of the Apulum Terme Complex – internationally rewarded and more than a hundred years old; a bas-relief depicting the mythical she-wolf suckling the twins, Romulus and Remus; the whistle, coat and snakes that belonged to Avram Iancu.

The National Museum of the Union occupies a leading place among Romanian museums, both for its permanent and temporary exhibitions (around 50 annually). The most crowded moments for a visit, but also the most spectacular, are the Night of Museums, and Romania’s National Day (1 December).

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