THE 4TH GATE OF THE ALBA CAROLINA CITADEL
The 4th gate of the citadel was also named „the Bishop’s gate” or „the New Gate”. Under the form of a vaulted hall that goes through the curtain (the wall between two bastions), it ensured the exit of the soldiers from the citadel towards the training ground. It is also, according to the historical sources, the place where Horea, the main leader of the 1784 rebellion, was incarcerated during the two months of imprisonment before his execution on February 28th, 1785. Nevertheless, the room in the base of Charles the 6th’ statue from the 3rd gate is traditionally and historically incorrect considered to be „Horea’s cell”.
The 4th gate is the last of the six gates that presents a rich sculptural decoration, the 5th and the 6th gates being treated in a simpler manner. The decoration, however, is present only on the interior façade.
Like the 2nd and the 3rd, the opening is framed by two atlantes partially covered in cloaks, placed on small columns and supporting capitals highly decorated with garlands over their heads. Unlike the other atlantes, these two are presented as two bearded mature men. The stone in the middle of the arch of the gate shows us the symbolic image of the Fury/Anger. The sign of Austria dominates the central part of the gate: the crowned double headed eagle, with the symbols of power in its claws, the sword and the scepter (that were not restored). On its chest one can see a simple oval shield, with two ornament free fields. From the eagle’s tale a ram is hanging, the symbol of the Christian order of the „Golden Fleece”, whose grand master was Charles the 6th. Over the side pillars there are two cannonballs on fire.
The ensemble is adorned with rich baroque ornaments, with different motifs: masks, quivers, swords, halberds, musical instruments, etc. like the 3rd Gate, on a flag, the monogram of Charles the 6th appear, the two opposite letters „c”, that is to say the initials of „Carolus Caesar” and the Latin number „VI”. Over a helmet, on the field on the left of the opening, a fantastic animal can be seen, a gryphon, with the body of a lion, snake tail and eagle wings.
The 4th gate was inaugurated in 2007, after an elaborated restoration process. Inside the gate there are several maps and picture of the city, form different historical ages, suggestive for the evolution of Alba Iulia citadel. Along with the western side of the moats, the bridge that connects the 5th and the 6th gate or, in other words, the curtain between the Holy Trinity and Holy Michael bastions and the Saint Michael ravelin.
Scientific consultant: Tudor Roșu, PhD historian
Translation made by: Ciprian Dobra, PR 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 symbolizing Wrath. The triangular spaces with a curved long side, placed above the access way, are decorated with masks, quivers, shields, swords, spears, halberds, musical instruments.
A flag displays the monogram of the Vienna emperor under whose rule the citadel was built, Charles 6th, that is to say two opposite „C” letters, the initials of „ Carolus Caesar” and the Roman number „VI”. On the left part by the gate opening, above a helmet, a fantastic animal can be seen, some sort of a gryphon, with the body of a lion, snake tail and eagle wings. In the central part of the monument we can see the symbol of Austria – the double-headed eagle. The raptor bird has imperial crowns on its heads. In the past, the Gate had a practical role: it ensured the exit of the soldier towards the training field. The gate, a valuable monument of baroque art in Transylvania, was given back to the touristic circuit in 2007.