October 23, 2017
October 24, 2017


The Transylvanian Franciscans, a group of the Catholic monastic order of the same name, arrived in Alba Iulia in 1691 and settled in the so-called „Lower Town”. This period overlapped with the Habsburgs taking over Transylvania and when Catholicism was restored in the region.

In 1725, the Franciscans were allocated a swampy area in the Heiuş and German city (today Maieri) neighbourhoods to raise a house of prayer.

Constructed between 1752 and 1770, the Franciscan Church was renovated several times due to repeated overflows from the Mures River and a fire. The latter is mentioned on the frontispiece of the church, where a Latin inscription describes how the edifice was „restored from the ashes” during recovery works, which took place in 1843 and were commissioned by Bishop Nicholas Kovacs.

Shortly afterwards, during the Revolution of 1849 and a siege on the citadel, the site suffered destruction again.

The church acquired the status of a parish only towards the end of the nineteenth century, when the number of Catholics increased in the Lower City. While it was dedicated to the „Most Holy Heart of Jesus” in 1913, the church continues to be referred to by its old name, Saint Sebastian, on occasion.

This place of worship is also unique in light of its unorthodox design. The dimensions of the church narthex, nave and altar are distinctly smaller than its bell tower – a rare design feature.