The Alba Carolina Citadel fortification is the largest fortress in Romania, which has been standing for more than 300 years. The fortress is the place where you can travel over two millennia back in time, strolling, among vestiges of three fortifications, dating back to as many different epochs. In other words, every fortress built here has embraced a previous one: the Roman castrum, the medieval fortress and the Alba Carolina Citadel.
The foundation stone of the citadel was laid on 4 November 1715 and it is generally believed that the year of completion was 1738, although other works followed in the years to come.
The fortified assembly was configured as a premises defended by three rows of walls on a 110 hectare area. It is a star form fortification which was provided with seven bastions and six ravelins, crossed by vaulted galleries and all delimited by deep moats. The seven-star shape is given by the seven bastions, which form the „safety enclosure” of the most important and best-protected fortification. The bastions are generally counted from the 3rd gate, towards south, in a clockwise direction. The bastions have been given special names, related to the names of secular or religious patrons. Their walls are 2.5 meters thick with a height of over 10 meters. The defensive wall which binds them is called a curtain wall. The large constructions located in front of curtain walls are called ravelins. The last line of walls is called the counterguard. Built right in the heart of Transylvania, the fortified city proved to be the most imposing Baroque monument of the province.
A peculiarity of the Citadel is given by the succession of the six gates, located on an east-west axis – the Tourist Route of the Citadel Gates, linking the civic center with the Roman Plateau (located in the western area of Alba Iulia).
The imposing fortress was named Carlsburg after Emperor Charles VI, during whose time it was built.
The purpose of the citadel was that of military defence, provided by the bastion system, the type of artillery pieces it was armed with and the large number troops located inside the citadel.
The Alba Carolina Citadel has seen spectacular transformations in recent years, becoming more and more visible on Europe’s tourist map. The restoration works (co-financed by European funds) have also taken into account to valorize its exceptional cultural heritage. Now the citadel is an open air stage for cultural festivals and concerts held by famous orchestra top Romanian and foreign artists.
Read an article about Rupea Citadel, other stunning citadel in Transylvania, Romania.