Alba Iulia a city that took my attention long time ago because of its history and beauty.
Not far from Sibiu, Alba Iulia seems that it takes its name from ancient times meaning the "White City of Julius" if we refer to the Hungarian name. Still in the Roman times this beautiful city was called Apulum - Apulensis. But the old Romanian name was Balgrad (coming from the Slavic word - White Castle) and later on in Medieval times receives the name - Alba Carolina. What is probably less known is that t Alba Iulia was considered economic and social centre of Apulon, mentioned by the ancient Greek geographer Ptolemy in its writings. After Dacia came under Roman Empire rule, the capital of Dacia Apulensis was established here, and the city was known as Apulum as I said. It was the largest city in Roman Dacia and the seat of the XIII Gemina Legion. Apulum is considered the largest castrum located in Romania, occupying 37.5 ha. Coming in the actual day it has to be told that the entire Vauban Citadel was nearly completely restored.
As all the old towns were created, in Alba Iulia we are talking about The Upper City and the Lower City, too. The access from the Lower city was made through impressive gates still standing nowadays. Charles VI (1685 – 1740) who was the penultimate Habsburg sovereign of the Habsburg Empire and the one who developed the city in a star shape and known as - Karlsburg. The fortress, with seven bastions in a stellar shape, was constructed between 1716 and 1735, by two fortification architects. The first one was Giovanni Morandi Visconti, who constructed two old Italian stile bastions, followed by Nicolaus Doxat de Demoret, nicknamed "Austrian Vauban". The two architects transformed the medieval fortress shaped by the former ancient Roman settlement (castrum)into a seven-bastion baroque fortress. At that time the governor was Eugeniu de Savoya. In Romania there are few other star shape fortresses: Oradea, Arad, Satu Mare.
The end of World War I brings the representatives of the Romanian population of Transylvania and representatives of the Transylvanian Saxons together in Alba Iulia and on December 1st 1918 proclaim the Union of Transylvania with the Kingdom of Romania. In 1922, Ferdinand the First (the second king of Romania - the king of the Big Union) was symbolically crowned King of Romania in Alba Iulia. It is interesting that this event is present in the Museum of Union in five unique photos made by Samoila Marza. Because of these photos, included in an album, in 1919 was presented by the Romanian delegation at Versailles Peace Conference.
The city reminds us also that, an important ruler, Mihai Viteazu (Michael the Brave) in November 29, 1599, Voivode of Wallachia (or Dominus of Wallachia), entered Alba Iulia following his victory in the Battle of Selimbar and became Voivode of Transylvania. In 1600 he gained control of Moldavia, thereby uniting the three principalities:Wallachia, Moldavia, and Transylvania under his rule for the first time in Romanian Principalities history.
There are many more to be visited in this wonderful city that's why I invite you to have the joy of discovery.
PS Try, if possible, to be at noon in front of the Gate no 3 and on Saturday or Sunday. You won't regret it!
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