Alba Iulia is a city located on Mures River in Transylvania.
The modern city of Alba Iulia is located near the site of an important economic, political and social Dacian centre named Apulon. After Dacia became a Roman province the capital of Dacia Apulensis was established to the city whose name is today Alba Iulia. It was the largest city in Roman Dacia and nowadays it has the largest Roman fort in Romania.
The name Alba Iulia comes from the times when the Slavic called the settlement Belgrade (White Castle). Even today the city’s surname is The White Citadel. The Name Iulia comes from Romanian Prince Gelu who had his capital here.
The first Byzantine church was built around 950 and the Catholic cathedral which can be seen today in Alba Iulia was built in the 12th-13th century on the base of an older cathedral.
Alba Iulia became the capital city of the Principality of Transylvania in 1541 and so it remained until 1690. In 1599 Mihai Viteazul (Michael the Brave) achieved here for a brief period of time the union of the three main provinces of Romania: Wallachia, Transylvania and Moldavia.
The city of Alba Iulia became the symbol of the fight for justice in 1785 when the leaders of the peasant revolt Horea, Closca and Crisan were executed for treason and instigation to violence.
Alba Iulia was also named the city of unification because here on the 1st of December 1918 the province of Transylvania announced its unification with Romania. In 1922 Prince Ferdinand was crowned here King of Romania.
Nowadays it is a touristic city which offers to its tourists festivals, shows and military demonstrations in which everybody wears Dacian and Roman clothes. Gladiators fights, princesses, soldiers try to bring back beautiful times and manage to make the tourists feel like they are actually living in those ancient times.
If you come to Alba Iulia do not forget to visit maybe its most important touristic attraction is Carolina White Citadel, a fortress in Vauban style with 7 bastions, the place where every day at the Gate III the guard is changed as it was many years ago. There are many museums and other sights that you shouldn’t miss in Alba Iulia, the first capital city of the unified Romanian provinces.
Article by Andreea Andrei