Alba Carolina Citadel, Transylvania, Romania
> Alba Carolina, the military headquarters of Transylvania.
> During the Middle Ages it was the residence of the Prince of Transylvania.
> It hosts the National Day of Romania celebrations.
> Two impressive cathedrals are located inside.
The impressive structure is 1 km wide and it is considered to be the largest of this kind in south-eastern Europe. The fortress was finished in 1738; along its walls, seven bastions give it a stellar shape.
After the Turks were defeated by the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1683, Transylvania comes again under Viennese administration. The citadel is called "Alba Carolina" after the Austrian Emperor's name, the one who commanded its construction. It was planned to function as the military headquarters of Transylvania.
The structure is huge, its perimeter is around 12 km, it is 1 km in diameter. 20.000 worked on the construction site. The 7 bastions give its stellar shape. The 1-20m tall walls are made of bricks or stone; some materials from an old citadel built by the Roman Empire were also used. There are 6 gates, considered to be unique in the military architecture of Europe. Some of them (I, III & VI) have been perfectly restored according to their original design.
Alba Iulia's citadel hosted both the first and the last unifications of Romanian lands, in 1600 and 1918 respectively. That is why it is called "The City of Unification" and is the official city of the Romanian National Day celebrations. It is the Royal Citadel of Romania, as the first king of Romania was crowned here, in the Reunification Cathedral in 1922. Romanians celebrate their National Day in the Citadel.
Inside the citadel
The Roman Catholic Cathedral, built in the 13th century, it is the most representative Gothic building of Transylvania. The Reunification Cathedral is the Orthodox Cathedral where the first monarch of Romania was crowned. The Batthyaneum library, famous all over the world for its ample series of manuscripts and rare books, such as the Codex Aureus (9th century), shared by by Batthyaneum and the Vatican Museum. The Princely Palace was the official residence of the Prince of Transylvania during the Middle Ages.