The Alba Carolina Citadel is the largest citadel in Romania, and it was built between 1715 and 1738 in Alba Iulia, at the center of Romania. The site on which it was built was previously home to another two fortifications, the Roman Castle of Legio XIII Gemina, and the Bălgrad Medieval Citadel.
The medieval fortress was part of a fortification system created by Prince Eugene of Savoy designed to ensure the defenses of the newly conquered provinces of the Habsburg Empire. It is one of the most representative Vauban bastion fortification in Transylvania, and it became one of the Roman Empire's main fortifications in the area.
The foundations for the city and citadel were laid out in 1711, and between 1713 and 1715 the whole land was cleared by tearing down the old city, which was moved on the Eastern side of the Fortress, and by building around the Roman castrum. Over 20,000 Romanian peasants worked on the construction of the Citadel, as well as several Italian workers and artisans. The main body of the citadel has a heptagonal shape, with a bastion being located in each corner, and the outside walls having a length of approximately 12 km. The Citadel also has a gate on each wall, but the main gate is on the Eastern side.
Aerial view of Alba Carolina Citadel, photo by viziteazaalbaiulia.ro
Today, the Alba Carolina Fortress became one of the main attractions of the Alba Iulia county, by providing a unique historical and medieval ambiance. It is very accessible from Cluj-Napoca, and you can explore it through different tours and day trips. An important feature that attracts thousands of tourists each year is the Guard Change of the Citadel. The guards are dressed in uniforms specific to the XVIII century, and they welcome the tourists at the gates of the Citadel. This ceremony began in 2009, and throughout the years it became a symbol of the Alba Carolina Citadel. The Guard Change Ceremony takes place daily during the touristic season (May - September) at 12:00, and sometimes twice a day during weekends. For a unique memory, tourists can take photos with the guards, who are dressed according to their category: infantry, cavalry, artillery, or commanders.
Guard Change Ceremony at the Alba Carolina Fortress