Deva’s Citadel

Deva’s fortress is one of the most important fortifications in the middle ages and one of the best touristic objectives in Hunedoara county. Due to the hill on which it is built, which now carries its name (the Fortress’ Hill), it was a strategic point of defence on Mureșului Valley which is situated between Transylvania and Banat.

From neolithic, to Salt’s Road

With a spiral architecture, a specific feature of hill fortresses, Deva’s citadel was built in the 13th century firstly dated in 1269. On the other hand, the traces of habitation in this place, where now lay a dormant volcano, are now much older. They go back to the neolithic or the bronze age, followed by Dacian fortifications, further improved by the Romans after conquering Dacia, to defend their resources because of Sării’s road that was going right near the hill. Plus, it offered a strategic point for a big part of Mureșului valley, Streiului valley, until Pădurenilor’s land.

Property of Iancu de Hunedoara

Since the invasion of migratory tribes until the 2nd half of the 13th century, there is no information about the citadel. However, in 1269, it is firstly mentioned in a paper belonging to King Ştefan, son of Bela the 4th. In 1444, Iancu de Hunedoara will claim ownership of the fortress along with all its riches: 56 villages and goldmines. According to www.cetateadeva.ro, the Corvinilor family owned the fortress and its lands until 1504. 

A refuge for Hungarian nobles during uprisings

Principele Gabriel Bethlen construiește în cetate, în a doua jumătate a secolului al XVII-lea, un bastion care servea drept închisoare şi loc de tortură, iar la baza sa, ridică un palat de locuit, în stil renascentist: Palatul Magna Curia (în latină “Curtea Mare”). Palatul adăpostește, astăzi, Muzeul Civilizației Dacice și Romane, pe care vă recomandăm să îl vizitați, odată ajunși în zona Parcului Cetății. De ce merită vizitat, vă vom spune în articolul dedicat acestuia.

În schimb, pentru a ne reîntoarce la istoria cetății, un moment important este vizita împăratului Iosif, al Imperiului Habsburgic, care a vizitat Deva de două ori. Un an mai târziu după ultima sa vizită, în 1784, avea să izbucnească răscoala condusă de Horea, Cloşca şi Crişan. În acel moment, Cetatea Devei devine loc de refugiu şi apărare pentru nobilii maghiari, care se adăpostesc aici de frica răsculaților. Cronicile vremii menționează lupte aprige între garnizoana imperială şi transilvănenii răzvrătiţi.

Rehabilitated by the emperor

În 1800 contele Mitrowsky, comandantul militar al Transilvaniei, decide că fortăreața nu mai corespunde cerinţelor militare moderne, așa că aceasta își pierde scopul militar. Ca urmare, tâmplăria cetăţii–porţile, uşile, tocurile ferestrelor– au fost demontate și scoase la licitaţie. În 1817, împăratul Francisc I şi soţia sa vizitează Transilvania și, impresionaţi de frumuseţea locului, au ordonat reconstruirea cetății și au oferit o subvenție consistentă în acest sens.

Lucrările au durat mai bine de 12 ani și au fost finalizate până la 1830. În august 1849, însă, o puternică explozie, produsă la magazia cu praf de puşcă, a ucis o parte dintre soldați, dar a și distrus cea mai mare parte din construcţie. Astăzi cetatea este restaurată, lucrările fiind realizate cu fonduri europene.

A citadel 700 years old!

Along its time, the construction included many rooms, a levelled palace, bastions, many garrisons, towers, buttresses, curtines, carriageable gates and a gunpowder stash. Just the same as Corvinilor Castle, Deva’s citadel had many stages of design, in this case, 5. Along with the extension work, there has been a plan to build a Vauban fortification system, however, that only remained a plan. From 1869, the Society of History, Archeology and Natural Sciences from the Hunedoara committee ordered the arrangement of the access paths and the hill’s forestation. In 1950, the ruins were conserved and the access was further improved.

During all its 700 years, Deva’s citadel represents an architectural evolution, placed 378 metres high on a volcanic cone. It attracts thousands of tourists, to see the splendid view of Mureșului valley, Streiului valley and so on.

Artisan Kelemen and the explosion

There are two legends tied to the citadel. One of them is heard on the Hungarian lands and is very much alike to “Artisan Manole”. The tale talks about a stonemason who was trying to build the citadel along with 12 other people. However, everything he built, would collapse right the very next day. To finish the construction, he thought the fortress needed an offering. And so they decided to sacrifice the first wife that will bring them food the next day, her ash to be placed in the plaster. It turns out that Ana, Kelemen’s wife, showed us first and was sacrificed.

The second legend talks about how the citadel was destroyed from the inside. The administrator’s wife was said to be very beautiful but just as “adventurous” as well. Upon learning this, blinded by jealousy, the administrator decides to blow up the munitions cache. Thus, the citadel was destroyed, awaiting its restoration.

How to get to Deva’s Citadel?

Today, you don’t have to put in a lot of effort to see what the citadel can offer. One is its beauty, and the other one being the beautiful view.

Cu telecabina, contra cost.

Potrivit administratorilor cetății, aceasta este singurul ascensor înclinat din România, iar din punct de vedere al lungimii traseului (278 metri) și a diferenței de nivel (158 metri) este primul din Europa.

Route no.1:

Odată ce ieși din parcul de la poalele cetății, pe lângă Palatul Magna Curia, care găzduiește Muzeul Civilizației Dacice și Romane, traversezi strada și poți observa o înșiruire de trepte. Dacă te încumeți să ajungi până în capătul lor, poți să continui urcarea, prin partea dreaptă, trecând prin tunel, spre monumentul istoric.

If climbing stairs is, perhaps, a little more difficult for some, as later, the climb is winding, through the forest; there is the possibility to go on the route where you can stop to admire the city or the Mureș Valley. As soon as you reach Gate 1 (after 15-20 minutes at most) you are in the fortress, and from there you can freely explore the historical monument.

Route no.2

The second route starts from the end of the same steps, in front of the tunnel, to the left. After passing through the forest, you reach a meadow, and then continue the road to the same Gate 1. On this route, in a maximum of 10 minutes you arrive to your destination.

Route no.3

The longest route, but perhaps the most beautiful, is the one that starts behind the Perla Restaurant, in front of which there is a parking lot, located in the same area. Following the beaten path, you will be able to enjoy the tranquility of the forest and admire the special landscape that is revealed to you. This route which also leads to Gate 1 can be completed in about 20 minutes.

Route no.4

Pe traseul cu numărul patru se poate ajunge cu autoturimsul până la Poarta 1. Însă, orice conducător auto, care decide să acceadă pe aceast rută, trebuie să știe că odată ajuns la capătul drumului, la circa 50 de metri de Poarta 1, nu există o parcare amenajată corespunzător.

Moreover, drivers have to take into account the fact that the slope is quite steep, and the road to the destination is narrow, with very few sections where two cars pass to pass each other. Thus, tourists who dare, however, to choose this option, must start on the road between the Central Park and the Sports High School and keep going straight until the forest.

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