marți, 25 februarie 2014

The other Romanian Capital

Next to Bucharest, for any Romanian the small town of Alba Iulia proudly stays as a historic and cultural Capital of Romania. Alba Iulia has hosted a few crucial event for the history of Romania, specially for the heroic fight of the Romanian from Transilvania for social and national freedom, as for reunification with the other Romanians from Wallachia and Moldavia.

The Fortress of Alba Iulia hosts everything you must see in this significant town

Alba Iulia waits its guests unavoidable with its communist blocks of flats and a few industrial factories. Visiting them might be a bargain, specially the porcelain factory. Going deeper inside the town and digging better is any pain worth. Namely, you must find the Fortress (Cetate), concentrating all the must do and must see in this interesting town.
The Ceremony of changing guards in Alba Iulia is an historic evocation of the Habsburgic times

Alba Iulia is also known as Gyulafehervar in Hungarian or Karlsburg in German. The Austrians build the Fortress in the XIth century in the Vauban style, on the remaining of the antic city of Apullum. During Middle Age, under Hungarian occupation it becomes the Capital of Transilvania until 1690. It grew substantially economically and culturally, reaching its peak under the authority of Gabriel Bethlen. The University of Alba Iulia was renowned in the all Europe.

A few interesting touching events of the history of Romania took place in Alba Iulia, and that's why this town is very important to any Romanian:

-the antic town of Apullum was renowned for the prowess of their Dacian inhabitants. After the Roman conquest the town kept on growing, reaching impressive 30 000 inhabitants.

-in 1784 the oppressed Romanians rose to fight for their rights under the leadership of Horea, Closca and Crisan. It should have been a sign for the Hungarians and Austrian landlords, but they totally missed and did only to catch the heads and execute them through wheel hauling, a humiliating and painful torture. The Romanian showed a lot of character and are today celebrated as heroes by any of us.

-in 1918 after WWI and dissolution of Austrian-Hungarian Empire and Monarchy, the representatives of all Romanians from this obsolete kingdom decided to unite with the rest of the country. Besides the mentioned representatives 100 000 people came here to seal for ever this decision, in Romanian national ports mostly. After that they celebrated or cried for hours, it was the peak of a long heroic fight.
The Bathyaneum Library from Alba Iulia hosts a few rare books with a fantastic value

The Museum of History from Alba Iulia is one of the best and most touching in all Romania. You can find it of course inside the fortress. Follow there all these crucial moments of the Romanian history and discover others too. Every Romanian is overwhelmed stepping there, please try to understand, accept and respect it, even if you can't feel the same.

Observe the fantastic guards change where the people wear original uniforms from the Habsburgic Empire, and discover further the impressive Orthodox cathedral with its very high bell tower. Only a few steps away the Catholic Cathedral is very old, dating back to the XIth century. No less impressive than the Orthodox Cathedral, it host the remainings of a few prominents, e.g Iancu de Hunedoara, Stefan Bathory, Isabela Zapolya.

Much easier to admire for any culture afficionado is the Bathyaneum Library, where the Bishop Bathyany collected a few rare and very precious books. Just to raise your curiosity, I will mention only the Codex Aureus from the VIIIth century. Very interesting the history of this Codex, as our library hosts only a half of the book, while the other half is in Rome and the covers in London.

If you are hungry, be sure to find there, inside the fortress a few interesting restaurants for any budget, while for staying I would recommend the Hotel Cetate (The Fortress) in order to keep the same Medieval note.

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