joi, 25 octombrie 2012

Alba Iulia, a symbol for any Romanian

Visiting Alba Iulia means a lot to any Romanian, and I could compare with some well known pilgrimages. Even if you are not a Romanian, the town of Alba Iulia is a visit worth.
Roman walls in Alba Iulia, antic Apullum

Alba Iulia (hungarian Gyulafehervar; German Karlsburg or Weissenburg) has a wonderful fortress, build by the Habsburgs in the XVIIIth century. Much earlier, in the antic times, on the place was the city of Apullum, already a capital and the most important local city. In Middle Age,during  the XVIth century, Alba Iulia was again the  capital of The Transilvania Principality. Newer, on the 1st December 1918, 100000 people representing the Romanians and the Saxons of Transilvania, the unifying of Transilvania with Romania. Maybe you understand now why is the town so important in the Romanian history.
The main entrance gate in the Fortress of Alba Iulia has a baroque tower; pls observe back the Orthodox Cathedral

Much better for you if visiting Alba Iulia have not this very high emotional charge. Drive in the city, see the impersonal blocks of flats, pass through center to the fortress (Cetate) and take a wonderful walk in the area. Admire the Catholic Cathedral, build in the XIIIth century, a model of Medieval architecture. Admire the Orthodox Cathedral, bild in 1921, where the King Ferdinand was crowned in 1922 as King of all Romania. Admire the gate of the fortress. All these walls are full with history, allow me giving another example: in 1784 the Romanians lead by Horea, Closca and Crisan fought for their social and national rights against the leading Hungarians. Very successfully in the beginning, but at the end the Hungarians defeated the Romanians and executed the leaders inside this fortress, through lugging on the wheel!
The Catholic Cathedral from Alba Iulia is very old (XIIIth century) and constitutes a model of Medieval architecture

Visit the interesting Unity Museum, and if you need a rest after all these cultural adventures, you are welcomed one of the many Restaurants inside the fortress. Please avoid fast-food, and make a wiser choice, take a Romanian menu (soup, main dish,desert), with a glass of wine, costing 9-10 Euros.
Replacing the Guards in Alba Iulia is a coloured show

After that relaxing lunch, if you are still in the mood, continue discovering the town of Alba Iulia, searching the well known Bathyaneum library, a really sanctuary hosting a vast collection of Medieval books. Really a must for any culture freaks. From Alba Iulia you can drive to Arad, or in the neighboring mountains, offering some interesting places (need only to hurry up,the winter is coming!). Jidvei and Blaj are also in the area, and you can take part there to exquisite wine tasting!

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