Deva fortress – one of the most important fortification in Transylvania

Built in the middle of the XVIII century, on the Fortress Hill, at the altitude of 378 meters. Due to its strategic position the fortress guarded among centuries the exit and entry in Transylvania true Mures valley.

Deva fortress is considered one of the most important fortification in Transylvania. It was mastered by princes and princesses, lords and duchesses, it was given as a gift, sold or bombed, and every event let its mark on the fortress: a new wall, a new room, and even a new floor.

The owners wanted to use it as a luxury home, not only as a defense fortress.

Today its ruins are visible from far, thanks to its strategic location on the top of the hill that dominates the Mures Valley.

The fortress was built in the thirteenth century, but traces of occupation are much older: there are discoveries that date back to the Neolithic or Bronze Age.

The first documentary referring to the Deva Citadel dates from 1269.

Legends with fairies and golden-haired girls, who have mastered the most beautiful places in Hunedoara County, haven’t spared Deva Citadel. But that was in bygone times. And their deeds were told by grandparents to grandchildren during winters next to the fireplace.

Testimonies about the fact that people lived in the hill fortress we have from Neolithic and Bronze Age. But for sure Dacian people had here defense fortifications and a strategic point from where they could supervise the whole Mures valley.

Roman conquerors recognized the potential of the place and they strengthened the fortifications . It’s no wonder they invested in the citadel, because the trade route that connected with the rest of the empire, also called the Road of Salt , was at the foot of the hill. In this period the Mures Valley has experienced a maximum economic prosperity.

Migratory people destroyed everything on their way, disposed the inhabitants and no one new anything about Deva, until the second half of the XVIII century.

In 1269, Deva fortress in mentioned in a donation act of the young king Stephan, son of Bela IV, who makes a donation to a Wallach Count for his bravery in the battles under the city walls of Deva.

Than in 1444 Iancu de Hunedoara receives the Deva Citadel, with all his riches :56 villages and gold mines. Also is this period of time is mentioned for the first time in a document, the Deva Fair, a settlement at the base of the hill. Corvin family dominion on the fortress and Deva domain ends in 1504.

From now , Deva Citadel begins to occupy an important place in the history of Transylvania.
Transylvanian voivodes and princes actually lived here or were guest of the fortress for a few days.

In the second half of the XVII century, Prince Gabriel Bethlen built the fortress bastion that served as a prison and place of torture. At its base, raises a real Renaissance palace: Magna Curia Palace.

May 2, 1773 Joseph, the future emperor of the Habsburg Empire, visited the fortress Deva in his wanderings through Transylvania. Ten years later, he returns to Deva as a sovereign, to find out what is the atmosphere among the locals.

One year later, in 1784, starts the revolt lead by Horia, Closca and Crisan, and the fortress will be the safe place for the nobility in this area, run away from their fields scared by the peasants and miners.

In 1817, the Emperor Francisc I and his wife visited Transylvania and they were impressed by the beauty of the place, they ordered the restoration of the citadel. During 12 years they had worked to rebuild the fortress with a lot of money and sacrifice.

But on 13 August in 1849, a big explosion at the gunpowder warehouse, mostly destroyed the fortress. Once with the walls, aslo died part of the soldiers guarding the fortress.

Since then the citadel that dominates the city was the attraction for locals and travelers, who have climbed the hill on foot to discover what is hidden inside the walls of stood or attracted by extraordinary panoramic view over the Mures valley.

Today, access to the Citadel possible by foot on the old road or trails beaten by locals, but also by using a cable car, actually a mono-liner elevator unique in this part of Europe.

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