Deva Citadel, one of the most important medieval fortifications in Transylvania
Deva Fortress, one of the most ancient Roman cities located on a volcanic hill was declared a natural reserve, also known as the Castle’ Hill (Dealul Cetatii).
Deva Citadel was mentioned in the official documents of the time as Castrum Deva and was built on an ancient Dacian site around 1269. The fortress was mainly built for military purpose. Its location was a strategic one, as from that position they could very well oversee Mures Valley and promptly counter the unexpected attacks. Over the time, Deva Fortress was ruled by several leaders. Back when Transylvania was occupied by the Hungarian kingdom, this city served as a residence for the prince who ruled the province.
Deva Fortress was used as princely residence since 1307 and in the fourteenth and fifteenth century as Wallachian military district with the jurisdiction in four Romanian counties. Since 1453, Iancu of Hunedoara turned it into a noble castle, becoming one of the strongest fortresses in Transylvania.
In the seventeenth century the castle came into possession of the nobles Gabriel Bethlen and Stefan Bethlen, Gheorghe I Rakoczy and Acatiu Barcsay. During this period it underwent several restoration works and the south circular bastion was built. One of the most important and decisive events in the history of the city was marked by the popular uprising of Horea, Closca and Crisan in 1784, when the nobles of the region, frightened by the peasants’ fierceness took refuge in the fortress.
Yet, the fortress gradually lost its military importance. Between 1848 and 1849 it was occupied by the Hungarian army. Along with the latest revolutionary events in August, which led to the defeat of the revolution, the explosion of ammunition warehouse devastated the walls of Deva Fortress causing great damage to the whole building.
The Fortress was revamped after 1950, and following an extensive rehabilitation program developed after 2000, a cable tramway was installed wherewith the tourists are transported to the citadel, up on the hill. This is only inclined elevator in Romania and, in terms of route length (278 meters) and the difference in level (158 meters) is the first in Europe. With 16 seats and using the inclined plane system, the cable car facilitates tourists’ access to the city.
Access to the fortress can be done very easily by foot, starting from Deva City Park and climbing the 113 steps at the end of which there are two alleys wreathed in mystery.
Deva Citadel is currently in the process of restoration within a European-funded project, which is due to be completed this year.
Those who come here can also visit the rest of the representative landmarks for Deva city, such as the Magna Curia Castle, Dacian and Roman Civilization Museum, or the historic center of city.