Located on a volcanic cone, Deva Fortress dominates the city from a height of 180 meters. During the Middle Ages, it was considered one of the most important fortifications in Transylvania. It is likely that before the medieval fortress existed here a Dacian fortification, as it has been proven that there are stone blocks cut with typical dovetail-shaped recesses in the walls.
Deva Fortress was documented in two acts, both in, 1269. The first concerns the Ban Mikud, receiving from King Stephen V of Hungary an estate in Dăbâca county for services to the crown in battles against the Cumans sub castro Deva vocato. The second document refers to the count of Chyl from Câlnic, in which King makes donations due to the fact that he fought alongside him in the city of Deva and Codlei.
At the turn of the thirteenth century the city became the residence of the voievodes Roland Borsa and Ladislau Kán, from where they exercised authority over the Principality of Transylvania. Choosing the right city as the princely residence proves that it was strong and had sufficient construction to satisfy claims court. After 1315 the city returned to the dominion of King Carol Robert. The castellans of Deva Fortress are from the fourteenth century and the counts of Hunedoara County.
In 1444 the city and domain became the possession of Janos Hunyadi, remaining in possession Hunyadi family until 1490. It was subsequently restored to royal possession and for a while was privileged by Transylvanian nobles. After 1530 the city goes under the rule of Prince Janos Zápolya, whose corpse was transported here in 1540 together with the treasure of Transylvania, as it was not safe at Alba Iulia.
Between 1551 and 1556, when Transylvania came under Austrian rule, General Gian Batista Castaldo, the military governor, initiated extensive work to strengthen the city. Ferencz David, founder of the Unitarian Church in Transylvania, died in the fortress in 1579.
In 1581, the fortress entered the possession of the noble Francis Geszty, carrying out work to modernize the fortress and began work on the Magna Curia, the civil residence at the foot of the hill.
In the early seventeenth century the city was object of contention for competitors to the throne of Transylvania, the Diet decided in 1607 that the city would no longer have privileges, but property taxes remained. During the time of Gabriel Bethlen, the fortress was subjected to serious renovations, including the addition of bastion with the name of the prince on the south-eastern side as well as other works. Prince Gabriel Bethlen donated the fortress to his first wife, and after her death arrived in the hands of his nephew, Stephen Bethlen and his wife, Maria Szechy.
Other users of the fortress were the princes George I Rákóczi, George II Rákóczi and Acaţiu Barcsay. Afterwards, Transylvania and all property taxes came under Austrian Habsburg rule.
After 1713, the military governor Johann Steinville initiated the construction of the third enclosure and transformed the fortress into a bastion fortification, extending the defensive zone in the foothills. This project, the rising of a Vauban-type fortification the on hill slopes and floodplain, remained only in the planning stages.
The last work of rebuilding the fortress took place in the early nineteenth century. Travelling in Transylvania in 1817, Emperor Francis I was impressed by the beauty of the fortress and ordered it to be restored. The works were completed in 1827, but the military role of the Deva Fortress was now surpassed by the evolution of firearms.
During the Revolution of 1848-1849 the fortress experienced its final episode. Subjected to a siege of eight weeks by Hungarian revolutionary troops, the Austrian garrison was handed over in May 1849, but the Imperials returned after Hungarian revolutionary troops were forced to lay down their arms at Șiria. The fortress met its end on 13 August the same year, due to the negligence of the soldiers manning gunpowder, the ammunition depot blew up and the explosion destroyed a good part of the walls.
Since then the citadel that dominates the city has become the attraction for locals and travelers, who have climbed the hill on foot to discover what is hidden inside the remaining walls or attracted by the extraordinary panorama.
Today, access to the Citadel possible by foot, on the old road or trails beaten by locals, but also by cable car, in fact, a monoliner lift.
Location: Deva, Piata Cetatii
Telephone: 0314 178 522
Entrance is free at Deva Fortress! There are no entrance fees.
The visiting hours at Deva Fortress, valid until April 30, 2016 are: daily, between 8 am – 8pm.
It is possible to climb on foot, to go on Poarta I, or with the lift. Visitors who use the lift pay only for the trip.
- fee for adults for a single trip (climbing or descending) – 6 lei (12 lei for a round trip)
- fee for children, students, pensioners, for a single trip (climbing or descending) – 3 lei (6 lei for a round trip)
The final lift climbs at 7:30 pm
The final entrance at Poarta I is at 7:30 pm
Poarta I closes at 8:30 pm
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