”1 Decembrie 1918” University of Alba Iulia - Centre for International Relations
Centre for International Relations


The City of Alba Iulia


Historical facts:


Alba Iulia is one of the most important historical sites of Romania.


The city was an important Dacian political, economic and social centre named Apulon, mentioned by the ancient Greek geographer Ptolemy. After the southern part of Dacia became a province of the Roman Empire, the capital of the Dacia Apulensis district was established here, and the city was known as Apulum. It was one of the largest centres in Roman Dacia and the seat of Legion XIII Gemina.

Alba Iulia became the capital of the Principality of Transylvania in 1541, a status held until 1690. It was during the reign of Prince Gabriel Bethlen that the city reached a peak in its cultural history, with the establishment of an academy. Further important milestones in the city"s development include the creation of the Batthyanaeum Library in the 18th century, and the advent of the railway in the 19th century.

In November 1599, Mihai Viteazu (Michael the Brave), Voivode of Wallachia, entered Alba Iulia following his victory in the Battle of Şelimbăr and became governor of Transylvania. In 1600, he took control of Moldavia, thereby uniting the three principalities under his rule until his murder in 1601 by Giorgio Basta"s agents. His achievement has a historic significance for Romanians, representing the first unification of the three Romanian-populated principalities of Wallachia, Moldavia, and Transylvania.

In 1918, tens of thousands of Romanians and representatives of the Transylvanian Saxons and other minority groups gathered in Alba Iulia on December 1st, now commemorated as the Union Day in Romania, to hear the proclamation of the unification of Transylvania with the Kingdom of Romania. In 1922, Ferdinand of Romania was crowned King of Romania in Alba Iulia, as a symbolic feat which revived the former short-lived achievement of Mihai Viteazu. Ever since, our city has been known as The City of the Unification or The Soul Capital of all Romanians.





The Roman Catholic Cathedral

Built in the 13th century, the Roman Catholic Cathedral is considered to be an important monument of early Transylvanian medieval architecture. It harmoniously combines Gothic and Roman style elements.


The Reunification Cathedral

The Reunification Cathedral of Alba Iulia was built during 1921-1923 based on a project designed by architect D. G. Ştefănescu in collaboration with the engineer T. Eremia. The establishment is built in the shape of a Greek cross. The Great Romanian monarchs King Ferdinand and Queen Mary were crowned here on 15th October 1922.


The Union Museum

The Union Museum of Alba Iulia is one of the finest in Romania. It was originally built for military purposes, the Babilon Building dating since the half of the 19th century (1851-1853). It has two floors and over 100 rooms, and it exhibits over 130,000 pieces of priceless works included in its patrimony. 


The Fortress of Alba Iulia (Alba Carolina Fortress)

The Alba Carolina fortress was built between 1714 and 1738 and it is considered to be the most representative of Vauban type in Europe. The fortress was designed by the Italian architect Giovanni Morando Visconti, who worked under the supervision of General Stefan de Steinville and was later completed under General Weiss. The fortification has seven bastions (Eugene of Savoy, St. Stephen, The Trinity, St. Michael, St. Charles, St. Capistrano and St. Elisabeth) that make it into a 7 star-shape, Vauban-style fortress. The fortress is the most important baroque architectural ensemble in Romania and Europe.


The Route of the Three Fortresses

The Route of the Three Fortresses offers the visitors the chance to travel 2,000 years back in time, walking around the old walls of the three fortifications belonging to three different historical periods, successively built on the same location, each new citadel including the previous one: The Roman Camp (106 AD), The Medieval Citadel (16th -17th c.) and the Alba Carolina Citadel, a Vauban-type fortification (18th c.).  The route includes visits to: The Minting Factory Gate, South Gate of the Roman Camp (Castrum), the Military Camp, the Access Tunnel to the Artillery Platform, the Artillery Platform, The Guard Room - The Arms Room, The Bethlen Bastion and the Alba Carolina Citadel.

The tourist potential of the area is mirrored by many other numerous traces of millenary history, art and architecture, and the variety and beauty of nature.




Traditional Dishes

Romanian gastronomy is an expression of the geography and history of the country: the landscape diversity provides Romanian housewives with a large variety of fruits, vegetables and spices while the historical neighbourhood of other ethnic groups has left a colourful and tasty mark. Therefore, Romanian cuisine is extremely diverse. In fact it is a mix of different dishes from the several cultures it has come in contact with during its stormy past. However, it has managed to maintain its own character and adapt the foreign recipes to local taste. It has been greatly influenced by Balkan cuisine but it has preserved some influences from other neighbours" culinary traditions, such as the Germans", Serbians", and Hungarians".

Traditional Romanian spirits are very strong and we can include here the famous pălincă and ţuică.

Romania is also a great wine producer. In fact archaeological findings and historical documents place the beginning of wine culture on these lands some 4000 years ago. High quality wines produced in this region were object of trade ever since ancient times. Some of the most important vineyard centres are Dealu Mare, Pietroasa, Drăgăşani, Murfatlar, Cotnari, Odobeşti and some of the best Romanian wine varieties include Tămâioasă Românească, Fetească Albă, Fetească Neagră, Jidvei, Galbenă de Odobeşti, Băbească, Busuioacă and many others.

Although each region has its own specific dishes, there are a few characteristics of Romanian traditional cuisine.



How can you reach us?


Arriving in Alba Iulia

By plane:

            International airports of Romania: Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca, Timişoara, Sibiu, Constanta, Arad and Targu Mures.

By train:

            Thanks to its central position, Alba Iulia is situated on an important railway route. The timetable of Romanian train routes can be found at http://www.mersultrenurilor.ro/.

By bus:

            From Bucharest and Cluj Napoca to Alba Iulia you can travel by bus. There are at least 4 buses a day and the price is about 5 Euro (from Cluj Napoca to Alba Iulia) or 15 Euro from Bucharest.


For more information, please visit the following websites:

The International Airport in Bucharest www.bucharestairports.ro,

The International Airport in Cluj-Napoca www.airportcluj.ro,

The International Airport in Timisoara www.aerotim.ro,

The International Airport in Sibiu www.sibiuairport.ro.