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The Cetatuia Citadel

Updated: Feb 12

Towards the end of my stay in Brasov, I found myself rushing to get to the last of the many sites I wanted to see. Brasov's Cetatuia Citadel was one of those places. Strategically located on the top of a hill to the north of the city, the Citadel overlooks the town and the northern plains and was part of Brasov’s original outer fortification system. On my last night in Brasov, I walked up a steep hill in the near dark for a visit.

According to this article, the citadel was first erected in 1524 using only wooden walls, which were destroyed in 1529 by Petru Rares of Moldovia. They built a stone citadel on the same spot in 1553, but it was destroyed by fire in 1618 and re-built in 1625. In 1630, the inhabitants added four massive stone bastions to the initial building for added protection. Unfortunately, the citadel was later abandoned later when technological innovations made cannons stronger than the building.

Today, the citadel has been turned into a restaurant called Cetate. A collection of Medieval weapons hangs on the walls, and evidently you can drop a penny in the well (81 m deep) for good luck. The center of the Citadel is a narrow courtyard displaying shields, lances, a canon, and coat of arms.

I often find it interesting and helpful to look at the timeline of a place. Here is a brief history of the Citadel according to this article:

  • 1524. A semi-circle tower was built here, and then the place was surrounded by a wall.

  • 1529. In the midst of the battle between John I and Ferdinand, the town of Brasov took king Ferdinand's side. Petru Rareș the Moldavian who supported King John beat the emperor's army and conquered and demolished the citadel.

  • 1555. The walls were rebuilt.

  • 1618. The walls were destroyed in a fire.

  • 1625. The walls and a 81m deep well was rebuilt in the inside yard.

  • 1630. The inhabitants added four massive stone bastions to the initial building.

  • 1688. Brasov's citizens found shelter here from the Habsburg troops.

  • 1690. The emperor took hold of the fortress and oppressed the town for a long time.

  • 1773. The Holy Roman emperor Josef II commenced the citadel's renovation. Nine years later he made a sales proposal to the town. The town did not accept the proposal, thus the fortress functioned as a prison for Turkish and later on for French prisoners. During the plague it functioned as quarantine.

  • 1848. The fortress was occupied by general Bem's troops.

  • 1917. The Austrian Empress Caroline visited the citadel.

  • 1940s. The citadel was renovated but remained unused until they built a restaurant.

Although I didn't get to see the inside, the outer walls of the citadel was impressive, as was the view. It is just so neat to be in a place with buildings as old as these. There is certainly nothing like it in Knoxville!

Brasov as seen from the Citadel.


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