“ Alba Iulia” is the name of an urban settlement in Romania where the most important historical events took place. The town was the main political, military, administrative and cultural centre in Transylvania.
Romania’s national holiday, the Union Day (also called Unification Day) on December the 1 st , commemorates the assembly of the delegates of ethnic Romanians held in Alba Iulia, which declared the Union of Transylvania with Romania. This holiday, set after the 1989 Romanian Revolution, marks the unification not only of Transylvania, but also of the provinces of Banat, Basarabia and Bucovina with Romania
Situated at 270 m altitude, distanced at 380 km from Bucharest, 100 km from Cluj and 241 km from Arad, the city lies in the perimeter formed by the rivers Ampoi and Sebes and the top of the Apuseni Mountains that ascend mildly and lithely towards the terraces of the river Mures and the Transylvanian hills.
Alba Iulia is a rail junction and distribution center for a wine-making region , where wheat, poultry, and fruit are raised. The town's light manufactures include leather goods, furniture, and footwear. The main export merchandise has been: footwear (16.4%), clothing (13,9%), leather items (10.8%), furniture (8.7%), pottery (8.3%), industrial and mechanical equipment (8.2%), copper products (8.1%).
Beginning with the 18 th and 19 th centuries, the economic life of the city evolved rather slowly, having a predominant agricultural feature. Due to the fact that plenty of Alba’s surroundings were cultivated with vines, this region has undergone a tremendous economic development.
In a combined manner, through costumes, traditions and customs, Alba Iulia area gathers the influences from the Apuseni Mountains, the surroundings of Mures, Sebes and Secas.The Romanians harmoniously live together with other nations settled here along ages. The famous vine yards of Alba Iulia, the melancholic Romanian folklore songs inspired from the genuine folklore of the Mures valley and the Apuseni Mountains, the beauty of the costumes, the kindness and wisdom of the people, all these make this county a legendary realm.
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 the general Stefan de Steinville and was later completed under General Weiss. Between the 18th and 19th centuries the fortress served as the military headquarters of Transylvania and also as a general armament repository. The perimeter of the outside walls is about 12 km. The fortification has seven bastions (Eugene of Savoia, St. Stefan, The Trinity, St. Michael, St. Carol, St. Capistrano and St. Elisabeth) that make it resemble a star-shaped, Vauban-style fortress. The largest bastion is the Trinity. On the whole, the fortress stands out as the most important baroque architectural ensemble in Romania and Europe.
Grandiose building, the Reunification Cathedral was built between 1921-1923, following the project drawn by the architect D.G. Stefanescu, led by the engineer T. Eremia. The Great Romanian monarchs were crowned here on the 15th of October 1922. The establishment is shaped as a Greek cross, with an open porch. One can get inside through a right-angled narthex with three round headed vault units, a narrow have and a sanctuary. Constantin Petrescu painted the fresco in traditional iconography style.
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 establishment was meant to be a three Trinitarian semicircular transept. Undoubtedly, the most important early Transylvanian Renaissance building is "Lazo" Chapel situated on the northern side of the Cathedral. The Chapel has a late gothic pointed arch. The keystone is decorated with blazons of some Transylvanian personalities. Inside the cathedral there is Iancu of Hunedoara`s sarcophagus next to those of his elder son Ladislau (situated in the lateral southern nave), of Queen Isabella and of son, Ioan Sigismund (situated in the opposite lateral nave).
The Bathyaneum library is a former church, built in baroque style. In 1780, bishop Ignatiu Bathyany, also known as the Lorsch Gospel, a passionate bibliophile, transformed the inside of the establishment into a library containing Marcu and Matei Gospel, David’s Psalter, Codex Burgundus (15th century), Biblia Sacra (13th century) the Pentateuch from Orastie (1850), Serba Cantacuzino`s Bible, the New Testament from Balgrad (1648).The first astronomical observatory was founded here in 1792. It is famous all over the world for its ample series of manuscripts, incunabula and rare books, such as Codex Aureus (19 th century)