Situated in central Romania, the city of Targu Mures has always been a special place, at the crossroads of various religious and ethnic traditions.
central Romania, the city of Targu Mures has always been a special place, at
the crossroads of various religious and ethnic traditions, and enjoying an
important administrative status. Being a multicultural city, just like the
whole of Transylvania, and vacillating all throughout its history between
semi-autonomy and inclusion into various states, Targu Mures displays elements
of its past in the old city centre streets. You can find here 13th
century Franciscan towers next to Baroque palaces, Secessionist buildings and
monuments, as well as 20th century churches.
Citadel is perched on a small hill, close to the city centre, presiding over
the city. It is considered the last urban-type citadel in Transylvania.
Although it was built between 1605 and 1653, it owes its current appearance to changes
that took place relatively recently. The first bastion was erected in 1620, and
the citadel was completed in 1653, being surrounded by a 10m wide and 8m long
moat. It was built with the financial support provided by the inhabitants, who
wanted to be better protected from attacks, after having been badly affected by
the reprisals of general Giorgio Basta, a mercenary paid by the Holy Roman
Empire of the German Nation. This had been a direct consequence of Targu Mures's choice to provide
support to Michael the Brave in 1600, when he first united the territories
inhabited by the Romanians. However, the history of the citadel in Targu Mures doesn't
begin in the 17th century, as Mircea Moldovan, a director with the Targu
Mures City Hall has told us:
"The place where
the citadel was built was mentioned in historical records as early as the
Neolithic Age. A Roman Villa was built on the same site later on, and in the
Middle Ages, a Franciscan Monastery was built there, in the 13th century.
In fact, the first fortification walls, as this was a fortified monastery, date
back to those years. Much later, in the
15th century, it was attested in documents that it had
fortifications and towers. The first four towers were erected during that
A total number of seven bastions linked by 900m long brick
walls were built during those times. The bastions were hosting the guilds of
the town. Here is Mircea
Moldovan back at the microphone, with more on the guilds of Targu Mures.
the Butchers' Bastion, the Furriers' Bastion, the Tanners' Bastion, the
Tailors' Bastion. The bastions were named according to the place where they
stood, such as the Gate Bastion, which was also home to the goldsmiths, and the
Small Bastion, which also hosted the headquarters of the Tailors' Guild. The fortress
stretched over 4 hectares, being surrounded by walls and curtain walls, mostly
double walls where there were no moats. An attraction of the fortress is the
church of the former Franciscan monastery, later turned into a reformed church."
and the church still stand alongside other buildings that were subsequently
raised within the enclosure of the fortress. One of them houses the county
museum, which in the past hosted the Targu Mures City Hall and which was built
after Transylvania had been integrated into the Habsburg Empire in the 18th
century. At that time, the fortress became the garrison of the Austrian troops,
was enriched with more buildings and witnessed several important events. Some
of them were linked with the movement of cultural and political emancipation of
Romanians in Transylvania, called the Transylvanian School. Here is Mircea
Moldovan with more details about the events that occurred in the Targu Mures
was the visit of the Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Joseph. Some of the
representatives of the Transylvanian School were imprisoned in the city hall's
own jail for a short while."
restoration of the Targu Mures Mediaeval Fortress was completed two years ago with
European funds. Since then, the fortress has been a place of relaxation and
cultural activities, including theatre performances. It boasts an open air
stage, an amphitheatre and even a restaurant. In summertime, cultural events and
concerts are held within the fortress almost every day.