The medieval citadel in Targu Mures

the medieval citadel in targu mures Situated in central Romania, the city of Targu Mures has always been a special place, at the crossroads of various religious and ethnic traditions.

Situated in 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. 


The Medieval 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 period."


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.


"There are 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."


The bastions 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 Citadel:


"A highlight 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."


The 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.



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Publicat: 2018-09-08 12:00:00
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