Făgăraş Citadel

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Last update:
2013, September 20

 
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Făgăraş Citadel (Romanian: Cetatea Făgăraşului, Hungarian: Fogaras Vár, German: Fogarascher Burg, former name: Mihai Viteazul Fortress) is a historic monument in Făgăraş, Braşov county.
The feudal Castle in Făgăraş, whose construction began in 1310 and continued through successive additions until the middle of the eighteenth century, was preceded by a wooden fort, surrounded by a moat and wave of land, archaeological attested to XII century.
This fort, evidence of local feudal political organization as a "voivodat", was destroyed in the middle of the thirteenth century, following a serious fire, as attested by the remains revealed from archaeological excavations that accompanied the restoration.
In XV century the fortress of stone and brick from Făgăraş, which was a military defense fortress, had a quadrilateral enclosure with four towers and bastions at the corners and a barricade type tower outpost on the east side.
After the splitting of the Hungarian Feudal Kingdom in 1541, following the defeat of Mohács, Transylvania became an autonomous principality under Ottoman suzerainty. In this framework, the domain and the Făgăraş fortress became the property of hereditary princes of Transylvania. Many have given Făgăraş special attention contributing to cultural and economic development of entire area.
Michael the Brave, ruler of the Romanian Country between the years 1593-1601 and the first unifier of the three Romanian countries had, according to an ancient "voivodal" tradition, the title of "herteg of Făgăraş", and since 1597-1599 claims the domain as his territory based on an "ius antiquum vaivodarum valachiae transalpinae ("voivodal" old law of the Romanian Country).
In 1599, following the campaign in Transylvania, Michael the Brave comes into possession of the Făgăraş domain and at the end of the year the city and the domain are given to his wife Domana Stanca, becoming the place to shelter their assets and family.


"Twilight at Făgăraş Citadel"
painting by Valeriu Pantazi

Donjon Bastion

Michael the Brave gave special attention to Făgăraş due to its strategic location: in April 1600 the castle becomes the meeting point for his armies before the campaign of Moldova and in the autumn of 1600, after the defeat at Miraslau, he also regrouped his forces here.
In the eighteenth century, adaptations and additions to the building are made, changes that will culminate with the transformation in a nice princely residence of the Făgăraş Fortress, the culmination period of time for this majestic monument.
Destinations that have received the 85 rooms of the castle could be inferred from the fortress inventories, especially the ones in 1632, 1637, 1656, and 1676.
Following these works made in the eighteenth century, Făgăraş Fortress is the residence of the princes of Transylvania and the political-administrative center of the great domain of Făgăraş, and becomes an imposing medieval center.
Then, major works were undertaken in the Făgăraş Fortress led by the principles Rackozi Gabriel Bethlen and Gheorghe Rackozi I.
Thus, Gabriel Bethlen (1613-1629) made in the open loggias on massive piles of masonry arches. Simultaneously, in the corners of the castle are built the four bastions an Italian style pillbox (three "with ears" and one form of "feather").
During Gheorghe Rackozi I's rule (1631-1648), the exterior walls were doubled on the south side and north side and the space created was filled with earth, obtaining an 8 feet thick wall. Also, he builds on the northern part of the east side the guards building, and the defensive moat around the castle is widened, made deeper and filled with water from the river Olt, becoming a real lake.

The domain of Făgăraş (the Făgăraş Country) becomes one of the largest and richest areas of Transylvania, including over 50 villages administered by two secondary courts.
Since 1696, after penetration of the Austrian army in Transylvania, Făgăraş became Crown property of the Habsburgs. Since 1699 it became caserne and military prison.
Nicolae Iorga visited the citadel in 1903 and found it close to ruin.
Between 1948 and 1960, the citadel has served in prison for opponents of the communist system from Făgăraş Land, political prisoners, Făgăraş becoming one of the Romanian Gulag prisons.
In subsequent years (1965-1977) have been made repairs, restoration and conservation works.
Currently, the citadel hosts the "Valer Literat" Făgăraş Land Museum and City Library.


Făgăraş Fortress in 1883

Făgăraş Fortress
(eastern view)

Făgăraş Fortress
(interwar period)

Loggia from the first floor
(in 2005)

Loggia from the first floor
(in 2008)

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