May 2, 2016

2518 ROMANIA (Mehedinţi) - The Tower of the Severin Citadel

Located in western Oltenia, on the left bank of the  Danube, below the Iron Gates, Drobeta-Turnu Severin has had a troubled history, because of its strategic position, at the crossing of land and water roads which led to the north and south of the Danube. Called Drobeta by the Romans, it was the third urban center of Dacia after Sarmizegetusa and Apullum. Destroyed by Huns in the 5th century, it was rebuilt by Justinian I (527-565).

The fortress of Severin was built by the Kingdom of Hungary under Ladislaus I (1077-1095) as stronghold against the Pechenegs, Cumans and Bulgars. Along with the forming of the Vallachian Voivodeships, the Severin fortress was a reason for a war over a period of several generations between Oltenian Voievodes (Litovoi, Bărbat, then Basarab I) and Hungarians. When the Hungarians attacked Oltenia and conquered Severin's fortress, Andrew II of Hungary organized the Banat of Severin.

The first  Ban of Severin, Luca, was mentioned in 1233. This year may be taken as the date of birth of a new castle over the ruins of Drobeta, under the name Severin (Severinopolis). Severin's name was taken in memory of Severinus of Noricum, who was the patron saint of the medieval colony Turnu (The Tower), initially a suffragane of the Diocese of Kalocsa. In the next period, the citadel is disputed by the Hungarians, the Vallachians and Bulgarians, often passing from one hold to another.

At the end of the 14th century, reached to the Danube the Ottoman Empire, which conquered and lost the citadel several times. In 1521, Ottomans conquered Belgrade, then Orşova in 1522, and finally, in 1524, the Severin Citadel. Two years later, on the orders of Suleiman the Magnificent, the fortress was systematically destroyed, the strength stones of the walls being recovered and used in the construction and strengthening of other Ottoman fortress at south of the Danube. In the same year, 1526, Hungary was crushed by Turks at Mohács and transformed into pashalic.

From the Severin Citadel remained only remnants of some walls of the enclosure, the traces the foundations of the six towers, including a wall approximately 12m height of the imposing dungeon of the citadel, a thick and high wall from which the entire remaining structure will be called by the locals "Sever's Tower". Citadel plan was reconstituted in 1936 by prof. Dr. Al. Barcăcilă, who performed excavations inside the ruins, from where recovered a rich archaeological material.

About the stamp
The stamp is part of the series Folk Art, issued on 1982.

Drobeta-Turnu Severin - Wikipedia

Sender: Adrian Ilie
Sent from Drobeta-Turnu Severin (Mehedinţi / Romania), on 06.09.1983
Photo: Gabriela Cocora

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