May 30, 2016

2585 ROMANIA (Alba) - The Alba Iulia Citadel

Since 1541, the town of Alba Iulia was the capital of the Eastern Hungarian Kingdom, and then of the Principality of Transylvania, until 1690, when became part of the Habsburg Monarchy and was renamed Karlsburg, in honor of Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor between 1711 and 1740. During his reign, between 1716 and 1735, two Swiss fortification architects built the citadel Alba Carolina, with seven bastions in a stellar shape.

The first architect was Giovanni Morandi Visconti, who built two old Italian-style bastions, and the second was Nicolaus Doxat de Demoret, nicknamed "Austrian Vauban". After 1720, the two architects radically transformed the medieval fortress shaped by the former Roman castrum into a seven-bastion baroque citadel, developing Menno van Coehorn's new Dutch system, of which the fortress of Alba Iulia is the best preserved example.

The fortress is outstanding both for its architectural elements and for the beauty of its six gates, unique in European military structures. Doubtless the artists, sculptors Johann Koning, Johan Vischer and Giuseppe Tencalla, had been inspired by ancient mythology. About 12km of ramparts made of brick and quarry stones form a seven-point star shape with seven bastions (Eugene of Savoia, St. Stefan, The Trinity, St. Michael, St. Carol, St. Capistrano and St. Elisabeth) guarded by six monumental gates.

Between the 18th and 19th centuries the fortress served as the military headquarters of Transylvania and also as a general armament repository. It was one of the most powerful citadels in southeastern Europe, and served in the line of defense against Ottoman Empire. The leaders of the peasants' revolution of 1784-1785 were jailed, tried and executed here. Later, in 1848, the citadel was attacked by Hungarian revolutionary forces led by general Bem, but didn't fall into their hands.

About the stamps
The first stamp is part of the series Flowers' Clock I, about which I wrote here.

The last stamp is part of the series Fauna from Romanian Nature Reserves, designed by Mihai Vămăşescu and issued on July 25, 2011:
The Wolf / Canis lupus (0.30 RON) - It's on the postcard 2585
The Purple Heron / Ardea purpurea (4.50 RON)
The Capercaillie / Tetrao urogallus (5.00 RON)
The Raccoon Dog / Nyctereutes procyonoides (8.10 RON)

Alba Iulia - Wikipedia
Alba Carolina Fortress - Surprising Romania
Alba Iulia Citadel - Visit Alba Iulia

Sender: Mihnea Răducu
Sent from 1 Mai (Bihor / Romania), on 23.05.2016 

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