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Alba Iulia travel guide — Alba Iulia tourism and travel information

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about Alba Iulia

Alba Iulia (German: Karlsburg, Hungarian: Gyulafehérvár) is a city in Alba county, Transylvania, Romania with a population of 66,369.

The city is historically important for both the Hungarians and Romanians.

Alba Iulia history

The city was an important Dacian political, economic and social centre named Apulon, and mentioned by the ancient Greek historian Ptolemy. After the southern part of Dacia became a province of the Roman Empire, the capital of the Dacia Apulensis district was established here, and the city was known as Apulum. Apulum was one of the largest centers in Roman Dacia and the seat of the XIII Gemina Legion.

In the 9th Century, the city was mentioned under the name of Balgrad ("white citadel"), and a Byzantine source from 938 gives a detailed account of the city called "white fort of gyula" (ie Gyulafehérvár). In 953 the gyula (chief) of Transylvania, whose name was probably Zsombor, was baptised in Constantinople and on his return he built a church in the city. Following the establishment of the Transylvanian episcopacy, the first cathedral was built in the 11th Century. The present (catholic) cathedral was built in the 12th or 13th Century. In 1442 John Hunyadi, Voivod of Transylvania, used the citadel to make his preparations for a major battle against the Turks. During his reign, the cathedral was enlarged and after his death he was entombed there.

In 1541, Gyulafehérvár became the capital of the autonomous principality of Transylvania, a status it was to retain until 1690. It was during the reign of prince Gabriel Bethlen that the city reached a high point in its cultural history, with the establishment of an academy. Further important milestones in the city's development include the creation of the Batthyanaeum Library in the 18th Century, and the arrival of the railway in the 19th Century.

Two events in particular give Alba Iulia an importance in Romanian history. In November 1599, Michael, Voivod of Wallachia, occupied Transylvania following his victory in the battle of Selimbar, entered Alba Iulia and became Habsburg governor of the province, until he was killed by mercenary troops in Basta's army. According to the Romanian interpration of history, this event briefly unified all three historical Romanian principalities.

On December 1, 1918 a plebiscite of some tens of thousands of Romanians (the exact number is disputed between Romanian and Hungarian historians) was held in Alba Iulia, and chose to unite the whole of Transylvania with the Kingdom of Romania.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Alba Iulia".

This city is also known as: Alba Iulia.

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