One day trip to Alba Iulia

Alba Iulia is a very important city for the Romanian people: it is the city where the Great Union happened. In Alba Iulia, it was signed, on the 1st of December, 1918, the document that was unifying Transylvania and Romania.

Its citadel is one of the biggest in southeastern Europe. The citadel dates back in XVIII century. It was built by the Habsburg Empire in order to consolidate its authority and to protect themselves from the Ottoman Empire.

Alba Iulia, Romania
My first impressions from Alba Iulia

I have always wanted to visit Alba Iulia but I’ve never had the chance to do so… until this February! Being in Sibiu for 3 days, I decided to visit Alba Iulia. It was a very cold day and the wind was blowing making the temperatures even more dramatic. The good part was the empty citadel and the beautiful shots taken (with my hands almost frozen).

Even if the citadel is really amazing, the city was way below expectations: while I was getting off the bus, I had the impression that I was in the wrong city. Near bus/train station there were some abandoned buildings giving the impression that you have arrived in a very poor city, also the sidewalks were deteriorated, the bus stop is located in front of the train station but it does not have a specific station, so on and so forth.

Well, a bit disappointed, we got on the bus and spoke with the driver:

– Good evening! Can we buy tickets from you?
The bus driver didn’t even look at us. After some seconds (I was staring at him) he put on table 2 tickets.
– How much do they cost?
– …. (Very bored, he looked at me and replied) 5.

I was shocked because the kindness and the courtesy of the people from Transylvania are famous (and real!) and this guy was so unpleasant!

After the first impressions and interaction with local people, all I wanted was to come back to my beautiful Sibiu. I was thinking that at least the bus route will reveal some interesting views and I was looking forward to changing my first impression. Well, I was not paying attention to the stops so we missed ours and we waited for the city center stop but as we did not see it, we got off the bus …. at the train station! Then, just tired of everything, we walked by foot 25 minutes until the first gate of the citadel. The Citadel is beautiful and one day should be enough for visiting it.

How to get there (from Sibiu)

If you are traveling from Sibiu to Alba Iulia, the best option is the bus. There are regular courses to Alba Iulia and the duration is 1h and a half. Depending on the bus` company, the price varies from 18 RON– Transmixt to 23 RON – Fany. The conditions are similar.

How to move in Alba Iulia

From the bus station/train station, you can get to the citadel by foot (approximately 25 minutes) or by bus (15 minutes). The bus stop is some minutes away from the citadel. You can take the bus 103 until P-ta Alessandria (the closest stop to the citadel) The cost is 2,5 RON/one way.

The Citadel

Free entrance to the citadel.

The gates are really amazing, with lots of ornaments and statues.

First gate

The first gate’s architecture is inspired by the Greek mythology. In the middle, there is a Habsburg Empire emblem with 2 eagles flanked by Mars and Venus statues and 2 cannons. With 3 entrances, it is a very triumphal gate.
Alba Iulia, Romania
The second gate
Partially destroyed in 1939, it was rebuilt in 2009. The gate consists of 4 columns with two statues and decorations.
Alba Iulia, Romania
Horea, Closca and Crisan Obelisk
It is a sumptuous symbol of their sacrifice. It was built in the place where the 3 brave revolutionaries were prisoned.
Alba Iulia, Romania
Also, from there, you will see a panoramic view of the city (do not expect to see some spectacular views)
Third gate
It is the most impressive one from my point of view. It was built between 1715 – 1738 in Baroque style. The Eagles are the symbol of the grandiose Habsburg Empire.
Alba Iulia, Romania
Alba Iulia, Romania
The fourth gate
It is another spectacular gate with the same beautiful sculptures. His rooms served in past as arrest rooms.
Alba Iulia, Romania
Michael the Brave Statue
In 1599, Michael the Brave unified for the first time the 3 regions of today`s Romania: Wallachia, Transylvania, and Moldavia. His towering statue stands as proof of his crucial importance in Romanians` history.
Alba Iulia, Romania
Roman-Catholic Cathedral
The Catholic Cathedral dates back to the 13th century and it is a beautiful well-preserved cathedral.
Alba Iulia, Romania
Union Bell
It is the symbol of the Union of Transylvania with Romania in 1918.
Alba Iulia, Romania
Saint Capistrano Bastion
Alba Iulia, Romania
Also, on our way to the train station, we have found a beautiful monument dedicated to the Horea, Closca and Crisan` sacrifice.
Alba Iulia, Romania
Trip cost
Bus: 41 RON/return/person
Travel. Enjoy. Repeat.

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