Oradea Fortress, a UNESCO monument

Jul 7, 2019

Oradea is a hidden treasure waiting to be discovered. Want to discover it too? The city of Oradea impresses with its beauty and the large number of tourist objectives. Suffering numerous works of rehabilitation and reconstruction, both the old city center and the city of Oradea have become in the last 3 years to be one of the most sought after tourist cities in Transylvania. One of the biggest attractions of the city is the Oradea Fortress, a beautiful place that has so much story to tell you, so you have no reason to bypass it.

Oradea Fortress, the best preserved fortress in the Italian Renaissance style of Central Europe, has a pentagonal shape, with bastions at the corners and a water ditch. But it did not have this form from the beginning. It was built by the king of Hungary Ladislau I in the eleventh century, at that time being a fortification with a palisade and a wave of land. The towers in the corners and the one at the gate were made of wood and, like many fortifications, housed inside a monastery that was dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

The role of the fortress was primarily to defend the city, and the fires and invasions through which it passed in the middle of the eleventh century proved its effectiveness. In 1245, however, the fortress entered a reconstruction process, taking on a circular shape – but almost half a century later it was again destroyed by Roland Borsa, a voivod of Transylvania.

The present pentagonal form with bastions in the corners and a water ditch it was acquired after Italian architects renovated it between the years 1570 – 1618 using the labor force of peasant servants. It was so well consolidated that the city of Oradea soon became an important cultural and religious center in the country, and today it is said to be the best preserved Renaissance city in Central Europe. Until 1660 the fortress passed through several sieges, which it successfully resisted. In 1660, however, the Turks managed to conquer it, after they managed to drain the water from the defense ditch and blew two bastions. Later, the Turks set up the Oradea Pasalac, which ran five committees: Bihor, Zarand, Crasna, the Middle Solnoc and the Solnoc din Launtru.

The same strategy (of emptying the ditch with water) was applied by the Austrians in 1692, also conquering the fortress. Over the next three years, the city of Oradea was rebuilt – according to the plans of military baron Ernst von Borgsdorf and financed by the Vatican (60,000 florins). The courtiers also tried to besiege it between 1703 and 1710, but without success. But the great fire of 1836, which affected the whole city, also reached the fortress, burning much of it. It worked like this until 1947, when the north wing became a transit camp. After 1975, the fortress began to deteriorate, as a result of its transformation into a warehouse, but in 2010 it entered into an extensive restoration process.

Today the Oradea Fortress has been reintroduced into the tourist circuit, being reconditioned with European money and has become a huge monument, of amazing magnitude, which makes you want to return to the Middle Ages to admire its beauty. The Prince’s Palace is the one that introduces us to the history of the city of Oradea through the 4 buildings: AB, C, D and E. At present, the A and B Bodies completely house the Oradea City Museum – Cultural Complex where a series of permanent exhibitions are arranged. : History of photography in Oradea; “Churches in the palace – archaeological research in the Prince’s Palace”; Exhibition of the Greek Catholic Bishopric of Oradea – History files; Exhibition of the Oradea Reformed Church; Exhibition of the Roman Catholic Bishopric of Oradea and temporary exhibitions.

We invite you to discover the Oradea Fortress declared a UNESCO monument, the best preserved fortress in the Renaissance style of Central Europe, in a magical city full of charisma, personality and a special charm. You will certainly discover great stories and you will leave much richer from these realms full of history, culture and art.

In case you’re in Oradea to visit its natural, cultural and historical beauty of the city, click on this link to find out all about the Fortress www.oradeaheritage.ro and here www.hotel-lyra.ro to stay in one of the nicest and convenient places, Hotel Lyra.

Photos by Valcan Vasile & Cosmin Iovan from Pixabay
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