Alba Iulia

Alba Iulia General Information

Fast Facts

Location: Central Romania
County: Alba
Size: 3.7 sq. miles (9.7 sq. kilometers)
Elevation: 710 - 790 ft. (222 - 247 meters)
Population: 63,000
First documented: 1097 AD
Inhabited since: 106-107 BC

City Highlights

The gentle climate and the richness of the soil made the area around Alba Iulia inhabitable since ancient times and established Alba as a leading wine growing region since 1st century AD. Northwest of Alba Iulia are the Apuseni Mountains and in the east the Transylvanian Plateau with its rolling hills and deep, wide valleys.

Alba IuliaOne of the oldest settlements in Romania, known in ancient time as Apulum, Alba Iulia served as the largest military and economic center during the Roman occupation. Temples, mosaics, thermae and statues, amphitheaters, the governor's palace "Daciarum Trium" – all rendered the original Dacian Apulul as the miniature copy of the mother Rome.

An Episcopal citadel and an important political, military and cultural center, Alba Iulia reached its peak between 1542-1690, serving as the capital of the independent Principality of Transylvania and the residence of the Transylvanian princes. In 1599, Mihai Viteazul (Michael the Brave) achieved here for a brief period of time the union of the three main provinces of Romania: Walachia, Transylvania, and Moldavia. The town later became an important printing centre. Nowadays the local universities continue the tradition of the old academic schools.

The peasant revolt led by Horea, Closca and Crisan, executed on February 28, 1785 on the Pitchfork Hill (Dealul Furcii) turned the city into a symbol of the fight for justice and freedom.

It was here that on December 1st 1918 the province of Transylvania announced its unification with Romania. In 1922 Prince Ferdinand was crowned King of Romania in an act which mirrored the union achieved more than four centuries earlier by Mihai Viteazul.

Alba means white and comes from the time when the Slavics called the settlement Belgrade ("White Castle"). Iulia comes from the name of Romanian Prince Gelu (Iulius in Latin) who ruled over the land around Alba Iulia during the 10th century. The Habsburgs tried to impose the name Alba Carolina (Karlsburg) in honor of the emperor Charles VI. In 1918 the town became once again Alba Iulia.

In the old town visitors can stroll along the wide, tree-lined streets of the Habsburg citadel, one of the most impressive in Europe, to discover the historical, cultural and architectural places of interest of Alba Iulia: the Roman Catholic Cathedral – the oldest and most valuable monument of architecture in Transylvania., the Batthyaneum Library, the Orthodox Cathedral of the Reunification, the Babilon Building – housing the National Museum of Unification, the Union Hall, the Apor Palace, the Princely Palace, and the University of Alba Iulia.

For those interested in natural attractions and outdoor adventures, Alba Iulia is a good starting point for exploring the Apuseni and Retezat parks.

Landmarks

The Citadel (Cetatea Alba Iulia)

The Alba Iulia citadel, designed by Italian architect Giovanni Morando Visconti, was built between 1716 and 1735, using the Vauban military architectural system—the largest of this kind in Southeastern Europe. 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.

Alba IuliaAbout 7.2 miles 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.

The gates, valuable samples of early baroque style, have served as a model for 18th century Transylvanian architecture.

Princely Palace

(Palatul Princiar)
The Princely Palace, built in the 16th century, was Prince Mihai Viteazul's residence during the first political unification of Romanians in the 1600s. Following Ottoman and Tatar invasions the palace was destroyed. During the rule of princes Gábor Bethlen and George II Rakoczi the palace was restored but not to its previous condition. From 1700 on, the building was used as military barracks.

Opposite the palace is the Union Hall (Sala Unirii), where the unification act between Romania's other historical provinces and Transylvania was signed during the Great Assembly of December 1st 1918. 

Batthyaneum Library

(Biblioteca Batthyaneum)
In 1780, Ignac Batthyany, bishop of Transylvania, transformed a former Unitarian church into one of the most famous libraries in Transylvania. The Batthyaneum library is known all over the world for its rare manuscripts - over 60,000 documents, including the Codex Aureus (9th century), also known as the Lorsch Gospel, containing the Gospel of Mark and Matthew, David's Psalms, Codex Burgundus (15th century), Biblia Sacra (13th century) the Pentateuch from Orăştie (1850), Şerban Cantacuzino's Bible, and the New Testament from Balgrad (1648).
The first astronomical observatory in Transylvania was founded here in 1792.

Apor Palace

Apor Palace is located nearby the Bathyaneum Library. Built in the second half of the 17th century, it served as the residence of Prince Apor, and at the beginning of the 18th century as that of Austrian army leader, Prince Steinville. Apor Palace was renovated in 2007.

Historic Churches

Orthodox Cathedral of the Reunification

Alba Iulia Address: Str. Mihai Viteazu 21
Open: Mon– Sun 8 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Located near the western entrance of the citadel, the impressive Orthodox Cathedral was built between 1921 and 1923 to celebrate Transylvania's reunification with Romania. The first monarchs of unified Romania, King Ferdinand I and Queen Marie were crowned there on 15 October 1922.

Roman Catholic Cathedral

Address: Str. Mihai Viteazu 21
Telephone: 0258 811.689

The Catholic Cathedral, built in the 13th century on the site of a Romanesque church destroyed during the Tartar invasion of 1241, features one of the most impressive early Renaissance interiors in Transylvania. The light coming in from the Gothic windows helps create inside an ethereal atmosphere. The tomb of Prince Iancu de Hunedoara (c.1400 – 1456) is located in here, as well as that of Polish-born Isabella Jagiełło (1519 – 1559), former Queen of Hungary.

Museums

National Unification Museum

Alba Iulia - Union Hall(Muzeul National al Unirii)
Address: Str. Mihai Viteazul 12 - 14
Telephone: 0258 813.300
Website
Open: Tue. – Sun.: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.;
Closed Mon.
Admission charge

The National Museum of Unification, located in the Babylon Building, was originally built for military purposes between 1851 and 1853 and transformed into a museum in 1887. The museum features a prehistory section, a Dacian-Roman and feudal sections, and sections for the great battles with the Turks, the Revolution of 1848, the Unification of the Principalities in 1859, World War I, the Union of Transylvania with Romania.

Its two floors and over 100 rooms host the permanent exhibition, the warehouse, the library and the restorations laboratories. The Unification Hall, also belonging to the National Museum, was opened in 1895 as Military Casino of the Garrison in Alba Iulia, but its distinctive historical significance is given by the fact that it hosted, on 1 December 1918, the rally of the 1228 Romanian delegates from Transylvania, who decided the province's union with Romania.

Nearby Attractions

Medieval town of Sebes

Location: 9 miles southeast of Alba Iulia
Access: car, bus, train
www.romaniatourism.com/sebes.html

The fortified church in Calnic

Location: 15 miles southeast of Alba Iulia
Access: car,
www.romaniatourism.com/castles-fortresses.html#calnic

Day Trips

Corvinilor Castle in Hunedoara

Location: 53 miles southwest of Alba Iulia
Access: car, train
www.RomaniaTourism.com/Castles-Fortresses.html#Corvinesti

Turda Salt Mine and town of Turda

Where: 41 miles N of Alba Iulia
Access: car, bus

An important salt-mining town, Turda was the seat of the Transylvanian Diet during the 16th century and hence, one of the wealthiest towns in the region.
Walk along the main street lined with grand stone houses and some well-preserved baroque facades.
The Calvinist church dating from the 1400s and the late-15th century Roman Catholic Church are worth visiting;
both are featuring impressive gothic architecture.

* Salt was extracted from Turda salt mine since well before the Roman times;
in 1932 salt extraction of salt stopped as cheaper salt was available from the nearby town of Ocna Mures. From 1932 and until late 1980's some mine galleries were used for cheese aging and storage.
Today, the mine is home to one of the world's most unique underground amusement parks.
www.SalinaTurda.eu
* One mile east of Turda, one can relax at Baile Turda
where visitors can bathe in two natural heliothermic (salt-water) lakes
formed on the site of an old salt mine.

Jidvei Winery

Location: 47 miles northeast of Alba Iulia
Address: Str. Unirii 9, Jidvei, Alba County
Access: car
Telephone: 0258 881.881
www.jidvei.ro

Located in the Târnava valley ( Transylvania ), Jidevei WInery is known for its superb dry white wines.
Wine tasting and private events can be arranged at Bethlen Castle (built in 1624) in Cetatea de Baltă,
located 38 miles NE of Alba Iulia and 17 miles NW of Medias.

Medieval town of Medias

Location: 49 miles east of Alba Iulia
Access: car, train
www.RomaniaTourism.com/Medias.html

Medieval town of Sighisoara

Location: 71 miles northeast of Alba Iulia
Access: car, train
www.RomaniaTourism.com/Sighisoara.html.

Apuseni Nature Park

Location: 61 miles northwest of Alba Iulia
Access: car, train (Huedin station)
www.RomaniaTourism.com/The-Carpatian-Mountains.html#ApuseniNaturePark

Medieval town of Sibiu

Location: 45 miles southeast of Alba Iulia
Access: car, bus, train
www.RomaniaTourism.com/Sibiu.html

The Dacian Fortresses in Orastie Mountains

Location: 37 miles southwest of Alba Iulia
Access: car
www.RomaniaTourism.com/World-Heritage-Sites.html#Orastie

CITY ESSENTIALS

Accommodation

For a list of available accommodations in Alba Iulia please click here
or check our Accommodations Guide.

Transportation

Air Transportation

Alba Iulia does not have a local airport. The closest airports are located in:

Sibiu (SBZ) - www.sibiuairport.ro / 44 miles southeast
Cluj Napoca (CLJ) - www.airportcluj.ro / 62 miles north
Targu Mures (TGM) - www.targumuresairport.ro / 75 miles northeast

By Car

The recommended route from Bucharest to Alba Iulia is:
Bucharest – Pitesti – Ramnicu Valcea – Sibiu – Alba Iulia (E81)

The fastest route from Budapest (Hungary) to Alba Iulia is:
Budapest – Debrecen – Bors – Oradea – Alba Iulia (E60)

Distance from Alba Iulia to:
City Distance (Miles)
Bucharest215
Arad149
Baia Mare146
Belgrade (Serbia)231
Brasov135
Budapest (Hungary)319
Constanta350
Iasi282
Oradea126
Prague (Czech Republic)648
Satu Mare150
Sibiu45
Sighetu Marmatiei175
Sighisoara71
Suceava241
Timisoara146
Tulcea338
Vienna (Austria)471

By Train

Alba Iulia - main train station
(Gara Alba Iulia)
Address: Blvd. Ferdinand
Telephone: 0258 812.967

The railways station is located about a mile southeast of Alba Iulia Citadel.
There are a few direct trains from Romania's main cities to Alba Iulia;
most international and domestic express trains stop in Teius (12 miles north).

For a list of international trains with service to/from Romania please visit:
www.RomaniaTourism.com/Transportation.html#ByTrain

Train Travel Time from Alba Iulia to:
City Travel Time
Bucharest7 hours 45 min.
Arad3 hours
Brasov5 hours
Cluj Napoca2 hours 30 min.
Iasi11 hours 30 min
Sighisoara2 hours 50 min.
Suceava9 hours 30 min.
Timisoara4 hours

To check train and bus schedules for domestic routes please visit our
Domestic Transportation section

By Bus

Alba Iulia Bus Station
(Autogara STP Alba Iulia)
Address: Str. Iasilor 94
Telephone: 0258 812.967

Daily domestic bus service from/to:
Apoldu de Sus, Baia Mare,Beclean,Bistrita,Bucharest, Calimanesti,Carei,
Cluj Napoca, Deva, Hateg, Miercurea Sibiului, Orastie, Prundu Burgaului,
Ramnicu Valcea,Satu Mare, Sebes, Sibiu, Targu Jiu,Teius, Timisoara, Turda

Public Transportation

Several bus (autobus) routes connect Alba Iulia's main areas and tourist attractions.
For the bus routes map in Alba Iulia please visit: www.apulum.ro

Alba Iulia Taxi companies

Taxi companyPhone #
Ace Taxi0258 946
Comfort0258 944
City Taxi0258 948
Exclusiv Taxi0258 941
Florea Taxi0258 945
Nova Taxi0258 942
Unic Taxi0258 949

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Car rental

Cappopera
Address: Str. Energiei 6 A
Telephone: 0744 535.825
E-mail
www.InchirieriAutoAlba.ro

NewCars
Address: Str. Doinei 12 A
Telephone: 0745 377.574
E-mail
www.InchirieriMasiniAlba.ro

Savian
Address: Piata Consiliul Europei 32 A
Telephone: 0788 000.300
E-mail
www.RentACarSavian.ro

...

Tourist Information

Alba Iulia Tourist Information Centre
(Centrul de Informare Turistica)
Address: Str. Mihai Viteazul 15, Poarta IV A
Telephone: 0745 081.021
www.VisitAlbaIulia.com

Telephoning Alba Iulia from Abroad
International Access Code + 40 (country code) + 258 or 358 (area code) + six-digit telephone number

Pharmacies & Hospitals

There are several pharmacies (farmacie) open 24 hours a day in the city.

Emergency Hospital
(Spitalul Judetean de Urgenta Alba Iulia)
Address: Bd. Revolutiei 1989, Nr. 23
Telephone: 0258 820.825 or 821.560

Alba Iulia — Useful Telephone Numbers
Alba Iulia Area Code (Prefix) — 0264 or 0364

Archives of Alba County
(Directia Judeteana Alba a Arhivelor Nationale)
Address: Str. Mihai Viteazul 29,
Telephone: 0258 810.996
E-mail

Alba IuliaCity Hall
(Primaria)
Address: Calea Motilor 5 A
Telephone: 0258 819.462

Alba Iulia Consumer Protection Agency
(Oficiul pentru Protectia Consumatorilor – Alba)
Address: Bd. Octavian Goga 9
Telephone: 0258 811.946
E-mail

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Maps

- Romania Physical Map (Romania - Harta Fizica)
- Romania Detailed Road Map (Romania - Harta Detaliata)
- Romania Road Map (Romania - Harta Drumurilor, Sosele)
- Romania Rail Map (Romania - Harta Cailor Ferate)