About Fagaras Fortress
Fagaras Fortress (also known as Fagaras Citadel) in Transylvania, Romania, is an impressive stronghold originally built in 1310. It is now a museum which houses various artefacts.
History of Fagaras Fortress
The fortress was built in 1310 on the site of a 12th century wooden fortress which was burnt by the Tartars in 1241. It was later enlarged between the 15th and 17th centuries to create a square castle surrounded by a further thick curtain wall with five towers. After this, it was considered to be one of the strongest fortifications in Transylvania.
Fagaras Fortress boasts three floors and five towers, and also has a moat which could easily be filled with water from a nearby mountain brook during times of conflict or unrest.
Over the course of its existence, Fagaras Fortress has served as a residence for various princes and their families. This is reflected in later building works, with much of it being carried out during the reigns of Transylvanian Princes Gabriel Bethlen and György Rákóczi I. Bethlen in particular was instrumental in the Italian Renaissance style being adopted at the fortress, bringing architects and glassmakers from Italy to rebuild it while bestowing it with elegance and beauty.
György Rákóczi I doubled the castle’s fortifications, enlarging the moat, having the bastions bridged and covered, the moat paved with stones, the bridge and casemates repaired, and a guardhouse built.
Records indicate that the fortress would have had a luxurious interior during the 17th century. Sadly, little of this grandeur remains, as it was converted into a military garrison in the 18th century which necessitated removing its beautiful furniture and decoration.
In the 1950’s, during the communist era, Fagaras Fortress became a prison for political dissidents, and it is estimated that around 5,000 people were detained there, of which many died due to torture, starvation, and the cold. Between 1965 and 1977, restoration work was carried out.
Fagaras Fortress Today
Today, Fagaras Fortress serves as the Fagaras County Museum, exhibiting an array of objects ranging from Roman artefacts to medieval weapons. Exhibitions within the museum also focus on the surrounding area’s heritage, with a collection of folk crafts being a particular highlight, along with a stunning collection of icons painted on glass.
Getting to Fagaras Fortress
From the centre of Transylvania, Fagaras Fortress is reachable in around an hour to an hour and a half by car via the DN1S road. From the centre of Fagaras, the fortress is reachable in around 10 minutes via Strada Iazul Morii by foot, or 2 minutes via the same route by car.
Explore the impressive history of Romania in our guide to the 10 best historic sites to see, including the supposed home of Dracula at Bran Castle and the imposing Alba Iulia Fortress.