Rupea Citadel: One of Transylvania’s top Medieval fortress
Rupea Fortress is one of the most interesting medieval castles in Transylvania, Romania. The name of the citadel comes from Latin rupes meaning "stone". Guarded by thick strong walls, the impressive and huge fortress is located on top of of 120 m-high basalt massive and it is perfectly visible from the scenic road Sighisoara-Brasov.
It is a refuge castle, also known as a peasant citadel with four areas reinforced with polygonal towers, two interior courtyards and three defence towers. Rupea Citadel has the form of an ascending spiral (snail shell). The castle is built on four premises: Upper citadel, Middle citadel and Lower citadel.
Rupea Citadel is one of the oldest archaeological sites in Romania, the first signs of human settlements dating from the Paleolithic and early Neolithic. There was a fortified city in the Dacian time. According to the legend - Decebal, the last Dacian King, took his life on the hill. He cut his throat with a single move of his knife so that he wouldn’t fall prisoner in the hands of the Romans. After the conquest of the area by the Romans established a fortress there. The Roman castra Rupes was part of the Roman fortification belt defending the commercial area and trade routes. The first documentary attestation of the citadel dates from 1324, under the name castrum Kuholm.
In Medieval times, people in the area started rising thick walls to defend themselves against invasions of Turks. In the 15th century, Turks conquered the fortress and robbed it. Later on, in 1643, Rupea Fortress burned down. At the end of the 16th century, as locals managed to reconstruct some of the parts. In the 18th century, the fortress’ walls were used as the refuge for people. Historians think that over 400 people had lived inside those walls. In 1790, the fortress was forever abandoned after a strong storm that damaged buildings strongly.
After the WW II, the citadel was in a terrible condition, with only one of the defence towers standing. The idea of restoration was abandoned, and the communist authorities planned the demolition of the citadel in order to exploit the basalt that forms the hill. After the fall of the communist regime, the citadel has undergone a comprehensive restoration process. Between 2010 and 2013 were restored all the seven towers and the peasant homes.
Rupea Fortress is now a major point of attraction for tourists coming in the area. It is visited each month by more than 10,000 tourists. Restored Rupea Fortress can easily compete with some other fortresses in Romania and in Europe. Located on the scenic road between beautiful cities of Brasov and Sighisoara, is a definite must on site in your travelling plan in Romania.
From Rupea you are just a short drive away to the scenic village Viscri. The old Saxon village of Viscri with old buildings and refugee church (UNESCO heritage site) is the most known and most scenic tourist attractions of Transylvania (see: Viscri - picturesque Saxon village in Transylvania).
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