Cisnădioara Citadel. 8oo years of history

When we finally came out of the forest, there they stood, right in front of us, the ruins of one of the oldest citadels in Transylvania, set up on a steep hill above the village.

Sometime between 1180 and 1200 a cleric from these parts ordered the construction of a fortified chapel dedicated to Saint Michael. This is how the Cisnădioara Citadel began to take shape. It seems that the village underneath was founded after the year of 1223 and was inhabited by bondsmen. The citadel’s purpose was to protect the villagers from the constant attacks of the country’s invaders. In the 17th century when the Turks burned down the village and in the 18th century the Imperial troops devastated the houses, the inhabitants took refuge behind these stone walls.

In the center of the small village we found an old market place where we left our car. Following the singns we reached the first gates of the citadel, right at the foot of the rocky hill. We paid a small fee and climbed up the stairs to the Cisnădioara Citadel. After a quick warm up on the steep alley we walked through a small arched entrance and found ourselves standing in front of the church, shaped as a roman basilica. The interior is empty and tall, incredibly quiet and peaceful.  Our footsteps were echoing in the walls and we could almost hear our own thoughts. The altar has been turned into a memorial shrine for the soldiers who died in 1916 in the battles near Sibiu, during World War I. We went round the chapel and along the crenelated walls. The plateau in the middle of the citadel offers an incredible view over the surrounding mountains, Făgăraș and Cibin, as well as the forest covered hills and neighboring villages.

 

Here and there we found piles of round shaped stones laid on the ground. There was once a tradition in Cisnădioara. Before the wedding, each groom had to carry one round shaped stone up into the citadel. They would all be kept and used for defense in case of an attack. Nowadays this is just another lost custom. Vegetation has already grown over the last stones that have been brought here who knows how long ago…

 

 

 

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