Deva

Deva is a west-central city of Romania 80,000 inhabitants in the historic area of Transylvania, on the left bank of Mures River, close to the ancient mining and mineral centers. City of Deva is well connected with other parts of Romania, with the 22 kilometers asphalted road out of the 82 km of Orastie-Sibiu highway, but also with the high-speed road between Orastie and Deva. Located in the northern part of the city, Castle Hill of Deva was formed in connection with volcanic activity that took place in the Neogene (10-6 million years ago), created atop of  a volcano in the Poiana Rusca Mountains. The geographical structure of the Poiana Rusca Mountains has allowed for ore deposit exploitation since the earliest times – uranium, iron oxides and sulphurs. In the east of Poiana Rusca Mountains there were discovered over 50 caves and potholes.

Although high at an altitude of 371 meters, the Deva Castle Hill dominates the surrounding regions, detaching itself from the meadow trenchant of the Mures River, and was in 1988 declared a nature reserve. The Poiana Ruscă Mountains are a component of the Western branch of the Romanian Carpathians, providing diverse landscapes of sharp peaks, large plateaus and broad summits, steep slopes, small and medium size caves, but also presence of elements of the traditional rural culture and numerous archaeological sites from the Geto-Dacian, Roman, 2nd 3rd century AD. Alike some other territories in Transylvania, the area of Poiana Ruscă Mountains has been cultivated with orchards and vineyards, fully benefiting from favorable morphological, soil and climatic conditions. The Poiana Rusca Mountains are accessible from a number of urban centers in less than two hours – Timișoara, Arad, Alba Iulia and Deva.

Plenty of trails and extensive forests with trekking tracks which make the Poiana Ruscă Mountains well worth visited, especially for the cross-country cyclists and hikers… In the Poiana Rusca Mountains a wild bison population was established in recent years, that is demographically and genetically viable by reintroducing a total of 100 animals at the Poiana Ruscă and Țarcu Mountains Natura 2000 sites, that are now freely roaming in the wilderness of the Romanian Carpathians….

In ancient times Deva was a Dacian fortress of the name Decidava. Numerous artifacts dating from the Bronze Age, found in the area indicate that Deva region has been inhabited since at least 450 BC. Nowadays, Deva is the capital city of the Hunedoara county, an area with an extensive and fascinating history. The name Deva is thought to come from the ancient Dacian word “dava” meaning fortress or citadel. Thanks to its geographical location in relation to the main tourist attractions in Romania, Deva is preferred as a starting point for various tourist routes: Deva – Sarmizegetusa site, Retezat Mountains Natural Reserve, resorts with thermal waters and baths Geoagiu Vata de Jos, Tebea, Field’s Neag Monastery Prislop Cincis, Huniazilor Castle – Hunedoara, the Dacian Fortresses Orastie Mountains, the Gold Museum in Brad, Densus Church, etc..

Fortress of Deva (Cetatea Devei). Visit hours 08:00 – 20:00. Deva Fortress was built in the mid-13th century at the top of the Fortress Hill, on the place of a Dacian settlement and is mentioned in a document known as Castrum Deva. The Deva fortification worked as a military fortress from 1273 until 1687 when it was occupied by Austrian troops for the second time. The Deva fortress was during its long history in possession: Hunedorestilor Family, Francis Gesthy, princess of Transylvania (Gabriel Bethlem, Stefan Bethlem, Gh Rakokzi I, A. Barcsay). The walls of the Deva fortress were besieged often of peasant uprisings culminating with the siege in 1784 during the rebellion led by local rebels Horia, Cloșca and Crișan. At the end of the 13th century, the Deva fortress has lost strategic importance and was left in decay until 1817 when it was restored by Emperor Francis I. During the Revolution of 1848, the Deva fortress was occupied by Austrian soldiers and was destroyed in an explosion of the guns store. Over the years, the Deva fortress has undergone many repairs and changes. Deva Fortress complex consists of a central building on top of the hill and the three chambers equipped with gates and reinforced with defensive towers. The Deva Fortress walls that can be seen now belong to the period of the 15th-17th century. At the bottom of the Deva hill there are mineral waters (a-thermal bicarbonate chlorosodical waters, 18 C) used for salt baths. You can reach the Deva Fortress on foot in some 45 minutes by climbing the 113 steps from the city park and then following one of the two alleys which are surrounding the fortress hill. The Deva fortress can be reached also by cable car. The cable car eases access of tourists to the Deva Fortress. Entrance fee is 10 RON.

Museum of Dacian and Roman Civilization in Deva (Muzeul Civilizației Dacice și Romane). Working hours 09:00 – 21:00. It is the Hunedoara County Museum, which houses reliefs from Ulpia Traiana and Micia, forge, bronze pieces, costumes, tools, weaving, ceramics, glass icons. The museum is housed in the Magna Curia – the historical monument building, built in the Renaissance style, which was the residence of a Transylvanian prince from 16th century. In 1621 was in the possession of the prince Bethley, when the building underwent Baroque changes. Bethlen Castle or “Magna Curia” with the Museum of Deva is the oldest preserved building monument of Deva. In 1582, Governor Francis Geszty built a house at the foot of the Deva fortress, where used to live rulers of Sigismund Bathory, Basta, Stefan Bocskay, Gabriel Bathory, and from 1613 until 1621 Gabriel Bethlen, who actually erected the Magna Curia building in 1621. Some changes have occurred in the first half of the 18th century, when it received relevant baroque appearance by adding a monumental stairs. On the front wall there is a solar clock. The Deva Museum collection contains items and artifacts of archaeology (prehistoric, Dacian, Roman, pre- Medieval, early medieval); reliefs from the Ulpia Traiana site, mining tools, blacksmith shop, medical instruments, parts bronze, numismatics, history, fine art, decorative art, old Romanian and foreign weapons and fire, ethnography: port, tools, basketry, pottery Botiza, icons on glass, natural sciences (botany, paleontology, entomology, vertebrates, mineralogy), and the Library with 40,000 volumes. The Deva Museum was reorganized in 1970 and 1981 and restructured in 1991.

Old Orthodox Church Tower in Deva was declared a historic monument, the tower is the only portion left around from an old church built in 1640. The Orthodox church of Deva was burned in a fire, and the tower was rebuilt in 1727. After Magna Curia Castle and the Fortress, the tower is the third oldest building in Deva. In front of the tower there is a stone inscription written in Cyrillic letters.

Franciscan Monastery of Deva was built in the 18th century by the Bulgarian Catholic colonists brought to Deva by General Steinville – Deva fortress commander. Franciscan Monastery in Deva is built in Baroque style, from stone and brick, with interior decoration in relief and statues belonging to the late baroque. It was partially restored and now the Saint Francis Foundation works in this Roman Catholic monastery.

Saint Nicholas Orthodox Cathedral in Deva was built in 1861 by the initiative of Metropolitan of Transylvania, Andrei Saguna. During 1927-1930 it was renovated and painted in the Byzantine-Roman style. Inside, there are some icons from the 17th century. The old painting of the church has been executed between 1929-1931 by painter Alexandru Pop, director of belle-arts Cluj-Napoca. The iconostasis of the Saint Nicholas Cathedral in Deva is carved in oak and was executed by the Trades School in Deva in 1940. The three bells were cast in material of war at the expense of the family Dr. Petru Groza. The cathedral was completed with asbestos roof and tower and cupolas from metal sheet. The exterior is decorated with cross shaped reliefs. In the yard of the cathedral was erected the Heroes Monument.

Annunciation Orthodox Cathedral of Deva is located on the Liberty Avenue and was built 1936-1939 by project of architect Neugebaer. Saint Anthony Roman-Catholic Church of Deva was built between 1936-1938 by plans of architect Neugebaer in Ceangăi district. Reformed Church in Deva was built in the early 20th century in the old Reformed Church area, built originally in the 14th century and demolished in 1899. The earlier church belonged to Greek and then Roman Catholic worship, it became Reformed after 1545. Built of red brick, has a clock tower. Synagogue of Deva was built in the 19th century, probably around the year 1897 as shown in an inscription located on the steps of one of the stairs, after the project architect Ignatius Mahler. Between 1905-1907 was rebuilt in the form in which exists today. It was renovated in 2003-2004 with funds allocated by the City Deva. Vedel Shamuel is the oldest known rabbi in Deva. In 1939 there were approximately 900 Hebrew in Deva, but during the war, in 1941 the Jews of the work centers and rural workers were evacuated and most of them came to Deva. In 2005 there were 45 Hebrew in Deva. The synagogue of Deva is declared a historical monument.

Decebal’s pedestrian statue is situated in the City Park, and the Decebal’s equestrian statue is set in front of the House of Culture of Deva. The largest of the lakes, Oasa lake features a volume of 136 mil. and spreads over an area of 454 ha. The Oasa lake forms sequences by dams on the Sebes river.

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