After a satisfying walk through Brașov in the early morning, we set off for Sighișoara, which is not a long drive. The sky is bright, and the road is open. At one point, we spot a castle, majestically dominating the surrounding landscape from high up on a rock massif. We are looking for a suitable place to stop and have a better look - and end up walking the streets of Rupea. We soon realise that the better option would be to just go there, especially when we read that this is one of the oldest archaeological sites of Romania, with the earliest settlements dating back more than 7000 years ago. So it is that we drive up the hill on which the citadel was built. After walking around the corner to see up close how the walls of the citadel rise up straight from the basalt rocks below, we enter the compound through the gate, also known as the Wolf's Mouth.
Before us, we see a large walled courtyard, with the inner fortress rising above us on the top of the mountain on which the citadel is built. There is a fountain in the middle of the courtyard, which provided the water supply for the citadel. The citadel actually consists of a lower, middle, and upper part, where the latter is obviously the oldest. After the Dacians had their fortress here, called Ramidava, they were conquered by the Romans, who subsequently destroyed the place. There is nothing Dacian to see here. The Romans then called it Rupea, after rupes, Latin for rock. Positioned at a strategic point between Wallachia, Transylvania, and Moldavia. It was expanded several times, with the upper part built in the 13-14th century, the middle part in the 15th and 6th century, and the lower part in the 17th century. It served as shelter against the Ottomans and the plague, was destroyed by fire and a storm, and ultimately abandoned. During the communist era in Romania, there were plans to destroy the ruined citadel so the basalt rock could be mined, but the citadel survived this as well, and was restored to much of its former glory in the early 2010s.
In fact, when we walk in an anti-clockwise direction along the western wall, we see seven defence towers and buildings, and above us, the walls of the inner fortress. We walk through a large gate on the southern side; the oldest part of the citadel is now on our left. There are still higher basalt rock formations here, on which high walls were built. The restored buildings (there is a Powder tower, throne chamber, chapel, among others) are pretty bare from the inside: the citadel of Rupea is mostly interesting for the outside. When you look out over the landscape below, with far-stretching views in all directions, it is easy to see why even in the Paleolithic, people would settle at this very spot, dominating the wide surroundings. We are happy to have taken this small detour, and are now ready to continue on our way towards Sighișoara, not knowing that we will again adjust our plans on the go. The joy of spontaneous travel!
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Rupea citadel (Romania). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Rupea citadel. Read more about this site.