"The Fairies' Fortress", Covasna county

Dacian fortress.
History of researches.
Excavations conducted by Al. Ferenczi (1942 - 1943), C. Daicoviciu (1949), V. Sārbu and V. Crisan, 1998.

Site description. The fortress, standing on a 930 m high mountain, was built both in order to function as a centre of the Dacian communities in this zone, and for controlling the comings and goings in and from south-east Transylvania towards south Moldavia and east Wallachia.

The works were impressive, as they included both the realising of a terraced surface of almost 10000 m2 ,, and the raising of some fortifications for defence or for sustaining terraces of about 700 m in length.

The works included the cutting of the promontory, on which stood the acropolis, and the raising of 3 - 4 terraces, on the north, west and south sides; the eastern part is very steep. The differences in level, as compared to the acropolis, as well as those between terraces, are 7 - 8 m.

The acropolis, that used to include a surface of about 700 m2 , had a circular fortification on the very basis of the plateau and a sustaining wall on its basis. That makes an impression both by the sizes, and by the complicated building mode.

The 1st terrace, with a surface of about 3000, used to be bordered by a 2.20 - 2.50 m wide wall, made up of two faces of the wall and emplecton. For the faces of the wall were selected the bigger stones and with some of the sides flat, while as binding matter, loam was used; for the time being wood was not found in the wall structure. In some zones, the exterior face of the wall is preserved on a height of 1.20 - 1.50 m, made up of 10 - 12 courses.

The 2nd terrace includes a surface of over 3700 m2. Its fortification is almost 250 m; its vestiges are impressive, and they are present almost along the entire length of the terrace. It remains to be seen if it is a wall or a stone-inforced rampart.

The 3rd terrace, situated only on the west and north sides of the mountain, is smaller, and the fortification, of about 150 m in length, includes a surface of about 150 m2 .

The Dacians might have raised also other terraces up to the foot of the mountain, as suggested by the preliminary observations.

Chronology. The archaeological materials, collected up to now, seem to date the fortification to the 1st century BC to 106 AD. If it is more difficult to accurately specify when the fortification was raised, it is more certain to date its end - the beginning of the 2nd century AD, on the occasion of the Daco-Roman wars. Anyhow, a destruction previous to the Roman conquest was noticed at the wall on the 1st terrace, that could have taken place in a period hard to specify. The presence of some relatively numerous fragments of Hallstatt vessels on the 1st terrace suggests an organisation of the mountain from the first Iron Age. It is worth mentioning the sporadic presence of fragments of pottery vessels from the Middle Bronze.

The ecological disaster of November 1995 led to the almost total fall of the trees, as they caught between their roots parts of walls and complexes, as well as the items in the archaeological layer.

The archaeological researches at that monument are necessary, both because they are rescue works, and for a better understanding of the Geto-Dacian civilisation in south-east Transylvania. At the same time, a possible conservation and restoration of the fortifications and complexes will constitute a great tourist attraction.

180. Covasna - the "Fairies' Fortress" - view over the mountain on which stands the fortress.
181. Covasna - the "Fairies' Fortress" - view over the fortress towards the Covasna resort.
182. Covasna - the "Fairies' Fortress" - view over the acropolis and the 1st and 2nd terraces; one can notice the consequences of the ecological disaster of November 1995.
183. Covasna - the "Fairies' Fortress" - view over the 1st terrace and acropolis.
184. Covasna - the "Fairies' Fortress" - view over the 1st and 2nd terraces, from the acropolis.
185. Covasna - the "Fairies' Fortress" - view over the acropolis, from the 1st terrace; one can notice the sustaining wall and the fortification on the margin of the acropolis;
186. Covasna - the "Fairies' Fortress" - the western profile of section S1 , from the 1st terrace, one can notice the two stages of destroying the wall from the margin of the 1st terrace.
187. Covasna - the "Fairies' Fortress"- the wall at the margin of the 1st terrace, seen from the interior.
188. Covasna - the "Fairies' Fortress" - the wall at the margin of the 1st terrace, seen from the exterior.
189. Covasna - the "Fairies' Fortress" - the wall of the 1st terrace, in the south-east sector, seen from the interior.