IDENTIFICATION OF THE ASSET
a. Country: ROMANIA.
b. Province or Region: Hunedoara county, Alba county, historical
province of Transylvania.
c. Name of the asset: The Dacian fortresses of the Orastie
1. Sarmizegetusa Regia - the capital of the Dacian kingdom
- Gradistea de Munte
village, Orastioara de Sus commune, Hunedoara county.
2. The Dacian citadel of Costesti-Cetatuie - Costesti village,
Orastioara de Sus
commune - Hunedoara county.
3. The Dacian citadel of Costesti-Blidaru - Costesti village,
Orastioara de Sus
commune, Hunedoara county.
4. The Dacian citadel of Luncani-Piatra Rosie - Luncani
commune, Hunedoara county.
5. The Dacian citadel of Banita - Banita village, Banita
commune- Petrosani city,
6. The Dacian citadel of Capâlna - Capâlna
village, Sasciori commune, Alba
The nominated Dacian fortresses are found in the south-west
of the historical province of Transylvania.
d. Poziţia exactă pe hartă şi coordonatele
Indication of geographical coordinates:
- latitude: 45 27' - 45 49' North;
- longitude: 23 09' - 29 31' East.
Statement of significance
The civilisation of the Dacians was created by the north
branch of the Thracians, the people known in history under the name of
Getae, given by the ancient Greeks, or of Dacians, given by the Latin
authors (to be compared with Keltoi and Galli).
From the middle of the 2nd century BC the economic and
cultural flourishing, whose most authentic characterisation can be found
in the concise formula of Trogus Pompeius incrementa Dacorum per Rubobostem
regem, can be illustrated above all by the emergence and development of
fortified places and the construction of citadels defended by stone ramparts
(the Dacian fortresses of the Orastie Mountains).
While refraining from giving an even short account of the
Dacian history, still two events of major importance should be pointed
- Firstly, the creation of the Dacian kingdom under King
Burebista (82-44 BC) and the territorial expansion of the Geto-Dacian
ethnos had a strong impact upon the way Dacia was to emerge in the Graeco-Roman
historical conscience. Although divided by his successors, at first in
four and then in five parts, the state of Burebista marked the decline
of the tribal power, the crystallisation of the Geto-Dacian world under
new coherent forms, within a geographical area; a new centre of barbarian
power, based on a significant economic force and an important demographical
potential took shape (Strabon, Geogr., VII, 3, 13).
- The second event is the restoration of the Dacian kingdom
in the second half of the first century BC, under the last king, Decebalus
(87-106); smaller, but better organised, it ceased to exist after the
Roman conquest (106), when Dacia became a province of the empire.
During the time between Burebista's reign and that of Decebalus
was created the defensive system of the Orastie Mountains strongholds,
unique in European architecture. Around them and in other dwellings sanctuaries
relatively similar in form were raised, that are the expression of a strong
and prestigious religion, well established and fully crystallised.
The overwhelming aesthetic emotions aroused by the military
and sacred architecture of the Dacians, above all in the Orastie Mountains
sites, overcome the virtual interest in everyday life in the small settlements,
that used to differ only in details from other barbarian sites.
The sanctuaries, witnesses to the ceremonies of the past,
as well as the defensive system, reveal the Dacian type of spirituality,
an intermingling of a warrior's spirit and religion, and the close ties
between religion and the state (Strabon, VII, 3, 5, Jordanes 71-72).
In the time of Burebista and of Decebalus, the Dacians
began to build fortresses (citadels or strongholds). While the fortified
acropoles can be found in many settlements, fortified or not (davae),
the Orastie Mountains stand out as true landmarks of a defensive system
unique in its complexity. A vast region (about 500 km2) is pervaded by
fortresses, small forts, watch towers. The Dacians favoured the decoration
in cut stone, especially as far as military decoration was concerned,
but also in the constructive works inside the site, (sustaining walls
of dozens of anthropogenetic terraces), sanctuaries, roads, water pipes,
maybe the sacred mountain of the Dacians - Kogaionon. The site of Sarmizegetusa
can be singled out for its scale and proportions, graceful sculptural
pattern, and the sacred atmosphere, impregnated by a spirituality marked
by the belief in immortality.
The strongholds with purely military function are the object
of our study and reflect the classic phase of the Dacian civilisation,
its "golden age".
The wide range of military architecture of the Geto-Dacians
is proved by the ingenious fortification system and the materials used
to build it.
While the fortifying techniques took shape in the first
Iron Age, in the course of their historical evolution, the Geto-Dacians
took over other models or foreign patterns, and they adjusted them to
their conceptions or necessities. First of all there is this equilibrium
between the tradition and innovation that confirms the cultural and ethnic
The Geto-Dacians civilisation was connected to the cultural
paradigms of the southern Thracians, the Illyrians, the Celts (inside
the Carpathian arch), and above all to the Greeks and the Romans.
A comparison between the classic and Celtic Dacian civilisations
of the Oppidan phase reveals a few common elements.
The relationships between the two civilisations during the
period of Celtic dominance in Transylvania (4th - 2nd centuries BC), but
also during the period of Geto-Dacian expansion in the Pannonic Danube
basin (1st century BC) emerged as a tight cohabitation. They used to share
cultural concepts and practices: the iron metallurgy, the remarkable proliferation
of local coin issues from the 3rd - 2nd centuries BC, the burial practices.