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The Medieval Citadel in Tg. Mureş

The citadel of the city was built between 1605 – 1653 with the permission of Prince Bocskai Istvan. It had 7 bastions united by 900 metres long walls made of brick.

The first bastion was built in 1620 and the citadel was finished in 1653. The citadel was surrounded by moats of 10 metres length and 8 metres depth.

Of the old fortification, only “The Small Tower” remained on the side towards Avram Iancu Street and the kept tower juxtaposed to the current tower of furriers. On the 10th of August 1601, on St. Lawrence Day, mercenaries of Basta destroyed the city and its fortification as a punishment for the inhabitants having helped Michael the Brave. A new destruction took place on 30th of May 1602, when 400 mercenaries of Moise Székely, led by Némethi Gergely entered the city. In August 1602, the inhabitants of the city, at the initiative of Borsos Tamás, started reinforcing the destroyed fortress by making wood palisade.

It is the last citadel of urban type, being built with the help of its inhabitants, whom, with the purpose of “building the citadel”, had paid for several years amount of money, including providing some working days through the city guilds. The first bastion, of the gate (1613) still preserves the medieval defence systems (trap holes, pitch holes, water filled moats). The tower of Tanners (1620) resemble from a construction point of view to the bastions of the urban fortifications in Eastern Germany and Austria.

Once Transylvania was occupied by the Austrian army, the citadel became a garrison, one by one, all buildings being demolished, new garrisons replacing them (in the middle of the 18th century). The monument lives through its technical side: thick walls of 1.20 m, or even 1.40 at the basis of the bastions, oil holes within the citadel walls, besides the elongated firing slots allowing different shooting angles or slots in the shape of reversed key for light canons. This defensive system was completed by a trap hole for the unwanted, placed in the bastion of the gate, had water filled moats with mobile bridges and a guard path so that soldiers make their guard, elevated at 1.40 m and sustained by arches made of brick with wooden pillars.

The responsibilities of the citizens can be learnt from the way they used to defend their bastions starting from their organisation on guilds: Tanners, Butchers, Furriers, Coppers, Locksmiths, and Tailors, each guild having built and defended one bastion. This important work is completed by 1652, whereas in 1657, 434 local craftsmen carried out the fitting work inside the citadel. Nowadays, the citadel became a live monument due to its countless manifestations organised here by Tg. Mures City Hall.