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Would you consider Orăştie as the cultural capital of Hunedoara County?

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Culture, heritage, traditions

Culture, heritage and traditions

Updated: Thursday, June 14, 2012 11:54 AM

   Culture, heritage and traditions

A walk through the historic center of Orastie reveals a true architectural jewel which lists Saxon and Romanian style buildings, and monuments, along streets George Cosbuc, Ion Creanga, Mihai Eminescu, Octavian Goga, Nicolae Iorga, Gheorghe Lazar and Luminii.

    Orastie’s medieval look is largely kept to this day. The most important area of the town is marked in the mid 19th century, the Central Market. Three other markets are Wood Fair, Hay Fair, and Cattle Fair. In 1835 the city had about 30 streets. On the eve of the 20th century, with the public electrification, the city leadership has a number of measures to change the appearance of the streets, the buildings and drainage ditches.
    On September 27, 1900, the city magistrate publishes an order requiring that within two years "house fronts facing the streets or roads, not to be fenced nor to the street, nor to the road". Also, house enclosures must be removed by the owners within 10 years. Following these measures resulted the urban plan of the city currently visible. Houses bordering the Central Market, built largely in the 19th century, retain the main characteristics of Saxon architecture: massive construction, with 1-2 levels, with large gates hiding the yards from public eye. The upgrading the city continues after the Unification of 1918. In 1921 measures are taken to arrange the "corso" by broadening and settlement of benches.
    Starting with the second half of the nineteenth century, in the city are being built several houses with unique architecture, belonging to wealthy Romanians who receive approval for relocation in central areas. Among them, Dr. Cornel David House, pharmacist Nicolae Vlad House,  construction entrepreneur Nicolae Parau House, Dr. Ion Mihu House, House Dr. Aurel Vlad, teacher Ion Branga House,  Vulcu House and others are constructions with unquestionable artistic and architectural value, but mainly memorial, which have improved the municipal heritage of Hunedoara.

 The ruins of the ancient Orastie fortress are located in the center of the town within the current defense walls. Archaeological research within the old city reveals the existence of the old Saxon cemetery, the Rotunda (the first Christian edifice of stone, with an estimated 1000 years old) and a dungeon, along with other ruins of the fortifications destroyed on the occasion of the great Mongol invasions of the 13th century. The fortress has a medieval fortification system, mentioned in 1544 by Sebastian Munster and in the 19th century by Albert Amlacher, describing the city as badly damaged as a result of the otoman incursions of 1438 and 1479 (battle of Campia Painii). The fortress is rebuilt each time to be again besieged, plundered and burned, and in the 19th century, being severely affected by the earthquake, is strengthened and rebuilt at the express request of the Prince of Transylvania.  

 Work on the Orastie fortress start in 1300 with a stone rectangular enclosure, protected by a moat, with several retractable wooden bridges. During this period is being built the entrance tower, which in 1400 is partially rebuilt and developed by the raising of bastions. In 1572 the city is entrusted by Prince Stefan Bathory to the Saxon University of Sibiu (central administrative authority of the Seven Saxon seats, including Orastie) who begin strengthening work to support the fortress in a longer siege. Stone walls are reinforced with interior arches, and are built new towers and bastions with different purposes: storage for gunpowder, torture place, food storage, bread oven. Last restoration takes place in 1735 before losing its military role: the moat is filled with dirt and several houses are raised by annexation to the walls.
    The center is occupied by the Reformed Church, built in the 13th century (the oldest functioning religious edifice of the city), and Lutheran Church, built in the 19th century. Since 1992 restoration work begin for the Orastie fortress.