Căpâlna Dacian Fortres Ruins

Căpâlna Dacian Fortres Ruins

Monuments and Archaeological sites

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The Dacian Fortress of Căpâlna is located in Sasciori Commune, Capalna Village, Alba County, near Sebeş.


The access can be done on DN 76C from Sebes to Căpâlna Village and from here you must follow the indicator to the fortress; the next part is a climb through the forest for about two miles.


The Dacian Fortress of Căpâlna is included in the UNESCO Patrimony and it is the second monument in Alba County under the Protection of the United Nations Organisation, the other one being the Peasant Fortress of Calnic.


The location on the Gargalau Hill or the Castle Hill, as locals call it, gives a dominant position over the Sebes Valley which it guards from the height of the hill with steep slopes. It is known that the Dacians used the landforms to their advantage against the attackers.


The fortress is part of the fortifications chain which defended Sarmizegetusa, the administrative centre of Dacia. It was built most probably during Burebista ruling and it was the residence of the Dacian noble.


However, the Căpâlna Fortress had a quite short life of about 50 years. The Romans laid siege to it in both Dacian wars. After the first war, from 101-102, it lost some of the walls as a result of the conditions in which the peace ended. Before the second Dacian-Roman war from 105 -106, the Dacians rushed to reinforce the fortress, by raising the walls that had to be demolished just three years before. The outcome of this last Dacian-Roman war was fatal for the fortress, which, consumed by fire, was completely destroyed.


There is no written recording from the pre-Roman age that should tell the history of this fortress and the most remote noting dates since the Middle Ages, when apparently the ruins of the Dacian fortress were used as observation post.


Even if no written evidences were found, the authorized archaeological excavations have unearthed pottery objects, both hand and wheel made, decorated with geometric figures, bronze ware, silver, iron and bronze ornaments, tools, but also Roman coins, which offer a huge amount of information about the daily life of fortress inhabitants.


The richness of the site, but also the lack of involvement by the post-Revolution authorities turned the Dacian Fortress of Căpâlna into a Mecca of the treasure seekers. They did not bother with thorough digging, but they dug deep pits wherever the metal detectors indicated, so the area is full of such craters.


Presently one can still see the ruins of the once splendid walls, but also the remains of a tower which also served as a dwelling place. The items found here by archaeologists can be admired at the Museum of Sebes and at National Union Museum in Alba Iulia.

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