The Fortress of Tălmaciu

The fortress used to be called Landskrone, translated as “The Crown of the Land” or “The Crown of the Country”. The people of Racovița called it „Cășile Urieșilor” (The Giants’ Houses). It was a historical monument until 1990, when for some strange reason, it was taken off the list of the Ministry of Culture and since then no one bothered to “re-classify” it. Nowadays, the place is called “at the antennae”; mobile antennae were installed here, telephone companies taking advantage of its altitude (518m). Boița Weather Point is also located here, belonging to CMR Transilvania Sud.

 Brukenthal National Museum archaeologists have been revealing, for some time, this fortress’s little secrets. Landskrone was a border fortress. It was built by Saxons during Louis the Great, who was also called “The Hungarian” (son of Charles Robert of Anjou, the one defeated by Basarab Voda at Posada), between 1369 and 1370. It had a strategic role: due to its position, one could observe any movement happening in the country of Olt, in Sadu and Sibiu. It was ruled by Hungarian nobles from Tălmaciu, who came into conflict with King Matthias Corvinus, the latter ordering in 1453 that the entire defense system come under Saxon administration. Similarly, the castellans of the “rebellious noblemen’s nest” (as they appear in a document of the time) had strained relations with the Cistercian abbey of Cârța and its possessions, wanting to take on the monastery’s income, income that came from Romanian villages in the area. Despite King Matthias’ repeated orders of demolishing the fortress, it is mentioned as functional in documents from 1480 and 1520. It is possible, however, that the city has remained a strategic point though it being party demolished. The area seems to have been used as a place of observation, from the Dacian period until the twentieth century, according to archaeological material discovered. The Citadel may be a landmark for those crossing Tălmaciu, even if the road to the “Landskrone” is difficult by car. However, it is worth it, because the panorama that opens before your eyes when you reach the top is, without exaggerating, a unique one.

The secrets buried in the ground throughout history are now brought to light by “diggers” led by archaeologist Dr. Petre Beşliu Munteanu from Brukenthal National Museum. After a discussion we had during a “walk” through the citadel, I learned that the archaeological heritage is extremely interesting and valuable.

Previously, fragments of Dacian pottery have been discovered, proof that the strategic advantages of this place had been exploited since Dacian times, although there weren’t any traces of buildings from this period.

Now archaeologists have uncovered what would have been the home of the chatelaine and his loved ones, left unfinished (wrongly considered the citadel’s chapel), known as the “Palast”, rectangular in shape (14 x 6 m). This construction may be the reason the citadel was mentioned in a document stating that the fortress had not been completed, the reference being made to the Palast, and not the defensive walls.

Many documents issued by the royal chancery and kept at the St. Nicholas Monastery in Tălmaciu disappeared when the abbey was burned down by Prince Vladislav Vlaicu in 1369. Another element revealed by the excavations is the alleged chicanery entry (a place where the fortification walls meet, leaving a space that can fit two people).

The fortress also had a round tower to the east. They also uncovered pieces that fell from the wall (results of the “demolition” ordered by the king) and traces of construction works dating from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries: a concrete layer that had a vent, possibly a lookout. Amongst other objects that were found here, we mention a number of bricks used in the construction of the tower, pottery, a carpenter’s drill, an arrowhead, nails used in the construction process and an interesting, beautiful ornate object, whose destination could not yet be determined.

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