Ziua Națională a României

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Or in other words, Great Union Day, Unification Day, The National Holiday of Romania, I think you get the point.

This year I got to spend the holiday in a really cool way. School was cancelled on Friday because of it so Thursday night I headed out to Ocna Mureș to visit Megan. Ocna is a convenient 45km away from Alba Iulia. Alba Iulia is the capitol of Alba county and also the location where the resolution to join the greater parts of Romania occurred back in 1918. Because of the importance of its location, the city hosts a day long festival within the confines of the citadel in the middle of town. There were many parades throughout the day, various ceremonies, and many stands selling your typical Romanian street food of mici, beans, gogosi, and my all time fav, vin fiert (mulled wine).

We were lucky enough to meet up with my friend Dudu who is one of the initial architects involved in the restoration of the citadel and he was gracious enough to spend the day with us and not only show us around the citadel but also teach us a lot of interesting facts about it. Here are some of the facts that we learned that day.

During the Austro-Hungarian empire, after Vienna, Alba-Iulia was the only city that was given the right to print money

The citadel is made into a star shape and was built on top of an old Roman fortress.

The star shape is very unique and it is the biggest citadel built by the architect(i forgot his name)

The city got its name from two places. Alba means white in Romanian and all of the walls were made from a white limestone and Iulia is derived from the Hungarian regent that used to rule the area called Gyula.

There were old Masonic ruins found in the present day hotel that sits within the walls of the citadel.

There was also a torture room

One of the other great things that I got to experience with Dudu was meeting with a book restorer. Dudu took us to meet his friend Alex who showed us where the documents were signed and the actual documents themselves. He told us how they managed to recover and digitize all 6,000 pages of the original documents. Alex then took me and Dudu into the workshops located within the history museum and showed us some 500 year old books that him and his team were in the process of restoring and how the restoration process takes place.

The day was filled with a lot of fun facts and great times spent with friends despite the freezing temperatures and rain.

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