Rehabilitation of Alba Iulia’s urban heritage transforms the city and its economy

One of Romania’s most important historic cities reaps the economic and social benefits of restoring its ancient heritage.

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The historic Alba Carolina Citadel by night. The entrenchments were previously closed to the public. ©Alba Iulia Municipality The historic Alba Carolina Citadel by night. The entrenchments were previously closed to the public. ©Alba Iulia Municipality

" Here you can find historical remains from 2 000 years ago and admire one of the largest Vauban Fortresses from Central and South-Eastern Europe. "

Mr Mircea Hava, Mayor of Alba Iulia Municipality

The main aim of this project was to revive the Alba Carolina Citadel through the conservation and rehabilitation of the urban heritage, with added value coming from the subsequent enabling of a circular economy and new economic development through tourism.

The activities carried out included conserving and rehabilitating monuments, historical buildings, cathedrals, the Vauban Fortress built on the ancient Roman Castrum together with its walls and paths, and improving infrastructure to boost the city’s tourism sector.

Large increase in tourist numbers

Between 2005 and 2014 visitor numbers to the city increased tenfold to 400 000 visitors per year. Not least, the restoration of the Citadel has been a major contributory factor to this in addition to extensive renovation of urban spaces, parks and bicycle lanes. Furthermore, the Citadel now has increased capacity for hosting both national and international events such as when the Citadel hosted two international conferences in 2012.

Prestigious award

In 2012 the Citadel was also awarded the prestigious title of European Destination of Excellence (EDEN) for its conservation work, with special mention given to the fact that the city presently boasts the largest pan European cultural organisation focused on heritage conservation.

The collaboration between local authorities, the private sector and the University has led to stronger partnerships between these parties, the fruits of which have enabled the sustainable development of Alba Iulia Municipality both in the short and long term.

The project has contributed to the creation and maintenance of direct jobs thanks to the significant increase in tourist numbers. The number of tourist dwellings has increased from 19 establishments in 2011 to 27 establishments in 2014 which reflects the tenfold increase in visitor numbers in the nine years prior to 2014.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the “History has a future in the other capital of Romania” project is EUR 44 670 000, of which the EU’s European Regional Development Fund is contributing EUR 35 878 000 for the 2007 to 2013 programming period.

Draft date

26/01/2016