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Sarmizegetusa Regia

Grădiștea De Munte Village, Romania

Hidden in the dense forests of the Carpathians, Sarmizegetusa Regia is one of the oldest, most surprising and mysterious historical attractions in Romania. The capital of ancient Dacia more than two millenniums ago, this site was the core of the Dacian defensive system before the Roman conquest from the 2nd century AD. Today, it’s one of the six Dacian fortification systems included on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites and a must-see for history enthusiasts.

Sarmizegetusa Regia was not only the capital of the ancient Dacian Empire but also the greatest of all Dacian sites discovered until now. Its geographic position — in an area with difficult access even today – increased its strategic, political, military, economic, but also spiritual importance. Founded in the second half of the 1st century BC, the capital was from the start of urban space, strongly fortified and with direct access to vast iron resources.

Three distinct structures were discovered during the archaeological works that started in the 20th century: the sacred area, the fortifications and the civil housing area on the eastern and western terraces. While the artifacts brought to light – water supply systems, ceramics, thousands of iron objects – indicate the life of a flourishing ancient city, few ruins remain today from the ancient Dacian capital.

Sarmizegetusa Regia reached its maximum development under the rule of the mythical King Decebalus, before the Dacian-Roman Wars from the first decade of the 2nd century AD when the city was partially destroyed. After the wars, the Romans extended the fortifications that surrounded a surface three times larger than before, before building their new capital at Ulpia Traiana Sarmizegetusa.

You can still see fragments of the fortification walls from the Roman time and a 200 meters segment from the paved road that linked this part to the sacred area. The ruins of seven temples, two circular and five rectangular, and one monumental altar for sacrifices create an unparalleled view of the rich spiritual life of the Dacians.

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