The city of Deva, view from the fortress.

The Deva Fortress in Transylvania

Published on December 26, 2021 by Zoltan Nyaradi

Located in the heart of the historical region of Transylvania, Romania, Deva Fortress is a magnificent testament to the region’s rich history and breathtaking landscapes. The fortress, located atop a steep hill overlooking the city of Deva, dates back to the Middle Ages and has seen numerous rulers, battles, and cultural changes throughout its history. Today, it stands as one of the most popular tourist attractions in the area, attracting visitors from all over the world who come to explore its fascinating past and capture its stunning beauty through their lenses. As a fun fact, the fortress was built on the top of a former volcano.

The entrance into the citadel is free but keep in mind that you can visit it only between the visiting hours mentioned below:

  • From 1st of May to 30th of September – Everyday from 09:00 – 21:00.
  • From 1st of October to 30th of April – Everyday from 08:00 – 20:00.

A short history of Deva Fortress

Deva Fortress was built in the 13th century by the Hungarian King Béla IV as a strategic military stronghold. The fortress was part of a network of castles and fortresses that were built along the borders of the Hungarian Kingdom, to protect it from invading armies. Deva Fortress was built on a hill that was difficult to access, which made it an ideal location for a military stronghold.

Over the centuries, Deva Fortress played an important role in the region’s history, witnessing numerous battles and events that shaped the destiny of the area. During the 16th and 17th centuries, the fortress was occupied by the Ottoman Empire.

Let’s explore the fortress!

Unfortunately the inclined lift for some reason didn’t work when we traveled to Deva. So our second option to reach the fortress was to drive up on some steep streets to a smaller parking lot on the Cetăţii street. This parking lot is actually very close to the main entrance into the Deva Fortress.

Deva fortress inclined lift which connects the city with the fortress.

After approximately 10 minutes, we arrived next main entrance. To our luck, we managed to find a parking place. Keep in mind that the parking lot is not that large.

The main entrance into the Deva fortress.

As you pass the main gate, on the right side you will find the wooden stairway which actually helps you to reach the upper levels of the citadel. These stairs can be considered as a shortcut as well.

Wooden stairway near the main entrance into the fortress.
Paved street near the defense walls.

The other option to reach the upper levels of the citadel is to walk on a paved road near the defense wall. Not far from the main gate you will come across Gate II. This gate has a rectangular plan and initially it was built out of local rock and bricks. From there you have the chance to admire the beautiful Mureș Valley and the surrounding mountains.

Gate 2.
The Mureș Valley including the A1 highway.

Continuing our walk towards the upper levels of the fortress, we arrived at the inclined lift station. From there the scenery is even more amazing. The entire city of Deva is visible. To be honest, it is a very beautiful vantage point over this charming Transylvanian city.

Deva cityscape
St. Nicholas Orthodox Cathedral between the flats in Deva.
The Deva fortress with the city in the background.
The upper part of the fortress.

After you cross this small wooden bridge and walk through the Caesar Gate, you basically reached the highest point of the Deva fortress. Over here you can only follow the path next to the defense walls. When we visited this place, the ruins located in the Enclosure III were not opened to the public.

The wooden bridge in front of the Caesar Gate.

After a long walk we finally reached the large Romanian flag which is visible from the city as well.

Large Romanian flag.
Old ruins in the upper part of the fortress.

From Enclosure III to Enclosure II you can take a shortcut using the semicircular ladder.

The semicircular ladder which connects the northern enclosure.

Getting to Deva Fortress

The easiest way to reach it is by car, as there are several major roads that connect the city to other parts of Romania. If you’re coming from Bucharest, you can take the A1 motorway, which is a well-maintained road that will take you to Deva in around five hours. There are also buses and trains that connect Deva to other major cities in Romania, but the journey can be longer and less comfortable.

Once you reach Deva, you can park your car near the fortress or take a taxi to the top of the hill. The fortress is located on a hill that overlooks the city, and the climb to the top can be quite steep and challenging, especially if you’re not used to hiking. However, the effort is worth it, as the views from the top are simply breathtaking.

Things to do near Deva:

I would like to add below 5 important things to do near the city of Deva:

  • Explore the famous Corvin Castle which can be found in the city of Hunedoara. This city is only 17 km away from Deva.
  • You can explore the old Dacian ruins in Sarmizegetusa Regia.
  • In the area, you can also visit the old Roman ruins of Ulpia Traiana Sarmizegetusa located in Sarmizegetusa.
  • Explore the beautiful Cinciș lake. This lake is very close to the city of Hunedoara. I highly recommend to visit this place as well.
  • Not far from Deva, near the city of Hateg, you will the Bison Reserve where you will have the chance to admire these large animals.
  • Densus stone church – this is one of the oldest church in Romania.