||THE FORTIFIED TOWN OF ARAD
The fortified town of Arad is one of the most important historical monuments existing in the
West Side of the country.
Built in the second half of the 17th century, the fortification was considered to be a very
important military building. We are going to motivate the reason of its existence.
In the first half of the 18th century, the Austrian-Turkish wars were over and the Habsburgh
Empire occupied Transylvania, Banat, and other counties. For security reasons, the Emperor
considered it important to have fortified buildings in the recently occupied territories.
The office from Vienna established a plan, which foresaw the erection of fortified towns
in the inner area, near the border, towards the South and the East. Among them, attention
was to be given to the Oradea, Timisoara and Arad fortresses. The Empress Maria Theresa
and her son, Josef II, approved the plan for the Arad fortress.
According to this plan, a new fortress with modern equipment corresponding to the contemporary
military technique was to replace the old one. The new fortress was to be located on a
peninsula of the Mures (on the left side) which was offered by the local authorities to
the military unit. Because of its building, the town was supposed to be moved in the Zimand plain.
The refusal of the population, and the many appeals sent to Vienna, forced the withdrawal of the
plan to relocate the town.
The erecting of the fortress began in the summer of 1763 under the co-ordination of the
architect Harsch, using the Vauban system. It has a shape of a double star with 6 corners,
strong defence walls, casemates and other military buildings.
The work lasted 20 years with short pauses brought about by the lack of a workforce;
the fortress was finished in 1783. After its completion, the fortress housed military
units and Arad was changed into a military, political center of the Austrian domination.
The history of the fortress in almost 200 years of life has a lot to do with different
important events. During the revolution of Horea, in 1784, the fortress was an important
place that the Austrian army mobilised from.
During the wars of Napoleon, French prisoners were present in the fortress. After the
revolution of 1848, the casemates of the fortress were used as prisons for many participants
of the revolution; one of them was Eftimie Murgu. Towards the end of the 19th century, the
fortress turned into a barracks when its strategic conception became less important.