Fortress Hill formed as a result of the volcanic activity that took place in neogen (10-6 million years ago). Further erosion of the existing sedimentary rocks destroyed the old relief, lining out the sub volcanic body, actually a circular neck.Even though it has only 371 m, Fortress Hill dominates the surrounding regions with 100-180 m.
In a Mediterranean influenced climate, on Fortress Hill a rich vegetation with numerous endemic elements develops, for which it has been declared a reservation in 1958. Among the fauna, there are a few Horned Vipers (Vipera Amonytes). At the bottom of the hill, in the North, there are atermal bicarbonatic clorosodical mineral waters (17-18 C), used for salt baths.
In the superior part of the meadow there are the ruins of the Deva Fortress. Built in the XIIIth century, in a strategic area, at the narrowing of the Mures Valley and the river entrance in the defile between the Poiana Rusca Mountains and the Apuseni Mountains, the Deva Fortress was one of the most powerful fortresses of Transylvania.
It’s first documentary attestation is in 1269, in an act issued by Stefan, the king of Hungary, where “castrum Deva” is mentioned. The citadel functioned between XIV-XV centuries as a voievodal residence and valach district.
Beginning with 1453, Iancu de Hunedoara transformed it in an nobiliar castle. During the Turkish invasions of 1550, 1552 and 1557, the fortress was sieged several times and occupied in 1557 by sultan Soliman the Great, who gave it to queen Isabela of Hungary and her sonIoan Sigismund.
The citadel served in the XVIth century also as a prison, this is where David Ferencz, the founder of the Unitarian church, and Moise Szekely, leader of the transylvanian nobles hostile to the imperial power. From 1686, it’s under austian rule, domination maintained until the XIXth century.
During the 1986 uprising, it has been sieged by the peasants lead by Horia, Cloşca and Crişan. At the end of the XVIIIth century, the fortress loses it’s strategic importance, abandoned for some time. It gets it’s importance back only in 1817, when emperor Francisc I, passing through Deva decided to restore it.
During the 1848-1849 revolution, the austrian garrison inside, finding out about the revolutionary victories against the imperial army, mines the walls. In august 1849, the explosion of the ammo deposit blows up the walls.
Today, the belts of fortified walls still remain with square or round towers, the gates, and in the center, ruins of the nobiliar palace (remains of vaultings in gothic style with renaissance influence) and the guard room.
The Deva Fortress still draws visitors, through it’s ruins as well as through the dominant position of the city. The access is done easily following one of the two trails that climb from the city park. Fortress Hill is also an important view spot with a wonderful panorama of the city of Deva, Mures Valley and the Apuseni Mountains.