The Orthodox Cathedral in Alba Iulia is a historical monument of national importance, being a symbol of the country’s reunification in 1918. This imposing church was built between 1921 and 1922 for the coronation of King Ferdinand and Queen Maria on October 15th 1922 and is also known as the Coronation Cathedral or the Reunification Cathedral.
The building’s architecture reflects the Romantic current which shaped the Romanian art of the last decades of the 20th century. The purpose of this current was to valorise the medieval artistic creation in the south of the Carpathians. Inside the church, on both sides of the entrance, there are the portraits of the Romanian sovereigns, King Ferdinand and his wife, Queen Maria, which emphasizes the historical significance of the edifice. Moreover, inside you can also find a fresco representing Michael the Brave, the first unifier of Romania. The church’s mural paintings have Byzantine origins, while the furniture and the iconostasis present ornamental motifs characteristic to the Brâncovenesc style.
The cathedral is surrounded by four pavilions, connected with each other through access galleries. These galleries are supported by double arcades and columns with Corinthian and Brâncovenesc capitals. The main entrance to the complex is made between the last two pavilions, being guarded by a 58m tall tower.
At the moment, the Orthodox Cathedral is the headquarters of the Orthodox Archiepiscopacy in Alba Iulia.
How to get there:
Alba Iulia is situated 70km north-west of Sibiu and 100km south of Cluj-Napoca.
By car: From Cluj-Napoca take DN1 national road and from Sibiu take E68 road to Alba Iulia.
By bus: From Sibiu, there are daily bus and maxitaxi rides to Alba Iulia. Take the bus from Transmixt Bus Station, Q7 Bus Station or from Hotel Ibis and Sibiu. The first bus leaves at 6:00 and the last one at 19:30. Approximate travel duration is 1.5h and one way tickets cost 14 – 20 lei, depending on the bus company.
From Cluj – Napoca, the buses leave from BETA Bus Station and Fany Bus Station. The first bus leaves at 6:00 and the last one at 22:00. Approximate travel duration is 2h and one way tickets cost 15 – 20 lei, depending on the bus company.
By train: Alba Iulia is easily accessible from Sibiu (4 trains/day) or Cluj – Napoca (7 trains/day).