Porolissum Fortress (Cetatea Porolissum)

Archeological sites, especially those well-kept, carry an important value because they are statements of ancient cultures and they allow individuals to get a glimpse of the way of life of their ancestors. Porolissum represents one of the best preserved archeological sites on the Romanian territory.

The construction was erected by the order of Emperor Traian with the purpose of blocking the passageway between the Carpathian Mountains and Dacia Porolissensi. But this region had flourished in the following years, being transformed into an important commercial center. Due to this development, the scope of the city had shifted in as much as it had become the capital of the region.


The initial construction was erected on a stone foundation, with the superior part being made out of wood. The structure could contain within its walls as much as 5000 soldiers. There are some aspects left shrouded in mystery. For instance, the name attached to the citadel has Dacian resonances, but in fact the archeological diggings conducted in the area have not revealed any Dacian settlements to have preceded the Roman fort.

As the region experienced a considerable growth, the citadel was refurbished, the new edifice being erected from stone. While there is no consistent evidence in this regard, there is a general belief that the reconstruction process occurred during the reign of Emperor Marcus Aurelius. It was around this time that human settlements started to encircle the citadel. In the year 124, the basis of a new province was set by Emperor Hadrian who had appointed Porolissum as the administrative center of the new location.


But after the quick expansion and the flourishing period it traversed, the citadel was abandoned. This occurred more than a century later, in 271, under the ruling of Emperor Aurelian. But even so, the data collected by the archeologists who had examined the area closely revealed that the citadel was not completely deserted. Only those who have founded the construction had left it behind, but soldiers still remained behind to protect the citadel. Remains of Dacian settlements were found, but the investigations conducted revealed that these were constructed at a later period, after the citadel already reigned proudly over the valley. Also in the region, archeologists found plates which had engraved on them the names of the most important individuals of that time, names of Daco-Roman origin.


The site began being explored at the beginning of the ‘70s, but the diggings continue to this day. The ruins of the city and of military installations have been revealed, such as public baths, a temple, amphitheater and several dwellings. At present part of the stone wall has been reconstructed and diggings are underway in the forum of the city. To the north west of the main entrance, lies a small Dacian fortress.

The area is definitely worth visiting due to the fact that it contains several markers of ancient civilizations. Tourists will be able to see the innovative developments that existed in the construction of such edifices in antiquity. The methods used were definitely impressive if the constructions are still standing after so many time, even if only partially.

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