The historic tension between the Romanians of this area and their Hungarian overlords is symbolized in ALBA IULIA, 14km north of Sebeş, by the juxtaposition of the Roman Catholic and Orthodox cathedrals in its citadel. This hill top was fortified by the Romans and then the Romanians before the Hungarian ruler, István I, occupied it and created the bishopric of Gyulafehérvár – the city’s Magyar name – in 1009. Only after World War I did the Romanians take power here and build their own cathedral. The town is dominated by its huge citadel, shaped like a wonky star; in effect the upper town, this has been spectacularly restored in recent years. The lower town has been tidied up since it was partly cleared for “rationalization” in Ceauşescu’s last years, and is home to a scattering of low-key Art Deco buildings.

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