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Impressive fortifications of Dacians

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Remains of buildings in Sarmizegetusa Regia
Remains of buildings in Sarmizegetusa Regia

Dacians were a people living in what is now Romania and part of Hungary. To this day, we can admire the remains of buildings and fortresses they built in the Orăștie mountains, which are part of the Carpathians. They prove how well-developed the Dacians were.

The impressive structures that have been discovered by scientists constitute a total of six Dacian fortresses included in the UNESCO list. These include the former capital of the Dacian state – Sarmizegetus Regia. The city was built at an altitude of 1,200 meters above sea level. in the 1st century BCE. The Dacians were really skilful builders, and their structures were made of wood and stone. Most often, large stone blocks were used for construction, with very even walls, which were reinforced with beams from the inside. It is worth mentioning that despite the fact that the Dacians did not know the mortar, their structures were extremely durable.

There were fortresses and bastions at the tops of the hills. In addition, the Dacians used extremely extensive systems of fortifications (ramparts, palisades, stone walls) that were difficult to obtain.

Over the years, the extremely extensive system of fortresses in the Orăștie Mountains has guaranteed the Dacians’ safety. However, with the two wars of Emperor Trajan, at the beginning of the 2nd century CE, the fortresses were conquered and the buildings were destroyed. The fall of Decebal’s rule and his suicide caused the Roman empire to take over the Danube and create a new province of Dacia. The Romans, however, did not plan to use the old Dak fortresses. They were destroyed and the building material obtained in this way was used in the construction of new centres. Roman cities were built in the vicinity of the old fortresses – e.g. the Ulpia Traiana Sarmizegetusa centre was established 40 km from the old capital of the Dacia.

  • Oltean Radu, Dacia – The Roman Wars: Volume I Sarmizegetusa, 2021

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