In the middle of the country, there is a diamond shaped city, called Alba Iulia. I've never had the chance to visit this place until last week and I didn't have any kind of expectations. I was just opened to see what the city brings to the table. I have to say that I quickly get bored, I've seen a lot of amazing cities in Romania and around the world, and I meet wonderful people every day of my life. But something happened...
On a cold winter night, I breathed the strong air of the city and I fell in love. I felt the smiles of the people and their kind words deep in my heart. I was just like a daughter who has returned home. Even my photographer and partner, Vlad Semen, said: "these people are... too nice, too polite, I've never seen something like this."
Like in a fairytale, I found that this amazing citadel is glowing in the winter sun, with sounds and colors that melted my heart. The people are crazy smart, are full of passion, love and good will. And they're making some unbelievable projects for their beloved city, Alba Iulia.
"In the early times, Alba Iulia was a Capital in the Roman Empire, a medieval capital of Transylvania, the first capital fort, the last act of unification of all Romanian lands and the place where Romania was born as a modern state in the 20th century. Once a capital, always a capital! The size just shows you small or big. People and facts tell the real thing. Alba Iulia has always been in the center of events. During two thousand years, the history decided: Alba Iulia is The Other Capital of Romania" - and the City Hall makes tremendous efforts to put this splendid city on the map of the world.
But let's discover why this city is the other capital of Romania and why it has always been different:
1. Alba Iulia has a partnership with a major consultancy group: The World Bank. No other city in Central & South Eastern Europe has.
2. Alba Iulia obtained over 50 millions Euro in EU funds for rehabilitating the largest citadel in Central Europe. This never happened before in Romania.
3. Alba Iulia has a professional city branding, a brand manual and a long term pro-made marketing strategy. 320 cities in Romania have not.
4. Alba Iulia is a European Destination of Excellence and a Royal Capital.
5. Municipality of Alba Iulia is getting the community together in a way nobody in the world has done it before - the city has a Guinness World Record for the largest group hug.
6. Alba Iulia has a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence and might be the most interesting capital you've never heard of.
7. Alba Iulia has international partnerships with Oslo, Zaragoza, Roma, Genova, Vilnius, Liverpool, Berlin, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Warsow and many more.
Welcome to the largest citadel in Romania and from South and Eastern Europe:
The Orthodox Cathedral
For more information, please visit the Alba Iulia's website (english).
More photos here.