Uniforms have a special charm and people love them. They are easily recognizable because some are designed to be brand ambassadors, others are created to garner respect, or simply to awaken curiosity and admiration. Whether people go abroad, or just navigate on the internet, they are attracted by the changing of the Queen’s Guard at Buckingham Palace, the Swiss Guard at Vatican entrances, or the Alba Carolina Guard.
The Citadel’s Guard is a powerful element in the restoration process of the Alba Iulia Fortress because the presence of the guards gives an extra bit of authenticity to a place that already has a special atmosphere, a place whose walls are built of bricks and stories and where each edifice has behind it centuries of history. In this way, the spectacular parade of the Guard brings to life the walls of the largest citadel in Romania.
The uniforms worn by the Citadel’s Guard soldiers differ depending on the season, although they are all inspired by the Austrian military uniforms from the middle of the 18th century. The uniforms are also specific to each category of soldiers: cavalry, artillery, infantry. Moreover, each category has its own commander and its own flag.
At the time when Alba Iulia was the capital of Transylvania – and because of it, was under the control of the Imperial army, later on of the Austro-Hungarian army or in the end of the Romanian army – the Citadel distinguished itself in the area by hosting numerous military ceremonies and parades.
In memory of those times, from May to September, the Changing of the Guard ceremony takes place every day at 12:00 at noon, but it becomes more festive especially on Saturdays when, after the soldiers honour the South Gate of the Roman Castrum, the flag is erected in front of the Eugene of Savoy Bastion. Then the soldiers head for the artillery platform where a new flag is being raised and where they start the firing their cannons in honour of the Citadel’s flag and the guests of Alba Carolina.
Tourists are allowed to take pictures of the Citadel’s Guard, thus keeping memories of pleasant moments from their journey through the capital of Transylvania.
Photo: Romulus Opriscan