With a width of 27 meters, the moats of Alba Iulia Citadel represented the second line of the defensive system. The first line was provided by seven bastions. A complete tour through the moats has a few kilometers.
In the past the moats were very effective as a defense mechanism. Although they’re usually depicted as wide, deep bodies of water, the moats of Alba Carolina were often simply dry ditches. Usually some moats surrounded a castle, a fortification or a building, while other moats might have enclosed several buildings or even a small town to provide it with a line of defence. Moats filled with water were frequently supplied by a nearby source of water, such as a lake, or river. The structures without moats were vulnerable to attacks from below, since the attackers often found the only way to take the inhabitants by surprise was to tunnel underneath the walls and attack from there. Moats, however, made the process of tunneling under a castle nearly impossible. If necessary, the passage of the aggressors may be hampered by flooding the area, but the main advantage for the defense was that enemy soldiers in ditches became an easy target for the soldiers at the top of the ramparts.
Alba Carolina is a bastionary citadel, a fortification build in a style that evolved during the age of gunpowder when the siege artillery came to dominate the battlefields. Its walls were further protected from infantry attacks, as previously mentioned, by the elaborate moat system. As time went on, the moats were covered with soil for decades. Recently, following a modernization project, there were excavated huge amounts of land in order to bring to light the moats and restore the original shape of the citadel. On this occasion access bridges were built over moats.
The moat system which provided defense for the citadel once, now is replaced by paths for walking and cycling. This is the perfect place where people of all ages come to relax or to have a romantic date. But if all of these are not enough and you want something more, at certain times of the year there are plenty of activities to be done. From jazz and classical music festivals, to culinary workshops, shows presented by chefs, aerobics programs, outdoor cinema, playgrounds for children and sport events.
The moats of Alba Carolina represent a monumental park organized within a military defense system which combines in a balanced way green spaces and wooden bridges with brick walls and thousands of years of history.