Sarmizegetusa Regia – The ancient site of the Dacians in Grădiștea de Munte

The capital and the most important military, religious and political center of the Dacians before the wars with the Roman Empire from the 2nd century AD. Erected on top of a 1200 meters high mountain, the fortress, comprising six citadels, was the core of a strategic defensive system in the Orăştie Mountains.

Sarmizegetusa Regia contained a citadel and residential areas with dwellings and workshops as well as a sacred zone. Distinct structures were discovered during the archaeological works.

Sarmizegetusa Regia, the great circular sanctuary / Image source

The fortress, a quadrilateral formed by massive stone blocks, was constructed on five terraces. The sacred zone — among the most important and largest circular and rectangular Dacian sanctuaries – includes a number of rectangular temples, the bases of their supporting columns still visible in regular arrays. The most enigmatic construction at the site is the large circular sanctuary. It consisted of a setting of timber posts, surrounded by a timber circle which in turn was surrounded by a low stone kerb.

An artifact referred to as the “Andesite Sun” seems to have been used as a sundial and may have resulted from the Dacians’ exposure to Hellenistic learning in geometry and astronomy.

The artifacts brought to light – water supply systems, ceramics, thousands of iron objects – indicate the life of a flourishing ancient city.

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