Şoimoş Citadel, one of the medieval castles in Transylvania, is a piece of the past Romanian castles. Once the residence of Queen Isabella and her son, John Sigismund Szapolyai, the city played an important role in history. Despite the restorations carried out, the citadel is yet to be displayed at its true value.
Access to the citadel is made by climbing a steep but accessible slope. The climb from the foot of the hill to the citadel takes on average 20 minutes. The trail winds back slightly on the hill and ends at the citadel gate. Even in its ruined state, the entrance leaves you breathless, and you can't blame the climb for that!
Once through the gates, one enters the courtyard where the walls tell old and beautiful stories. From its former windows one can see Mureş river flowing slowly before the citadel. Lipova town along with the gently-sloping hills of the area, Arad's little Toscani, can be also seen from up here. The walls that remained standing are quite well preserved and some consolidations have been made.
The citadel that still guards the right bank of river Mures was first documented in 1278. It was built by a noble family. Since mid-eighteenth century it was donated to several families until it reached the possession of John Hunyadi.
It will be conquered by peasants led by Gheorghe Doja but, after the uprising is defeated, it returns in the possession of the nobility.
In 1788 it was officially abandoned and in the nineteenth century entered the list of protected monuments.
Elders tell the tale of three sisters, each wanting to build a citadel. One day they met at Şiria. They started talking and the first one said:
"If the good Lord will help me, my citadel will be ready tomorrow."
The second did not let herself get outdone:
"My citadel will also be done tomorrow", she said. The third one exclaimed defiantly:
"Even if the Lord does not help me, my citadel will be ready tomorrow!"
Things happen exactly as they say so three new citadels appear: Şoimos, Şiria and Dezna. However not long after the citadels crumble to the ground and the three girls turn into white snakes, each snake wearing a golden key in its mouth and a golden crown on its head.
And so they appear every year waiting for their liberator to take their crowns and their keys, so that they may transform once more into maidens and the citadels will reaper in all their splendor.
Șoimoș Citadel has both a residential and a defensive medieval architecture, and it is built on a rocky, hardly accessible hill, which offers a good view of the area it rules over. Capitalizing on its location, the citadel is equipped with more than nine meter high walls, interior towers shaped like triangles, a wide and deep moat over which was once a suspended bridge that rested on three giant pillars made out of stone. The inner courtyard of the citadel is large and is guarded by two high towers.
Besides the defensive structures, the citadel has residential premises for Queen Isabela and her son. This part is situated in the northern part of the citadel, some of the things which can still be admired today being the intact balcony, window frames and other items which were once the palace of Queen Isabela.
Visiting the citadel
Şoimoş Citadel is located on the outskirts of Lipova (Arad county). The distance from Lipova to Arad is of 32 kilometers. Access to Şoimoş Citadel is made from DN7, from the bridge crossing the Şoimos Valley located at exit from Radna / Şoimoş to Săvârşin. You will need to leave your car at the foot of the hill.
Tickets and hours
No entry fees are required and there is no timetable, the citadel can be visited anytime. It is, however, recommended to visit it in spring or summer because one can suffer accidents very easy due to the bad weather and the fact that some areas of the citadel are not secured.