The Dacian fortress in Băniţa has a peculiar configuration. The fortress leverages one of the most important points that dominate the Jiu Valley. Built during the reign of Burebista and fortified during the Dacian-Roman wars, the fortress was intended to protect the road to the capital of Dacia, Sarmisegetuza Regia. The Dacian citadel is built on an isolated cliff, with very steep slopes. Access to the upper plateau was only possible through the north side. The access road was barred by a wave of earth and stone, built during the reign of King Burebista, which was later replaced with a stone wall during Decebalus. This wall crossed the slope that allowed access to the fortress from one end to another. Climbing was only possible through a well fortified monumental gate. Because the rocks in the area were brittle, the Dacian builders brought boulders from the Sântămăria Orlea – Hațeg area. Behind the stone wall, there was a walled enclosure built following the murus dacicus technique.
Because the rocks used for construction were brought from a considerable distance, and access was only possible by hiking a difficult slope, the city walls are thinner than other Dacian fortifications. The citadel of Băniţa has thick walls about two metres wide. The city is dominated by a rectangular terrace, with sides of 38 by 20 metres, above which rises a tower-house, probably the residence of a military aristocrat.
The tower dominated the surroundings and allowed observation of any armed enemy approaching the city of Băniţa. Residential and defense areas were spread on three successive terraces, laid out on an east - west axis. The excess water was drained by two channels dug on the southern and western sides of the fortification. During Decebalus a fighting platform was designed in the north-west, which supported the war machines with which the besieged fought back the besiegers. Also, the access road was barred by a defense tower difficult to conquer.
A Dacian Thesaurus
Archaeologists have found an important treasure in the area of Băniţa consisting of tetradrahms imitations minted on the island of Thassos, as well as a Roman Republican coin and a silver Dacian bracelet. The elevation of the Băniţa Citadel is 904 metres and the hill is surrounded by the river Băniţa.
Tourist info: The distance Bucharest - Băniţa is 325 km and from Cluj-Napoca and Băniţa it is 222 kilometres.
Photo credit: www.banita.ro