Zsuzsanna Kopeczny

Resedinta regala medievala de la Timisoara / The Medieval Royal Residence from Timisoara

Jan. 1, 2013

royal residence
cercetare arheologică
reședinţă regală
archaeological research



e subject of our present paper fits in the topic of medieval royal seats, which have always been considered a priority of historical and archaeological research. Our purpose was to synthesise all documentary data about the royal residence of the Anjou period from Timişoara, corroborating them with the results of older and the newest archaeological investigations. e latter ones, carried out during the last six years, have a great importance, for many of the so far formulated ideas and theories proved to be wrong. One of the first historical corrections to be made is related to the date of the first visit in Timişoara of King Charles I of Anjou. According to the latest research, the charter which stood at the base of this affirmation, initially dated to 1307, was in fact issued a decade later. In consequence we do not have any proof of the royal presence in the region prior to 1315, when the first charters are issued by the same king from Timişoara. Despite all documentary evidence related to the presence and functioning of the royal court here, information is extremely scarce regarding the residence itself: construction, architectural aspect etc. Following older monographs, the idea took hold that the king disposed the construction of a elaborate stone castle, mainly carried out by Italian masons who followed the king to the Realm of Hungary. Archaeological excavations revealed that this theory couldn’t be further from truth. All constructions dated to this first functional period of the castle, known today as Huniade Castle, were erected exclusively of brick and wood. Stone is comparatively rare and is limited to the foundations of some of the buildings. Even decorative elements, such as door frames, were carried out of profiled bricks. e core of the residence is represented by a quadrate shaped tower. Initially it was surrounded by a wooden palisade doubled with a ditch, enclosing a much smaller area compared to the later periods. It is highly possible, though not proven yet, that the brick tower was preceded by a wooden stronghold constructed prior to the 14th century. Later on a defence wall made of brick was constructed around the keep and the residence has been extended also with a palace. Archaeological evidence shows that, contrary to all expectations, the royal residence from Timişoara had rather modest and practical architectural features. is can be partly explained with the geomorphologic configuration of the terrain, consisting of smaller and larger dry lands surrounded by watercourses and swamp. e lack of stone quarries in the proximity is another aspect to be taken into consideration, which along with the temporary character of the seat would have made greater construction and financial efforts rather worthless. If we compare the residence from Timişoara with the one from Visegrád, constructed by King Charles I after 1323, we can easily observe the similarities and the same modesty of the architecture.