Bucharest system of fortifications

One of the most well-tuned system of fortifications in eastern Europe, a historical legacy, lies in the dirt around the capital. Built on order of King Carol I, between 1882 - 1894, the defense system around Bucharest - 36 forts and batteries - was thought to protect the city in case of attack and to house 30,000 soldiers. Over one hundred years since then, only 30 buildings have survived.

The history of fortified belt begins with the arrival of King Carol I on the Romanian throne in 1866. The work began in 1882, the projects being undertaken by Belgian General Henri Brialmont, one of the most appreciated of the time military engineers who designed the fortifications in Liège, Namur, Antwerp. "A strengthened Bucharest would increase the military importance of Romania, so it will be able to refuse to participate in a war which would not agree, or to request advantages, which could not otherwise claim", claimed then General.

Batteries and forts are arranged every two kilometers on the ring road. First were built the forts - Chitila, Mogoşoaia, Otopeni, Jilava - then the rest, then came the batteries. King Carol I paid a fabulous sums for this public project: the equivalent in lei / gold of almost 620 million Euros. World War I played a prank on the glorious future of the fortifications. A month before the start of the war, minister Ion I.C. Brătianu decided by a secret order, the disarmament of the units. There are voices who claim that the decision was made after the German troops were able to obtain the construction plans.

Today, what was intended to be defensive glory of King Carol I was particularly dust. Of the 36 fortifications, today remained only 30. Some are flooded, as is the Jilava fort, others were either converted in warehouses (the battery in the courtyard of the National Film Archive) or remained in the wilderness (The battery 14-15 and battery 9-10 from Măgurele at the entrance on Sun's Highway).

Rehabilitation of the system of fortifications, almost unique in Europe, could bring many benefits in terms of financial capital. "Before their introduction into the touristic circuit, we need to solve the transport system and greening the area. To do this would be a wonderful tourist route", claimed the Director of Administration of Monuments and Travel Heritage.