In May 1622, the Transylvanian Diet (the deliberative assembly) met in Cluj and approved the plan of Prince Gabriel Bethlen to establish a high education institution. The nobility wanted its establishment in Cluj, but the will of the prince was decisive, as the institution which was named Academicum Collegium seu Gymnasium Illustre was founded in Alba-Iulia. The aim of the Prince was to transform Alba-Iulia into the "Heidelberg of the East". Wanting to ensure a high quality education, the prince invited professors from universities in Western Europe.
In 1658 the College was destroyed during the Turkish-Tatar invasion, then was moved in Cluj. In 1662, Prince Apafi Mihály I of Transylvania (1661-1690) relocated the College in Aiud, on the domains donated by Gabriel Bethlen.
In 1704, the College was devastated by Austrian armies. In 1711 the rector of the College, Pápai Pariz Ferenc, obtained - with the agreement of King of England - a material support from Christians in Britain consisting of 11,000 sterling pounds for rebuilding the school. Of these funds and interest were built most of the buildings that currently compose the Bethlen Gábor College.
In January 8, 1849, Aiud - considered a cultural and scientific center due to its college - was sacked and destroyed by the Imperial Armies, during the 1848 Revolution. It was the most terrible destruction in the history of Aiud and of the College.
Since its establishment until 1859, the College was considered an Academic institution with three faculties: philology, law, theology. After the moving of the faculties in Cluj in 1869, respectively 1895, Bethlen Gábor College became a High School, with a pedagogic section (since 1858).
Following the nationalization in 1948, the College lose its properties and the Reformed confessional character was suspended. In 1976, it became a technical high school. Since 1990, it was transformed again in a theoretical high school, in November 1993 was called 'College', with kindergarten, primary, secondary and high school classes (with sciences, theological, educational profiles).
On the 1st floor of the main building is the Museum of Natural Sciences, the oldest of its kind in Romania. His first record is in 1720.
Images from Aiud Online.