Sarmizegetusa Regia is one of the oldest, most important and most mysterious historical attractions in Romania. The capital of ancient Dacia formed the centre of the Dacian defensive system long before the Roman conquest from the 2nd century AD. Its remote location increased its strategic, political, military, economic, and spiritual importance. Founded in the second half of the 1st century BC, the capital was strongly fortified with stone walls and had direct access to vast iron resources.
The ancient site began with moving of the capital from Argedava to Sarmizegetusa Regia by Burebista in the Cent BC and reached its greatest development under King Decebalus up until the end of 1st Century, before the Roman conquest from the early 2nd century AD. The victorious Romans extended the fortifications three times larger than before but abandoned the area after building their new capital at Ulpia Traiana Sarmizegetusa.
Very few ruins remain today from the ancient Dacian capital and are the result of archaeological research from the 20th century which revealed three differing structures: the sacred area, the fortifications, and the civil housing area. The discoveries included sophisticated water supply systems, ceramics, thousands of iron objects – indicate the life of a flourishing ancient community.
Most of the remaining areas are modern reconstructions rather than revealed architecture, some fragments of the fortification walls from Roman times and a 200 meters segment from the paved road that linked this part to the sacred area. The ruins of seven temples, two circular and five rectangular, and one monumental altar for sacrifices shed some light on the rich spiritual life of the Dacians.