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The Fourth Gate

Known formerly as the “Bishop’s Gate”, the Fourth Gate is located on the western side of the fortress, in the intermediate zone of the defensive wall connecting St. Michael and the Trinitarians’ bastions. Having one entrance for vehicles, with a mobile bridge on the outside, it allowed access to the interior of the fortress after passing through two other gates located on the western side (the sixth and fifth gates).

The tunnel of the gate, covered by a Baroque vault, pierces the defensive wall from east to west towards the mobile bridge. The entrance is marked by a monumental portal bearing decorations that are similar to those used on the gates located on the eastern side. The entablature is supported by two profiled pilasters, topped with Ionic capitals bearing volutes and vegetal wreaths. Beneath each pilaster is a pedestal (stylobate) sustaining a shaft or column; these act as pedestals on which the Atlantes who prop up the upper part of the portal stand.

The entablature consists of a slightly profiled architrave, a continuous plain frieze and an accolade-shaped cornice shielding the centrally placed double-headed eagle which holds in its claws the sceptre and the sword: power symbols, representing the insignia of the Austrian Empire. The triangular spaces with curved hypotenuses above the entrance are decorated with bas-relief representations of weapons, flags and other ancient military equipment (armour and helmets). The middle stone of the arch bears a mask, which could be a representation of Wrath (Furor). Exploding bombs are represented ornamentally on a small prism aedicule placed on the cornice, above the pilasters. Inside the portal on both sides of the passage are that storey’s garrison rooms for the guards.

The fourth gate, just like the other three gates on the eastern side, displays decoration belonging to a vast propagandistic program intended to glorify Emperor Charles VI. It is at the same time a valuable monument of the eighteenth century Transylvanian Baroque period. (C.A.)