COSTESTI  –  BLIDARU    (comuna Orastioara de Sus)
Situated on the small hill of Blidaru hill (705m elevation) offering an excellent view both to Valea Muresului and Gradistea Muncelului ( the Ancient Sarmizegetusa Regia) the fortress, which was purely for military purposes, is the most imposing work of this area.
To prepare the land for such construction, the peak of the small hill was levelled and widened, the smooth surfaces from inside the fortress were arranged, and a little below, on the level of the saddle making the connection with the South and West hills, there was planned a narrow terrace , the support of the yard wall. From the upper plateau, there is a good visibility on the fortress on “Cetatuia” hill from Costesti and on the towers spread on the Faerag hill crest.
The fortification was erected in two stages. In a first stage, the East irregular quadrilateral shaped yard was built and its sides were 56,61,47 and 65m. At the corners, four quadrilateral towers were erected , of which the towers 3 and 4 are outside the fortress perimeter and the towers 1 and 2 are partly inside it. The connection between the yard wall and the tower wall is organic as the blocks are tied together indicating that they were erected simultaneously.
The South –East corner tower I allowed the access to the fortress. It is a gate a chicane; once the wood gate was removed, the enemy entering the tower came up against the wall at the back of the construction and was forced to turn to the right , to a new gate opening on the fortress. The gate frames and the outer corner of the tower are decorated with vertical profiles. It is also during this stage that an isolated square tower was erected on the South –West side of the small hill while at the Southern part of the plateau, inside the fortress, there was built a square dwelling tower with the side of 7.60m and 2m thick walls. The access was provided by a door situated on the South –West side. The letter “C” carved in several blocks of the first layer was noticed and probably , it represented a sign made by the builder.
The walls of all the towers as well as the yard wall were erected in a manner common to other Dacian fortresses, too, consisting of two paraments made of stone connected by wood beams and inside there was an earth and broken stone emplecton.
Unlike the walls from “Cetatuia” from Costesti, in this case the long blocks entering the emplecton, namely the headers are missing . This comment corroborated with the unusual plan of the fortification which required big efforts for its rehabilitation led to the conclusion that there worked Greek experts, too ( particularly for the drawing up of the plan) , but Dacian specialists were prevalining and they gave the Hellenistic technique a local interpretation. From chronological point of view, the construction was dated after Burebista reign.
In the second stage, the fortress II was built, which is much more comprehensive including the first yard,too. Now, the isolated tower was connected by the walls staring from North to East. The North oriented wall ended with a tower from which another wall started and which made the connection with the tower 4 of the first yard. The entry gate is situated on the East side and is bordered by two short walls inside. Of course, the wall between towers 1 and 4 became useless and was removed while the resulting blocks being used to erect the fortress II.
On the Northern and West sides of the fortress , from the inner face of the yard wall, there start walls perpendicular to it which encounter at the back side, a wall that connect them forming thus rooms with unequal sizes. These walls were made of local stone – mica- schist slabs poorly shaped – alternating with limestone blocks, the wall appearance reminding of a chess board. The basement of the rooms enclosed by the walls included storage areas for supplies, and upstairs there were real “blockhouses” provided with ramps where war machines could be installed. The estimated height of the wall within this sector was 5-6 m. Inside the fortress, there were found the vestiges of some wood sheds which sheltered the troops. The second construction stage was dated later, very likely prior to the second confrontation with the Romans and the rushed war preparations explaining the “constructive innovations” too.
It is interesting to notice the location of the water tank situated on the hill slope at a short distance from the wall of the lower yard consisting of a quadrilateral room (8 x6.20m) at 5 m below the Antique level and with double or triple walls lined with special impervious mortar. The water tank bottom was covered by a two layer special plaster while the roof was made of limestone blocks. At about 200m above Paraul Pietros , on the road taking to Luncani from Blidaru fortress, there is a spur called “Pietroasa lui Solomon”. The place was arranged as a plateau even since the Ancient Times and thus, it was suitable for different construction erection. The archaeological investigations revealed two types of limestone plinths belonging to the some religious cult constructions. Unfortunately, we cannot specify for sure the type of the sanctuary, the plinths being removed or destroyed by the farming works of the zone. Their shape, similar to other sanctuaries, make us think of the rectangular alignment type sanctuaries.