Deva is a Romanian city situated in the historical region of Transylvania on the left bank of the middle course of the Mureş River. It is the capital of Hunedoara County and has around 80,000 inhabitants, including subordinated villages. In ancient times it was a Dacian fortress called Decidava.
The name Deva is considered to come from the ancient word dava, meaning "fortress" (e.g. Pelendava, Piroboridava, Zargidava etc). Other theories trace the name to a Roman Legion, the Legio II Augusta, transferred to Deva from Castrum Deva, now Chester (Deva Victrix) in Britain. On medieval maps, Deva appears as Deva, Dewan or Diemrich.
Documentary evidence of the city's existence first appeared in 1269. Under Voivod John Hunyadi, Deva became an important military and administrative centre. Partially destroyed by the Ottoman Turks in 1550, it was afterward rebuilt and the fortress extended. In 1621 Prince Gabriel Bethlen transformed and extended the Magna Curia Palace (also known as the Bethlen Castle) in Renaissance style.
Deva is dominated by Citadel Hill, a protected nature reserve because of its rare floral species and the presence of the horned adder. Perched on the top of the hill are the ruins of the Citadel built in the 13th century.