Alba Iulia is the site of the ancient Apulum, founded by the Romans in the 2nd cent. A.D., and destroyed by Tatars in 1241. It was the seat (16th–17th cent.) of the princes of Transylvania, of a Roman Catholic bishop, and of an Eastern Orthodox metropolitan.
From 1599 to 1601, Alba Iulia was the capital of the united principalities of Walachia, Transylvania, and Moldavia. It was the site (1918) of the proclamation of Transylvania's union with Romania and of the coronation of King Ferdinand in 1922.
Today, many Romanians consider Alba Iulia to be the spiritual capital city of Romania.

Situated at 270 m altitude, distanced at 380 km from Bucharest, 100 km from Cluj and 241 km from Arad, the city lies in the perimeter formed by the rivers Ampoi and Sebes and the top of the Apuseni Mountains that mount mildly and lithely towards the terraces of the river Mures and the Transylvanian hills.

The city lies on the first of the Mures's terasses, which forms an 8-10 km long and 2-4 km large field towards East.
The Western side of the city is surrounded by the forested crests of Metallic Mountains out of which 630m high Mamut Mountain stands out. Towards East, across Mures River, there are the red clayey hills from Transylvanian Hills, penetrated by the rivers Sebes and Mures.
In the South one can see the tops of the Sebes Mountains, with Surianu Mountain (2245) and Patru Mountain (2130).
The city is crossed by the E80 highway, which represents the link to Deva and Cluj Napoca.
The territory of Alba Iulia municipality is crossed by the 46°41' Northern Latitude parallel and by 23°36' Eastern longitude meridian.