The name Deva is considered to come from the ancient Dacian word "dava" meaning fortress (e.g -Pelendava, Piroboridava, Zargidava etc). Other theories trace back the name to a Roman Legion, II Augusta, transferred around Deva from Castrum Deva, now Chester in Britain. On medieval maps, Deva (Diemrich or Schlossburg in German and Déva in Hungarian) appears as Deva or Dewan.
Documentary evidence of the town's existence first appeared in 1269 AD. Under Voevode (Duke) John Huniady (Iancu de Hunedoara or Ioan Corvinul in Romanian, Ioannus Corvinus in Latin, Janos Huniady in Hungarian), Deva became an important military and administrative centre. Partially destroyed by the 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.
Today, Deva is the capital of Hunedoara County, with almost 100,000 inhabitants, including the subordinated villages. Mining, food, civil engineering and power industries are present here. Also, a private University of Ecology and Tourism was established here in 1990, and the academic centres of Timisoara and Cluj-Napoca have opened branches in the city. 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 thirteenth century.