The Roman fort and ancient city of Porolissum, situated on Pomăt Hill near the village of Moigrad (Mirșid commune, Sălaj county), is one of the largest and most well preserved archaeological sites in Romania that date back to the Roman period. The fort was initially built from timber with stone foundations by Trajan at the end of the second Dacian War (106 AD). Gradually, the settlement that developed at Porolissum evolved and expanded, not least due to ever growing commercial activities. When the emperor Hadrian further divided and reorganised Trajan’s Dacia, created from the Dacian Kingdom, Porolissum became the capital of the province of Dacia Porolissensis, first attested in 123 AD.
The fort was of great strategic importance. Permanently housing around 3000 soldiers from auxiliary troops transferred mainly from the neighbouring provinces, it was meant to protect the mountain pass called the Meseș Gate that lead into Barbaricum, as part of a greater defence system of fortifications on this sector of the Dacian limes. Porolissum was the most important strategic point of the Roman line of defence in the north-western part of Dacia. The initial fort was later rebuilt in stone, while a flourishing civilian settlement developed outside its walls, settlement raised by the emperor Septimius Severus to the rank of municipium.
Limited archaeological work at Porolissum was started in the 19th century, but it was not until 1977 when Romanian archaeologists began larger-scale, systematic excavations. The excavations by a number of teams are ongoing and have uncovered remnants of both the military installations and the civilian city, including public baths, a customs house, a temple to Liber Pater, an amphitheatre, an insula consisting of four buildings and a number of houses. The main gate (porta praetoria) of the stone fort has been reconstructed. This is not the only main attraction of Porolissum that visitors can see. The amphitheatre, initially built from timber with a stone enclosure and later rebuild from stone, had a capacity of 5500 spectators who could watch gladiatorial games, theatre plays or religious festivals, public executions and military parades. Other attractions from the archaeological park at Porolissum include the temples of Jupiter Optimus Maximus Dolichenus and Nemesis, the main Roman road that went along the border, the porta principalis dextra, the principia and several Roman dwellings from the civilian settlement. Furthermore, the visitors are taken back in time, especially during the many re-enactment festivals that take place at the site annually, when present day blends with the past as they witness the defence of the Roman limes in this north-western corner of the province.