The city of Abrud is made up of the city proper and of three villages. These are divided into two urban villages: Abrud-Sat and Soharu and one village, Gura Cornei, which is located outside the city proper but is administratively subordinated to the city.
Although first recorded only in 1271 in the form terra Obruth, the name of the town might have derived from a supposed (not attested) Dacian word for gold, *obrud. The Romans erected a small fortification here in the 2nd century AD. It was part of the defence system of the gold mines nearby, in "Alburnus Maior" (nowadays, Roşia Montană), but it was abandoned in the 3rd century. The town's modern name reflects a characteristic vowel shift (from o to a) of the medieval Hungarian language.
Abrud gained town status in 1427, during the Middle Ages. In 1727, the leaders of a revolt gained control of the town. Another serfs' revolt began in the area in 1784 with Horea, Cloşca and Crişan as leaders fighting the Austrian Imperial forces, Abrud being captured by the uprising's members on 6 November, before the revolt was crushed by the Austrian army.
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