In the Middle Ages, Brasov was one of the main citadels of Transylvania. With 12 m high guard walls, almost 2 m thick and 3 km long, whose construction started back in the 14th century, the citadel of Brasov was also surrounded by a rich network of water-filled ditches that were meant to defend it. After the rebellion of the Curutes, in 1711, the ramparts of the bourg were battered down in view of widening the settlement. The battering down of the walls led to a mode consolidated intercommunity between the Romanian and German population.
Currently, from the past fortifications are preserved, on the north side wall, the Blacksmiths’ Bastion (Bastionul Fierarilor) (erected in the 15th-16th centuries), the Butchers’ Tower (Turnul macelarilor) and the Gate’s Bastion (Bastionul Portii). From the east wall there still exists the Ecaterina’s Gate (Poarta Ecaterinei) (1559), one of the main approaches to the Citadel. On the south side, the enclosure wall with the Weavers’ Bastion (erected in the 15th-16th centuries), the Rope Makers’ Bastion and the Drapers’ Bastion are preserved. The Weavers’ Bastion is the best preserved among them all and it is considered by the specialists as a unique construction of the type in our country. It’s a construction with holes for throwing melt tar, and on the ground floor there are tower holes. Two little towers used to represent the observation points from where the enemy’s actions were monitored. Inside the walls there were galleries with three or four floors for defenders. In a nearby building the museum called “The Brasov Citadel and the fortifications of Tara Barsei” was opened in 1950.
Among the defense fortifications located outside the walls of the old Brasov, today one can see several observation towers: White Tower (15th century), Black Tower (15th century) and the Little Fortress (16th-17th centuries).
In the Middle Ages, Brasov used to be a famous commercial town, where Romanian, Greek, Armenian, Turk, Italian, Polish and German merchants gathered. That was the time when inns began to develop, whose construction imitated that of a fortification: high walls, interior yard and a single approach.
Brasov is one of the most important railway junctions of the country, therefore you can get here by train from any point o Romania. Also, it is accessible from Bucharest on road E60; from Pitesti – on DN73 / E574; from Sibiu – on E68; from Targu-Mures – on E60; from Bacau – on E574, and from Buzau – on DN10.
Tourist attractions in Brasov:
Black Church (Biserica Neagra)
Address: 2 Honterus Yard
Attraction point of Brasov and one of the most important gothic monuments of Transylvania, the Black Church began to be built in the 14th century and was finished in the 15th century. The construction is remarkable due to the exterior sculptures. Inside are preserved fragments of the mural painting of the 15th century and an important collection of oriental carpets of the 17th-18th centuries. Also, the senators’ (members of the town’s council and of the administrative management of the Brasov town) lecterns, dating back to 1696, are preserved. The benches on which parishioners sit now were installed in 1937, together with the central heating of the Church.
The evangelic church was seriously affected by the big fire in 1689 that also destroyed a large part of Brasov. After this tragic event, the smoke blackened building was given the name of "Black Church" (Schwarze Kirche - in German). The remaking of the church lasted for over 80 years.
Currently, the Black Church remained the largest cult building of Romania, being 90 m long, 25-37 m wide, and having a cross tower 65 m high.
The Black Church can be visited as a museum, daily between 10.00 and 17.00. The entrance ticket costs 4 new Lei for adults and 2 new Lei for retirees, pupils and students. Inside the Church, photographing or shooting is prohibited. These can only be performed under exceptional situations, with special approval from the parish. However, at the entrance of the Church, you can buy postcards with all the important details of the building.
In the Black Church there is an organ very appreciated for its sonority. With its 400 tubes, it is the largest mechanic organ of Romania and it was built in 1836 and 1839 by master Buchholz of Berlin.
“St. Nicholas” Orthodox Church
Address: 2 Unirii Square
Dating back to the 16th-17th centuries, the “St. Nicholas” Church was built on the spot of a small wood church. Inside was kept the mural painting of the 13th century and Romanian art objects. Close to the Church, next to the building of the old Romanian School there are the former cells and the graveyard dating back to the 13th century, as well.
“St. Peter and Paul” Romano-Catholic Church
Address: 19-21 Muresenilor street
Built in 1782, offices in both Romanian and Magyar language were organized in the church. The baroque church was built on the spot of the old Dominican monastery, attested by documents in the 14th century.
Address: 14-15 Piata Sfatului
Impossible to remain unnoticed, located right in the center of Brasov, the Merchants’ House was built between 1541 and 1547. The building has stone pillars that remind of the Renaissance style and arcades on the ground floor and upper floor. After the fires in 1689 and 1699, the building was seriously damaged and then rebuilt. In time, the building was also called the
“High-Boots Bridge” because here there used to be a large sale center, especially of footwear and lambskin coats.
People Council’s House (Casa Sfatului)
Address: 30 Piata Sfatului
The People Council’s House is the skinners’ old building, to which a new floor was added in 1420 for meetings and trials. Between 1525 and 1528, the observation tower was built, 58 m high, and in 1523, in the House tower a clock was installed by master Georgius of Sighisoara. The big fire of 1689 destroyed the building almost completely and its rehabilitation took place after 80 years.
Skinners kept their ownership over the ground floor until 1872, when guilds were legally dissolved. The important events for the city, but also the alarms (such as the fire alarms) were announced from the tower. This is why the Council’s House tower was called the "Trumpeters’ Tower”. Also, the town’s prison was in the Council’s building, and the gallows were prepared close by.
Currently, the People Council’s House, rebuilt and rehabilitated, is similar to the house that existed after the reconstruction of 1770-1774. The rebuilt tower is preserved since 1910. The building shelters the History Museum of Brasov County, inaugurated in 1950.