Founded in the 13th century by the Teutonic knights, Brasov was first known under the name Kronstadt (the city of the crown). The old part of the city has a medieval flavour due to its narrow streets, ramparts and many old churches.
In the old times, the city was protected by a 3 km long, 2 metre wide and 12 metre high wall. Today, the only preserved part of the wall, including a series of gates and bulwarks, is located in the north part of the town.
The architecture was influenced, as in other Translvanian cities, by the Romanian, German, Hungarian and Jewish population.
- The Black Church
The fascinating evangelical church, initially known as Saint Mary’s Church, is the largest Gothic Church in the south-eastern Europe and it can hold up to 5,000 people.
The church was built towards the end of the 14th century. After almost 200 years, a fire partially destroyed it in 1689, the smoke blackened the walls and ever since it has been called the Black Church.
Inside the church there is one of the greatest organs in Europe, the largest collection of old carpets from Asia Minor, the heaviest bell in Romania (six tons) and mural paintings in the Italian Reinaissance style.
The organ, considered one of the biggest in Europe, was built between 1836 and 1839. It has 4000 pipes and it’s famous for its sonority. Ever since 1953 an organ concert is organized every week.
The collection of old carpets represent an invaluable thesaurus of the Black Church. The carpets, that were donated over the years by craftsmen, merchants or citizens of the city, are dating from the late 17th century and where brought from different regions of Asia Minor.
- The Council Square
The council Square is the heart of the old city and also the place where in the Middle Ages merchants from all parts of Romania, Hungary and beyond came together to trade their wares.
The most significant building is the Council House (Casa Sfatului), a picturesque construction built in 1420. Initially, it served as a watch tower. After several fires, it was reconstructed in its current form. In 1780 it was used as the town hall and from 1950 it housed the County History Museum.
Around the square, another construction that captures the tourist’s eye is the imposing orthodox cathedral “The Dormition of the Mother of God”.
Take a walk on the Republicii Street, a pedestrian street full of life, where you can choose between a lot of shops, restaurants and terraces.
- Scheii District
Narrow, cobbled streets, red roof houses, “Saint Nicholas” Church- that’s what you can find in this picturesque neighbourhood of Brasov. Most of the houses are dating from the 17th century, while the orthodox church of Saint Nicholas was built in stone in 1495 by the local people with the help of the Wallachian ruler Neagoe Basarab.
- The medieval fortifications
The fastened enclosure surrounding the town, which made of Brasov one of the most reinforced medieval towns in Transylvania, has been developed in phases, between the XIVth and the XVIIth centuries.
The defence system of the stronghold used to be endowed by four external watch towers: on the northern side, the Black Tower (the end of the XIVth century) and the White Tower (1460/1494), the latter connected to the town’s fortifications through Graft Bastion, which used to serve as bridge over the rivulet streaming on the foot of Romurilor hill. The other two towers on mount Tâmpa versant towards the town, at the level of the Weavers Bastion and the Drapers Bastion are nowadays conserved only at archaeological level.
- The Citadel
The first information recorded in documents about the fortress on the Stronghold Hill (Martinsberg, Schlossberg), dates back from 1529, when the town was preparing to reject an attack guided by the troops of the Moldavian voivode Petru Rareş.
At the middle of the XVIth century, after the installation of the military control of the Habsburgic Empire’s troops in Transylvania, the Citadel acquires an increasingly important role within the defensive system of the town conservation the wooden defence galleries of the internal courtyard.
At the beginning of the XVIIIth century, the entire assembly is surrounded by ditched and embankments, new expansion works took place after 1773, when is added the hexagonal tower and the two-levels building’s aisle. During the following centuries, the Citadel functioned as prison.
Between 1955 and 1975 it functioned as warehouse of the State Archives, and starting from 1981, after a consistent restoration, it became a touristic complex with medieval peculiarity.
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