Rasnov Fortress
The presence of Saxons for nine centuries in Transylvania imprinted a cultural and architectural heritage unique in Europe. Village fortresses represent a defence measure typical of the Transylvania region.

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Located on a rocky hilltop, at 650 ft above the town of Rasnov, Rasnov Fortress is one of the best preserved fortresses of Romania. It had a fragile position, being the first fortress encountered by armies invading Transylvania through Bran Pass on the roads leading through Barsei County.

Rasnov Fortress was built by Teutonic Knights, and then enlarged by the Saxon population to defense themselves from Turkish and Tartar invaders. The fortress was their only chance of survival. When the alarm was sounded, the people took refuge here, bringing with them the animals from their fields and keeping them in the castle’s outdoor courtyard. The walls are five metres tall and up to one and a half metres thick.

The architectonic style of Rasnov Fortress is simple, similar to the structure of the ordinary houses but it was adapted to the fortification conditions.After 500 years of existence, the Rasnov Fortress still has a medieval atmosphere

Short history

1335 – The first historic attestation of Rasnov Citadel
1421 – The first siege of a Turkish army against Rasnov Citadel
1427 – King Sigismund of Luxemburg paid a visit to Rasnov Citadel
1600 – Michael The Brave and his wife retreated here after his defeat at Miraslau. He then named Rasnov “the town of my reign”
1612 – Having no more water, the defenders of the fortress were forced to surrender to the army of Gabriel Bathory, the Prince of Transylvania, known as an enemy for the Transylvanian Saxons(sasi).
1625-1640 – The well was dug in the centre of Rasnov Citadel
1658-1661 – Due to the invasions, the people from Rasnov retreated here for three years
1659 – The Chapel from the fortress was built
1718 – The citadel was partially destroyed by a fire and in 1802 it was damaged by an earthquake
1821 – The refugees from Walachia retreated in the fortress (the revolutionary movement led by Tudor Vladimirescu)
1848-1849 – The Hungarian revolutionists and the Imperial Austrian troops passed through Rasnov; the inhabitants decided to retreat into the fortress (this was the last time when the citadel served as refuge and defense place for the people of Rasnov)
1850 – Due to the political situation and because the citadel wasn’t considered a shelter anymore, it was finally abandoned and became a ruin during the years. There was only one guardian in the fortress that had the duty to announce the people when it was a fire.

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