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Top 10 Things to do in Brasov

It was in Brasov where I fell in love with Romania. I fell in love with the medieval architecture, the surrounding landscape, the shops and the cafés - really just everything. It was as if stepping into the past. This old and charming city is very well-preserved and has a lot to offer like the beautiful town square, medieval walls, hiking the surrounding mountains or visiting the nearby famous castles like Bran Castle aka Dracula’s Castle and Peles Castle. This is a wonderful city to explore by feet and while you are walking through the medieval streets and lovely districts soak in the lively atmosphere. Scroll through the blog to find the top 10 things to do in Brasov.

Council Square - the central point of Brasov

1. Council Square

The central point of Brasov, where both locals and tourists meet, is the typical European medieval town square which many cities have and Brasov is no exception. It is safe to say that this is a constant lively place not only because it is the central point of the city but also due to its cafés and restaurant. The Council Square obtained the right to hold markets and be called as such in 1520 although it has been the place for annual markets already since 1364 being visited by merchants from Romania and abroad. One can only imagine how much history has happened here. Equally rich of history are the buildings surrounding the square. On the square you will find the most important building, the Council House, which was built here in 1420 and is the building after which the main square was named. It originally functioned as the headquarters of the city hall but was turned into a historical museum which you can visit today.

The most important building in Brasov - the Council Hall

2. Council Hall

In the center of Brasov and in the center of the main square lies the most important building, the Council Hall, which gives name to the eponymous square it stands on. The Council Hall is a very old building, actually celebrating its 600 years of existence this year, which was built all the way back in 1420; however, the tower at the top of the building, also called the Trumpets Tower, is in fact much older. The 58 meters high tower was once used a watchtower for approaching barbarians before it was incorporated into the main building. This was the place where the alarm was sounded when any danger menaced the city. The building had to give in for the great fire though that took place in 1689 and so a 81-year old renovation took place resulting in what you see today. Once the Council Hall worked as the headquarters of the city, however, today the Council Hall hosts the tourist information and an interesting museum of Brasov’s history.

Brasov’s most important landmark - the Black Church

3. Black Church

Brasov’s most important landmark and some of the finest medieval architecture is the Black Church towering over the Council Square and the old town. In the great fire of 1689 which had destroyed most of the town and burned down the Council Hall had also affected the church which hence was given the name the ‘Black Church’ as the fire had blackened the walls. However, the church had already had a turbulent history prior to the fire. Built between 1385 and 1477 on the site of an earlier church which was destroyed by Mongol invasions in 1242, the construction of the originally called St. Mary’s Church was interrupted by extensive damage caused by Turkish raids in 1421. After the fire had partially destroyed it in 1689 the restoration took almost 100 years and only one of the two towers was finished due to the lack of funds. This church was originally built in a Gothic style but as the renovations were finished in the 16th century the interior now had been redone in a Baroque style. I can really recommend visiting this church should you go to Brasov; this is a place full of history.

Exploring Brasiv while strolling around

4. Historic Center

What I always love the most about exploring a new city is just walking around, unaware of where you are or which monuments to look for but just wander and get lost. Brasov is an excellent city to do so. Cobblestone streets lined with lively cafés, busy shops and sweet-smelling cart ordered by splendid Saxon architecture give you the perfect surroundings to spend time on admiring the medieval architecture in the historical center of Brasov. The Historical Center consists of the main square, the Black Church, the main street Strada Republicii and a lot of other cozy streets. The main street is completely pedestrianized and therefore makes perfect for a leisurely stroll. Over the last decade it has been given a facelift where almost all of the facades were restored.

Brasov contains so much history and historical buildings

5. Old Town Fortifications

Brasov is an old city to which Saxon settlers arrived in the beginning of the 12th century and hence contains many old buildings like the fortification system in the old town. After the Saxon’s settlement was invaded by Mongols, Turks and others it gave them a tough time and this was repeatedly destroying the old settlements. These events finally triggered them to build fortifications around their town. Most of it was built in stages between 1400 and 1650 like the outer and inner walls and the defense towers and gate. So, Old Brasov was once enclosed by these mighty fortified walls, 12 meter high and more than 3 km long which can partly still be seen today although most was taken down in the 19th century in order to make room for the city’s expansion. Originally, there were raised seven bastions around the city at the most exposed points of which only a few have survived. On top of the hillside are two towers, the Black Tower and the White, both offering nice views over the city.

The Schei-district  is of great value for Romanian culture

6. Prima Scoala Romaneasca

In the south-western part of Brasov, almost on the outskirts, lies the village-like Schei-district which is of great value for Romanian culture. Unfortunately we were running late that day when we wanted to visit the ‘Prima Scoala Romaneasca’ as it was just about closing time. It all looked so interesting though so I hope we’re able to come back one day. On the grounds of the beautiful 16th century St. Nicholas Church stands the museum which lets you time-travel into the history of Romanian education. This place has been the leading learning center for Romanian people since the late 16th century – that’s quite a long time. The first lessons took place in 1583 and went on all the way up to 1941. Today the old school has been turned into a museum housing recreated schoolrooms, a library with more than 4000 rare books and the country’s oldest Bible.

The Schei district is a wonderful district to just wander around

7. Schei District

When the Saxons settled down in Brasov from the 12th century they took over the control of the city between the 13th and 17th century. During this span of time they would forbid Romanians from owning property inside the citadel walls so the Romanians settled down in the southwestern part of Brasov, the Schei district. The entry to the walled city was marked by the Schei Gate which also happened to be the only entrance the Romanians were allowed to use. The structure you see today is not the original though as it was heavily damaged by fires and so the Emperor Franz II built a new one in 1827. The Schei district is a wonderful district to just wander around in the small, curved streets which gradually slope upwards to the hill or to go and see the beautiful St. Nicholas Church which also houses the first Romanian school on the same ground.

A fun sight to see in Brasov

8. Strada Sforii

A minor but still a fun sight to see in Brasov is the Strada Sforii or Rope Street – the narrowest street in the country and the thirds narrowest street in Europe which was built in the 15th century. The street measures 80 meters in length and has a varying width between 111 and 135 cm at its widest point. Once you see this street you might actually wonder how this could ever pass as a street being so narrow that it rather looks just like a passageway. Historically, this street was used as an access route by firefighters to get quickly through Brasov’s tightly packed houses. Strada Sforii is iconic but besides being the narrowest street there is little to see or do.

Brasov makes for a great base to visit Bran Castle

9. Bran Castle

Alright, so when you’re visiting Brasov it means that you are finding yourself in the part of Romania which is called Transylvania and this is where Dracula comes into the picture. After you have extensively explored every inch and corner of Brasov the city makes for a great base to visit Bran Castle also commonly known as Dracula’s Castle. To clean the table, Dracula is fiction…though he actually can be vaguely related to a real-life person called Vlad Tepes. But back to the castle which was built in 1122, a really old castle one might say. The castle is probably Romania’s most popular tourist attraction so you might want to be prepared for some hordes of tourists. It is located around 25 km southwest of Brasov and getting there is quite easy – you just take the bus from Brasov to the castle, that’s it. Even though it’s so very popular I’d still recommend to visit it, it’s a pretty castle in a fantastic scenery.

The most beautiful castle I have ever seen

10. Peles Castle

​After seeing the spectacular Peles Castle I am not in doubt anymore that this is the most beautiful castle I have ever seen, with no exception. Nestled at the foot of the Bucegi Mountains, near the picturesque town of Sinaia, lies this masterpiece of German Neo-Renaissance architecture. Peles Castle was built between 1873 and 1883 commissioned by King Carol I and serving as the summer residence for the royal family until 1947. No expenses were spared for this elaborately decorated castle and this is made very clear as it is packed with details and adorned with the finest examples of European art, crystal chandeliers, stained-glass windows and so much more making it hard to capture it all. Besides that, the most unique part of this castle is that every single room, hallway and foyer is decorated in a different style or theme like something Turkish, Venetian, French only to mention a few. An extra, small fun fact: Peles Castle was the first European Castle to have electricity.


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