Local heritage

Monuments in Brașov

The Black Church

It is the church of the Honterus parish community in Brașov, within the Evangelical Church of Romania, and is located at No. 2 Honterus Court. It is called the Black Church because it burned in the great fire of the city in 1689 and remained a smoke-blackened ruin for a long time afterwards. This name, initially only popular, became established in the 20th century as the official name of the monument. The Black Church is the largest religious building in Romania (length about 90 meters, width 25–37 meters, height of the walls 21 meters, ridge of the roof 42 meters, height of the tower at the cross 65 meters) and is ‘the largest hall-church’—having all the ships of the same height—east of Vienna and one of the largest medieval cult buildings between St. Stephen’s Cathedral from Vienna and Hagia Sophia from Istanbul. The Black Church possesses ‘the largest mechanical organ in Romania’ (about 4,000 whistles, four manuals with 56 keys each, a pedal board with 27 keys, 76 registers, and 63 sound registers), having a beautiful timbre and good acoustics. At the same time, the Black Church possesses ‘the largest collection of ancient oriental carpets in Asia Minor’, both in Romania and in Europe, outside of Turkey, of course. Also, this church has ‘the largest mobile bell in Romania’, at about 6,000 kilograms. Today’s Black Church stands on the site of an older Romanesque church from the 13th century, destroyed in the great Mongol invasion of 1241. The current construction began in 1383, when Brașov was in a period of strong cultural and economic development, being ‘the most important commercial and industrial city on the border of Transylvania with Wallachia’. The invasion of the Turks in 1421 interrupted the construction works of the church, forcing the city to concentrate on the fortifications, but they were continued later according to a much simpler plan. Due to a major earthquake in 1471, the south tower was not built to the intended height. The year 1477 can be considered the year of the end of the construction of the church; in 1499, a new organ is mentioned; later works were carried out on the tower; and a clock and bells were added in 1514. The church, originally Roman-Catholic, received the patronage of Saint Mary (Marienkirche), a fact proven even today by the fresco located near the southern gate. On April 21, 1689, a great fire also engulfed the parish church, destroying the roof and the furniture inside. After it, extensive renovation began, giving the interior a baroque appearance. It was also during this period that the galleries were built so that the church could cope with the growing number of parishioners who took part in services. The works were completed in 1722, with a new inauguration. Severely damaged after the fire, the Black Church was rebuilt with the help of craftsmen from the Hanseatic city of Danzig because the local craftsmen no longer knew how to close vaults of such large dimensions. The new vaults, however, were baroque, not Gothic. The plan the architects use is that of a basilica with three naves, equal in height, belonging to the type of hall-church preferred in the XV–XVI centuries in German space, where some architects and craftsmen came from. Excepting the Topkapi Palace Museum in Istanbul, the Black Church possesses ‘the largest collection of oriental carpets in Europe’, dating from the XV–XVI centuries. The interior of the Black Church dominates through the splendor of colors in the approximately 110 oriental carpets on display.

Johannes Honterus National College

The ‘Johannes Honterus’ National College in Brașov is one of the oldest educational institutions on the current territory of Romania, having existed since 1541 as an evangelical Saxon high school with German language teaching. The headquarters are in the immediate vicinity of the Black Church. Building B of the college is in the south part of the Black Church, on the same site as the first humanist school of Johannes Honterus, whose foundation dates back to April 26, 1541. Following the earthquake of 1738, the building suffered great damage and was rebuilt in the years 1743–1748. In the years 1834–1835, the edifice was extended with two more floors, according to the plans of the architect Andreas Dieners. In the period 1918–1939, on the second floor of the B and C buildings of the high school, the Saxon Museum of Bârsa Country functioned. Currently, the B building is declared a historical monument. A new body of the building was commissioned in 1912, outside the fortress walls, near the Black Tower in Brașov. In 1948, the high school was expropriated from the Evangelical Church of the Augustan Confession in Romania and transformed into a state school under the name ‘The High School No. 2’, the title of ‘national college’ being granted to the institution in September 2019, until then functioning as a high school.

Council Square

The Council Square (Piața Sfatului), located in the middle of the historic center of Brașov (the Citadel), represented, over time, an important commercial, social, and cultural center. Starting in 1520, the Council Square in Brașov, called Marktplatz at the time, obtained the right to organize fairs. The square was reached through Customs Street (currently Mureșenilor) after passing through the Customs Gate (Poarta Vămii), one of the oldest gates of the fortress fortifications. This is where the carts with the merchants’ goods entered, and on Custom Street, at no. 12, the customs functioned where taxes were paid for the products brought into the fortress. Since the Middle Ages, the Council Square has gathered numerous Saxon, Hungarian, and Romanian merchants at the occasional fairs. Around the former Town Hall (now the Council House), each merchant had to place his goods in a certain place, and the city officials had to make sure that these places were respected. In the Council Square, there was the Pillar of Infamy in the medieval period, where witches were tried and corporal punishment was publicly applied to those found guilty. Here, in 1688, Stefan Stener, the head of the shoemaker’s guild, who opposed the entry of the Austrians into the city, was beheaded. The architecture of the houses that surround the square gives it an imposing and medieval aspect, with historical buildings dating back centuries. Some of them have undergone changes over time, but most have kept their original appearance. Many of the gardens at the back of the houses in Linen Thread (Şirul Inului), like those in Horses Fair (Târgul Cailor) and Customs Street, have disappeared. The merchants in these parts are using any square meter for their warehouses.

Council House

The Council House in Brașov, the old town hall located in the Council Square in the historic center of the city, represents ‘the most important secular monument of Brașov’. Initially, it was just a watch tower, whose bases were on those of the current tower and which only underwent external restorations over time, with the building that joins it being built later. From the tower, the bridge over the stream that flowed through the square from Șchei and which splits into two branches here, one flowing towards Brașovechi via Customs Street and the other towards Blumăna, via Buckets Street (Ulița Căldărarilor), could be seen from the tower. The beginning of construction on the site of the Council House is documented more than 600 years ago, on December 23, 1420, when an agreement was concluded between the District Assembly of Bârsa Country and the Fur Guild regarding the construction. This document mentions that the representatives of the Fur Guild of Brașov allowed the nine communes of the Bârsa Country Province to build a room above the guild’s sales vault for the granting of justice and for the magistrate’s meetings. The construction was built in stages, and that is why the different architectural styles are still present today. In the lower part, the Gothic style can be noticed, and on the upper floor, the Renaissance and Baroque. In the 16th century, the tower had four turrets, a sign that the city had the right to pronounce Jus Gladii, the capital sentence. The building has a square shape with a basement, first floor, and attic. The tower has seven floors; it is 58 meters high and is built on the east side, the oldest part of the building, while the entrance is on the west side. The tower clock dates from 1892 and looks similar to its predecessor, which had been brought from Germany. It has dials on all four sides and, despite its age, still tells the time accurately.

Catherine’s Gate

The Catherine’s (Ecaterina) Gate was one of the gates of the Brașov Citadel fortifications, located in the middle of the southwest side, between the Weavers’ Bastion and the Blacksmiths’ Bastion. As part of the southwestern wall of the city’s fortifications, Catherine’s Gate is declared a historical monument. The gate ensured passage through the double wall of the fortress, being, for almost three centuries, the only gate of the city to the Şchei neighborhood. Today, only the tower of the outer gate remains. In reality, Catherine’s Gate, as well as the gates of the north-eastern wall of the fortress (Main Gate, Old Customs Gate, and Black Street Gate), were each a large complex of fortifications, real fortresses with bastions and towers. The gate of the southwest wall of the fortress was probably built in the 15th century, when the walls were erected, but it was mentioned in documents for the first time only in 1517 as the ‘Gate of the Holy Spirit’ (Porta Corporis Christi). The name came from the Chapel of the Holy Spirit (Corpus Christi), which was located next to Orphanage Street (currently Poarta Șchei Street). The storm and flood of August 24, 1526, destroyed the gate of the tailors’ guild, and the construction of the new gate began. Being located at the end of Catherine’s Street, which in turn took its name from the convent of nuns that had been there, the gate received the name ‘Porta Sanctae Katherinae’, as it appears in the documents of the time. It was also called the ‘Superior Gate’ due to its location towards the mountain, towards Şchei neighborhood (called by the Saxons ‘Obere Vorstadt’, the upper quarter). The construction of the tower of the outer gate was completed on September 17, 1559. Fires in 1689 and 1759 demaged the gate, as well as the earthquake of 1738, and it was later repaired. The Catherine’s Gate stretched from the current S Building of Transylvania University (Faculty of Silviculture), where the mill gate was, to beyond the current Șchei Gate. The documents mention that for each of the eight embrasures of the tower, bombards were brought from Prague.

Schei Gate

The Șchei Gate, the only gate that survived in its entirety from the old citadel, was one of the fortifications’ gates of the Brașov citadel. As part of the southwestern wall of the city fortifications, the Șchei Gate is declared a historical monument. Originally established in Brașovechi, due to floods and for strategic reasons (Tatar incursions, followed by Turkish invasions), starting in the 14th century, the Saxons moved to Mount Tâmpa and began to build defense fortifications there. Walls and defense towers surrounded the city between the years 1400 and 1427, thus becoming a famous fortification—the Citadel. Built of stone and brick in the form of a triumphal arch, the Șchei Gate is characteristic of the architecture and neoclassical style dominating at that time. The gate has three arches, one main, large, for vehicles, and two smaller, secondary, for pedestrians, on the sides.

Rope Street

The Rope (Sforii) Street is a pedestrian passage in the historic center of Brașov (the Citadel), which connects the Cerbului and Porta Șchei streets. The existence of the street is attested in documents from the 17th century as a simple corridor to help the work of the firemen. The width of Rope Street varies between 1.11 and 1.35 m, which gives it the title of the narrowest street in the municipality of Brașov. With a length of 80 meters, it reflects the urbanization trends of medieval Brașov. The street originally delimited the space between two decuries, which denote groups of ten houses each, specific to the medieval urban planning system implemented inside the fortress. The street legend is that this was one of the favorite places of lovers in medieval times. Rope Street is the third narrowest street in Europe (after the Spreuerhofstraße in Reutlingen, Germany, which is between 31 and 50 cm wide, and Parliament Street in Exeter, Devon, England, which is approximately 122 cm wide). It was restored, marked, and illuminated in 2003 to be returned to the tourist circuit in the best conditions.

Weavers’ Bastion

Located in the southern corner of the Brașov Citadel (the historic center of the city), the Weavers’ Bastion has a hexagonal shape and occupies an area of 1,616 square meters. Its walls are between 4 meters thick at the base and 1 meter thick at the fourth level of the construction. The bastion has a unique architecture in South-Eastern Europe, on four levels with embrasures, fuel spouts, and two watchtowers. The great fire of Brașov in 1689 spared it, so the bastion is preserved in its original form. As part of the southwestern wall of the city’s fortifications, the Weavers’ Bastion is declared a historical monument. Built, defended, and maintained by the guild of linen weavers, it was built in two stages between the years 1421–1436 and 1570–1573, being designed to last as an independent fortification. The first construction works of the bastion took place between 1421 and 1436, together with the erection of the first walls of the Brașov fortifications, when the first two levels of the three battle galleries were built. They were equipped with large gun holes for large-caliber firearms (bombards), embrasures for arquebuses, as well as oil nozzles for throwing incendiary materials. The bastion was documented for the first time in 1522. In 1554, the fortifications on the south-west side were strengthened by erecting a second defense wall. Originally, the bastion was connected to the Knives’ Tower on the side of Tâmpa Mountain by a low section of wall. The upper floors, built between 1570 and 1573, were intended for small arms, which could be used through the narrow, circular-shaped firing ports present all along the route of the firing galleries built of solid oak beams. It was also then that two watchtowers were erected for the guard corps that supervised the city, both from a military point of view and for the observation of possible fires. The evolution of combat techniques, especially firearms, led to the loss of the bastion’s importance as a military objective. That is why, since the 1750s and 1800s, the bastion has been abandoned as a defense fortification. It then fulfilled various other functions, including that of storing the guild’s documents and serving as a headquarters for meetings dedicated to military instruction or the confirmation of apprentices in the weaving craft. On the facade of the entrance to the premises, engraved in a beam supporting the ceiling, is the year 1807, when the three rooms intended for school workshops for the training of the future craftsmen of the city—a sentry room, a ballroom, and a wedding hall—were built (Hochzeitsaal). On the inside of the walls are oak galleries on three and four levels. In 1800, two rooms were built for the festivities of the weavers’ guild, and in 1807, when the bastion lost its defense function, a small house in front of the entrance was added. Part of the Brașov History County Museum, the Weavers’ Bastion has a permanent exhibition that includes documentary materials as well as objects from archaeological excavations from the fortification system of Bârsa Country prior to the 14th century. Fragments of armor, chain mail shirts, or white weapons specific to the Middle Ages are exhibited. Among them, the two-handed sword from the 13th century discovered in the Citadel of Brașov stands out. Among the exhibits are also images of the Brașov Citadel, made after the old engravings, including the 1:200 scale model of the old Brașov citadel, made in 1896 by Professor Friedrich Herman, as well as a model of the Şchei neighborhood, made later. Currently, the permanent exhibition The Bastion of the Weavers, Brașov, 3 M, is presented here.

Outside the Walls

The Outside the Walls alley, one of Brașov’s tourist attractions, is the promenade that accompanies the Graft stream along the walls and bastions of the northwestern part of Brașov’s medieval fortifications. The Outside the Walls alley leads along the fortified northwest side of the Brașov Citadel and towards Romuri, an area that houses two towers that were part of the Citadel’s outer fortifications, the White Tower and the Black Tower. Also, here you can see the old buildings behind the walls, whose shape gives the impression of small, tightly closed fortresses. You can see a space between the outer wall and the first houses, called the zwinger, other walls, and some smaller towers, delimitating it. It was assigned to the different guilds for defense in case of an enemy attack. From the Blacksmiths’ Bastion, transformed at the beginning of the 20th century into the headquarter of the State Archives, down was the Butchers’ Zwinger, followed by the Gloves’ Zwinger. About the middle of the length of the walls, just below the White Tower, the Graft Bastion blocks the road, forming a bridge over the stream. In the years 1968–1969, part of the old fortifications outside the walls was restored, and, in addition to them, a ‘pleasant walking path’ was laid out, which highlights these monuments. In 2001, fire partially destroyed the roof of the Graft Bastion, but in the summer of 2002, welcome steps were taken to restore the Graft Bastion and its supporting arch.

White Tower

This tower belongs to the outer fortifications of medieval Brașov, being located on a rocky outcrop of the Romuri Hill in the northern part of the city, about 60 meters away and more than 30 meters above the city walls. The White Tower has a closed semicircle plan, with the round side facing the hill, 18 meters high, and the right side facing the city, 20 meters high. The strong walls of the tower are about 4 meters thick. Inside the White Tower, there were five levels of wooden galleries for defenders and guards, outward with embrasures for rifles or even for small cannons. The upper part of the tower was provided with battlements. Being 59 meters away from the fortress wall, the tower was communicating with it through a drawbridge that connects the tower and the Graft Bastion. According to the old chronicles, the White Tower was built in 1404 or 1460, its name coming from the light-colored plaster, in contrast to the Black Tower, a fire caused by lightning. blackening it. In 1678, the tinners’ guild redeemed the obligation to defend the tower, the number of craftsmen being low. On April 21, 1689, a strong wind carried the geat fire that engulfed the White Tower, which burned and was renovated only in 1723. Other restorations were carried out in 1902, 1974, 2002, and 2005–2006. Today, it also has a small museum.

The Black Tower

It is one of the four observation towers of the Brașov Citadel, built as an independent fortification located outside the citadel walls and over 11 meters high. Located a short distance from the Blacksmiths’ Bastion, on the outcrop of Romuri Hill, the Black Tower dominated the Şchei neighborhood with its dimensions. It had to prevent the enemies from approaching the city walls, which here were less than 5 meters from the rock (only in 1819–1820 was the passage widened). With an area of 50 square meters, the Black Tower is 11 meters high, and its walls measure 2 meters thick at the base. It has six firing holes on each side, arranged in three rows of attack. Inside, it has three-story galleries, and, in the past, the tower had a connection system with the Citadel through a drawbridge that went down to the Blacksmiths’ Bastion. The Black Tower dates from the 15th century, being built at the same time as the White Tower; however, the first documentary mention of it dates from 1541. The original roof is no longer preserved; on July 23, 1559, lightning destroyed it, and the fire of 1689 blackened the walls of the tower and gave it its current name. In 1696, lightning destroyed it again, but it was rebuilt, as a stamp from 1735 shows. During the plague epidemic of 1756, the Black Tower appears to have been used for the last time as a shelter and lookout point for the guards of the sanitary cordon around the city. In case of danger, a thick iron chain between the rock and the bastion cut off communication with the Lower Walls. The roof, existing since 1796, due to the ravages of time, was the subject of a request for restoration in 1827, but, as it did not bring any income to the city, the request was not approved. It was only in 1900 that the question of restoring the monument was raised again, and a consolidation of the walls at their upper part was carried out in 1901. On the night of July 3–4, 1991, the southern wall of the tower collapsed after a torrential rain. However, the restoration took place only in 1996. Today, it also has a small museum.

Belt Makers’ Bastion

The northern corner of the medieval Brașov fortifications was occupied by the Belt Makers’ Bastion. It was U-shaped or horseshoe-shaped and over 40 meters long and 14 to 17 meters wide. The outer perimeter measured 102 meters, and the walls were 15 meters high. The walls measured over 4 meters in thickness at the base, progressively reducing towards the roof up to two meters. According to the inventory of the city’s armaments from 1562, in the Belts Makers’ Bastion, there were at that time 31 heavy rifles (bombards), 5 handguns, a small cannon, and 1½ quintals of gunpowder. The first documentary mention of the fortification dates back to 1525. Like the Weavers’ Bastion and the Blacksmiths’ Bastion, the Belt Makers’ Bastion had three levels and an observation tower. The fire of 1689 left the fortification untouched. Ruined for the most part, it was demolished in 1887, and the Baiulescu House was built in its place.

Monuments from Şcheii Brașovului

St. Nicholas Church 

‘St. Nicholas’ Church in Brașov is the oldest Orthodox church in the municipality of Brașov and, over time, the core of the spiritual, cultural, and artistic life of the Romanians in Bârsa Country. The church is part of an ensemble of historical monuments located in Union Square in Şchei, under the name of the ‘St. Nicholas Church’s Ensemble’ from Şchei. The ensemble consists of four monuments: the St. Nicholas Church, with the chapels (Annunciation and Ascension of the Lord), the First Romanian School, today a museum, the Cells, and the Enclosure Wall. ‘St. Nicholas’ Church was built on the site of a former wooden cross with shingles in 1292, and a wooden church was then built as a place of worship for the Orthodox Romanians from Șchei. The bull of Pope Boniface IX in 1399 attested to it, which demanded the conversion of the schismatics from this Orthodox center concentrated around the place of worship in Şchei. Although the precise dates of the construction of the church are not known, the local chronicles, starting with those of Archpriest Vasile (from 1628) and Radu Tempea II (from 1741), and continued by many other chroniclers, sporadically captured moments of evolution in the construction of the church. The church did not remain as it was originally built but was constantly rebuilt over time. The church is of brick and stone, as are the adjacent chapels, a rectangular nave joined to the circular apse to the east and the pronaos and tent to the west, giving it its form. In the western part of the church, there are the two chapels attached to the church, to the north and to the south, forming a unitary whole. The church was originally built in the Gothic style, then underwent various transformations in the Baroque style, a strange pairing of styles that gave ‘a masterpiece of hybridity’. Seen from the front, it has the eometric appearance of a very sharp pyramid. The all-added side walls, parapets, and chapels seem to support the towers: a large one in the middle (four other turrets surrounding it) and a smaller one in front, above the entrance, with two other turrets flanking it. The church was painted in 1739; the inventory of 1761 confirms that it was painted at that time, both inside and outside. The northern chapel, dedicated to the Good News, was covered in mural painting between the years 1735 and 1738 by the painters from Craiova: ‘Ranite Gregory, his brother George, his son John, and Michael”, who reproduced, among other things, the Saint John Apocalypse, the First Council of Nicaea in AD 325, the theme of Deisis and the Resurrection, as well as the ‘Wheel of the World’ (a unique scene of the rotation of the earth around the sun, performed by the saints). The south chapel, dedicated to ‘The Ascension of God’, was painted in 1752 by “Ioan, Iancu, painters, Constantin, and Irimia, apprentices”.

The Museum of the First Romanian School

The First Romanian School Museum in Brașov is located inside the courtyard of the Saint Nicholas Church, in the historic district of Șchei. The former school building, today a museum, is declared a historical monument. Here, the deacon Coresi printed the first books in Romanian; in 1757, Dimitrie Eustatievici wrote the first Romanian grammar book; and teacher Costea translated the first popular books. Since the 15th century, at the latest in 1480, as Nicolae Iorga claims, next to the St. Nicholas Church has also started to operate a school, its existence being attested in 1497. Around 1530, Romanian was taught here, so that when deacon Coresi settled in Brașov, he could also be helped by the apprentices from the school in Șchei. Today, the museum is composed of several rooms, among them the Anton Pann classroom, which recalls not only the presence of the great folklore collector Anton Pann but also the old school, with the scribbled benches (decoration), where the students used to gather, the ink blots, the cases, and the tablets on which the letters were written. The Deacon Coresi Hall hosts a replica of the printing press of Coresi that has been used since 1967. In the Book and Scholars of Brașov Hall, the copyists, translators, and creators of literary language, music, and art are represented by some of the valuable works housed in the museum’s historical archive, such as the Omiliar (book of church speeches) from the XI–XII centuries, the Priest Bratu’s Molitfelnic (liturgical book), the Archpriest Vasile’s Parimiar (church book containing Solomon’s proverbs), and the oil paintings on canvas by Metropolitan Andrei Șaguna. The Book: A Factor of National Unity Hall hosts more than 80 princely charters inscribed on parchment and gilded to confirm the permanent ties between the Romanian lands, where the most valuable books of the medieval Romanian language are exhibited: ‘The Bucharest Bible’ (1688), ‘Varlaam’s Sermon’ (1643), ‘Correction of the Law’ (Indreptarea legii) from Târgoviște (1652), Coresi’s ‘The Second Sarmon’ (‘Romanian Book with Teaching’), ‘Psalter’, ‘Sbornic, and ‘Octoih’. The hearth room is a small ethnographic corner containing a hearth, icons on glass, and household objects reminding us of the Schei district in the medieval age. In 1957, Professor Ion Colan was the one who organized the First Romanian School Museum of St. Nicholas Church.

Holy Trinity Church on Pe Tocile Street

The ‘Holy Trinity’ Church (Pe Tocile) in Brașov, commonly known as ‘Pe Tocile Church’, is an Orthodox church in the municipality of Brașov. The church is part of an ensemble of historical monuments located in the Șchei district of Brașov, under the name of the ‘Holy Trinity—Pe Tocile’. The ensemble consists of two monuments: the ‘Holy Trinity Church, Pe Tocile’ and the Nursing Home. Until the 19th century, the 4,184 Orthodox believers (over 1,000 families) from Şchei district, as the statistics of the time attest, had only one church, the ‘St. Nicholas’ Church from Prund Square. Since the 1770s, the residents of the Pe Tocile Street area have asked for approval to build a new stone church closer to their neighborhood. The Saxon town council rejected the request, citing various reasons, despite the fact that the Orthodox had undertaken to bear the entire cost of the construction and promised not to hire new priests. In September 1781, following the decree of tolerance of the Austrian Emperor Joseph II in July 1781, which stipulated, among other things, that Romanians could build schools and churches if they had a community of at least 100 families, the Orthodox bought a plot of land near Pe Tocile Street. Initially, only a wooden cross was erected on this land. Only in 1812, based on decree no. 7286 of September 10th, 1812, and after numerous other steps, did the inhabitants of the Pe Tocile area obtain the legal right to erect their church. Firstly, a small chapel was built, and in the summer of 1813, a wooden church was completed. Then a new parish was established, and in 1819 two residential buildings were built for priests, one of which also housed an elementary school (‘for the small children of Pe Tocile’), later merging with the ‘Romanian Central Schools’—today the ‘Andrei Șaguna’ National College. The ‘Holy Trinity Church, Pe Tocile’ was built in Gothic style, with a central nave built of stone and brick that was 35 meters long, 11.5 meters wide at the apse, and 32 meters high. The tower of the church is covered with red, yellow, and blue enameled tiles. Painters Mișu Popp and Constantin Lecca painted the church between 1856 and 1857, with Lecca being credited with the mural painting on the altar and Popp with a part of the iconostasis and the rest of the church. Iosif Vasu painted only the fresco above the north entrance door later. The painting was first restored in 1913, and between 2001 and 2003, the painter Prof. Nicolae Sava restored it again.

The Troițe (Memorial Crosses) from Şchei

The troițe are wooden or stone crosses with various inscriptions, sculptures, and icons, many of them housed in wooden or brick kiosks provided with windows and a small visiting door. These resemble a small altar with a cross, icons of saints, bunches of flowers and basil, and candles. According to popular belief, the troițe were built at the intersections of the roads to ‘drive away the evil’. In Şchei, there are more than 60 troițe, testimonies of the Orthodox tradition of the inhabitants, also representing a form of faith and resistance against conversion to other religions. These troițe could be found everywhere in Şchei, reminiscences of the times when there were no churches and people had to worship under the open sky, the only religious symbol that was easier to build. The custom was preserved even after the St. Nicholas Church was built, and the people of Schei continued to raise crosses everywhere, pious signs of strong religious feelings. Historian Nicolae Iorga wrote that: ‘In the old days… even wooden churches were very rare. Then, around such a cross, the whole service was done. It replaced the church, summed it up in what was most characteristic’. The prominent citizens of the place—priests, merchants, and members of wealthy families—erected them. The purpose of the trinity is witnessed in most of the inscriptions made in Cyrillic or Latin, which were erected for eternal divine remembrance. This meant that when a troița disappeared due to age or damage, another one was erected in its place, usually taking over the informative data of the previous one. The first documentary attestation of such a place of worship dates from 1292 and is confirmed by the ‘Cross from Cutun’, preserved in the cemetery of the ‘Holy Trinity’ Church in the Citadel. Each troița has its own legend and has a name after those who built or renovated it, or after the place and reason for its construction. The troițe were erected with the same faith with which a church was erected, and many times different religious services were held in the space or near the chapel that sheltered them.

Monuments from the old city of Brasov

St. Bartholomew’s Church

Saint Bartholomew’s Church is ‘the oldest church and also the oldest building in Brașov’, being built in the 13th century and undergoing substantial changes in the 15th century. It is an Evangelical-Lutheran church located in the Brașovechi neighborhood and is part of a group of historical monuments under the name of Saint Bartholomew, an ensemble composed of three monuments: St. Bartholomew’s Evangelical Church, the Enclosure Wall with the Gate, and the Parish House. It is assumed that the church of St. Bartholomew was built at the beginning of the 13th century, after the Teutonic Knights settled in Bârsa Country, the founder of the church being Hermann von Salza, the leader of the Order of the Teutonic Knights at that time, and, at the time of construction, the church of St. Bartholomew was one of the largest churches built in Transylvania. The first documentary attestation of the church dates back to 1223. The Church of St. Bartholomew was also known at the time as the ‘Church of the Three Orphans’. According to the legend, three faithful orphans donated all their wealth to the church, and as a sign of gratitude, they were buried under the altar. On the premises of this church, Mircea the Elder, the ruler of Wallachia, concluded a treaty of alliance with Sigismund of Luxemburg, the king of Hungary, in 1395. At its beginnings, St. Bartholomew’s Church was a Roman Catholic church dedicated to Saint Bartholomew, later to become an Evangelical-Lutheran church, along with the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century. During the Reformation, the Saxons from Transylvania converted to the Evangelical-Lutheran faith. Thus, starting in 1543, the church became an Evangelical-Lutheran one, but not as an independent one, but belonging to the Black Church, both from an administrative and financial point of view, the separation from the Black Church being achieved only in 1863 and maintained until nowadays. The entire construction is tributary to the Cârța Monastery of the Cistercian Order, built in Roman style with Gothic elements, such as the ogives that replaced the arches of the windows. The church is 55 meters long, the second largest in Bârsa Country, after the Black Church. The church is a three-nave building with massive walls surrounded by a stone wall. In the church, there are two chapels built in Roman style. The plan of the church is in the form of a Latin cross, with a transept and a tower on the west side. The tower, similar to that of the Black Church, is square and not very tall. Much simpler than the Black Church, not having the same richness, St. Bartholomew’s Church impresses with its massiveness and the simplicity of its lines; everything seems to be made to support the walls; the strong vaults resemble those of a fortress; and the buttresses support the vaults. On the outside, the cornice preserves a continuous frieze of arches on consoles, a motif of an older Roman tradition. The tower has three levels with belt cornices. Inside the church, there are pieces of liturgical furniture from the 17th and 18th centuries: the altar, the pulpit, and the painted pews of the craft guilds. The chapel in the southern nave of the edifice preserves fragments of a group of mural paintings illustrating scenes from the lives of Saints Bartholomew and Nicholas, made in the latter part of the 14th century.

The Dormition of the Mother of God Church in Brașovechi

The ‘Dormition of the Mother of God’ Church in Brașov is an Orthodox church in the Brașovechi neighborhood of the Brașov municipality, part of a group of historical monuments in Brașovechi under the name of the ‘Dormition of the Mother of God’ Church Ensemble, made up of two monuments: the ‘Dormition of the Mother of God’ Church and the ‘Dormition of the Mother of God’ Cemetery. The ‘Dormition of the Mother of God’ Church, also known as the ‘Orthodox Church Old Brașov’, was built in 1783 by the merchant Nicolae Ştefan, originally from Ioanina. From the interwar period until the beginning of the 1960s, the headquarters of the Brașov Archdiocese also functioned here, with some of the parish priests of the church also being Archpriests of Brașov. Starting on March 7, 1782, after the Austrian emperor Joseph II’s decree of tolerance from July 1781, the Romanians from Old Brașov submitted several memoranda to the local authorities and those in Vienna, requesting approval for the construction of a religious edifice. The church is built of brick and stone in the late Baroque style, trefoil-shaped, with a western tower over the originally open porch, an altar apse, two polygonal side apses on the outside, and a semicircular one on the inside. Above the porch is the belfry tower, a square of brick and stone with side gables that was originally covered with scale tiles. In 1928, lightning damaged it; it was later rebuilt in its present form, covered with copper sheeting. In 1925, the external bells were built, which are still used today, and the church also has a bell. In 2023, celebrating 240 years since its construction, a museum was opened in the deacon’s house, where a library is also located. The space was restored through the efforts of the priests. The museum exhibits cult objects, books, manuscripts, its own photographs, and those donated by Dumitru Jaliu’s family.

Protected areas and nature reserves

Mount Tâmpa

The Mount Tâmpa nature reserve is included in the site of community importance, Mount Tâmpa, based on the species of fauna and flora protected by the European Council Directive of May 21, 1992 (concerning the conservation of the natural habitats and the species of wild fauna and flora) or on the red list of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Among them are the brown bear, the yellow-bellied toad, the Alpine longhorn beetle, the Lady’s Slipper, the Moldavian dragonhead, and the German iris. Mount Tâmpa presents a natural area with a high floristic and faunal diversity, expressed both at the level of species and at the level of terrestrial ecosystems. It preserves five types of natural habitats of community interest, as follows: Mid-European beech forests; Dacian beech forests; Tilio-Acerion forests of slopes, screes, and ravines; and Subcontinental peri-Pannonic scrubs. In 1595, beeches and firs were planted on Tâmpa, repeatedly after every serious fire on this mountain. All botanical studies carried out in the area have reflected the richness and variety of species and families, supporting the need to protect and preserve this area. Among the arboreal elements reported in the reservation area are species such as spruce, larch, pine, oak, beech, hornbeam, European ash, small-leaved linden, wych elm, hazel, dwarf almond, dogwood, Cornelian cherry, elder, or bridal wreath. As for the grasses, there are floristic rarities with species of feather grass, cowslip, hare’s-tail grass, liverleaf, crown imperial, snake’s head fritillary, lark’s heel, ray grass, yellow monkshood, lesser butterfly orchid, bluebell, spurge laurel, bellflower, sweet woodruff, European Michaelmas daisy, marigold, hedge bedstraw, wall germander, and maidenhair spleenwort. Fauna species: wild boar, gray wolf, roe deer, Eurasian lynx, red fox, squirrel, raven, lesser spotted eagle, woodpecker, cuckoo, blackbird, wagtail, green sandpiper, Ural owl, leaf warblers, butterflies, but also 17 ‘rare or very rare’ wasp species.

Poiana Brașov nature reserve

Poiana Brașov is a mountain resort, part of Brașov municipality in Brașov County, Transylvania, Romania. Poiana Brașov has been a destination for hiking and winter sports since ancient times. The first documentary mention of this place dates from 1427, in the context of the sheep herding activities that took place here. Skiers have climbed Postăvarul Mountain since 1895, and in 1906, the first ski competition took place in Poiana Brașov. The mountainous area (forests, pastures, and meadows) that surrounds the resort protects a diverse range of plants from the spontaneous flora (trees, shrubs, grasses, and flowers) and provides food and shelter conditions for several species of Romania’s wild fauna. The woody flora consists of trees and shrubs with species of fir, spruce, pine, larch, yew, ash, alder, juniper, and others. As for the grass, several floristic species could be found (some protected in the EU), among which are: edelweiss, alpine lily, red vanilla orchid, bellflower, leopard plant, lady’s slipper orchid, yarrow, and others. Wildlife includes species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and insects, some of which are protected nationally and internationally or on the IUCN red list: brown bear, deer, roe deer, gray wolf, fox, Eurasian lynx, red squirrel; western capercaillie, Eurasian kestrel, peregrine falcon, alpine accentor, raven, golden eagle, Eurasian hoopoe, cuckoo, blackbird, crested newt, viper, wall lizard, clouded Apollo, Transylvanian Dark Bush-cricket

Dumbrăvița, Rotbav, and Măgura Codlei Reserve

The nature reserve is located in the counties of Brașov and, partly, of Covasna, within the radius of the Dumbrăvița, Codlea, Holbav, Hălchiu, Feldioara, Măieruş, Belin, and Hăghig localities. It is divided into three distinct areas and has a total area of over 4,500 hectares. The protected area was designated for the protection of wild bird species, especially those of community (European) interest, being one of the most important nesting and stopover areas in this part of the country. The birds of first importance are the nesting species such as the pygmy cormorant, great bittern, little bittern, purple heron, night heron, yellow heron, little egret, great egret, ferruginous duck, western marsh harrier, little crake, corn crake, Ural owl, white-backed woodpecker, middle-spotted woodpecker, black woodpecker, grey-headed woodpecker, collared flycatcher, and red-breasted flycatcher. Among the species that are only passing through the reservation, the most representative ones, present in large numbers every year, are the black stork, the ruff, the wood sandpiper, or the black tern. In addition to birds, the protected area also houses other animal species of community interest, such as the beaver and the otter. The reserve is also notable for the variety of the landscape, which goes from wetlands (fish ponds, lakes, running water, swamps, and reeds) to meadows, pastures, and forests. The main access points are in the localities of Dumbrăvița, Rotbav, and Codlea.

The Dealul Cetăţii-Lempeș protected area

Dealul Cetății-Lempeș (The Fortress Hill) is a ‘protected area of national interest’ that corresponds to the fourth category of the IUCN (namely a botanical nature reserve, due to the xerophilic plants that appeared in the postglacial period) located in Brașov County, on the administrative territories of Sânpetru and Harman communes. The natural area of 274.50 hectares is located in the central-eastern part of Bârsa Country (an ethnographic and historical region in the south-east of Transylvania), in the eastern extremity of Brașov County (near the Harman Swamp Nature Reserve), and is crossed by the county road DJ112A that connects Bod with Harman. The reserve has several types of habitats, such as beech forests, beech and hornbeam forests, Dacian oak and hornbeam forests, and habitats with Euro-Siberian Forest steppe vegetation with oak species. The flora consists of trees with species such as oak, sessile oak, a subspecies of small-leaved linden, hornbeam, Norway maple, black pine, and shrubs with specimens of hawthorn, flowering ash, European cornel, bloody dogwood, hazel, oval-leaved privet, spindle, or blackthorn. As far as the herbs are concerned, several species of plants could be found, as follows: in the forested areas, steppe plant species, dry grasses and sedges (xerophilous plants) in glades and thickets, and floristic rarities in the meadow areas. From the variety of plants found in the area of the nature reserve, we can mention the following floristic species: pheasant’s eye, red bugloss, iris, bluebell, bunchgrass, feather grass, and others. The fauna is represented by: mammals with species of deer, bear, roe deer, wild boar, fox, wild cat, and squirrel; birds: buzzard, raven, booted eagle, blackbird, hoopoe, and robin; reptiles, amphibians, and insects

Towns in Brașov County


Bran is a commune in Brașov County, Transylvania, Romania, consisting of Bran (as the main administrative unit) and the villages of Predeluț, Sohodol, and Șimon. The Wallachian ruler Vlad the Impaler besieged in the past the medieval Bran Castle, which is today a popular tourist destination, largely because it recalls the home of Count Dracula in the famous novel Dracula (1897) by the Irish writer Bram Stoker (1847–1922). At the beginning of the 13th century, the Teutonic Order built a wooden fort here, the first Bran castle, called Dietrichstein. After the destruction of the fort in 1242 by the Mongols, King Louis I of Hungary ordered the construction of a stone castle in 1377. In 1498, Bran came under the jurisdiction of Brașov. Bran became part of the Principality of Transylvania in the 16th century, annexed to the Habsburg Empire after the Ottoman Empire defeated the Kingdom of Hungary. In 1804, the commune became an integral part of the Austrian Empire and, in 1866, of the new dualistic Austro-Hungarian state. After the First World War, it will be part of the Kingdom of Romania, along with the rest of Transylvania. In Bran there is Stella Maris, or the Queen’s Chapel, a copy of the chapel in Balcic; Princess Ileana of Romania built it to house the vessel with the heart of Queen Maria of Romania, which was brought to Romania after the Quadrilateral was ceded to Bulgaria in 1940. The chapel in Bran was renovated and made sacred in 2005.


Codlea is a municipality in Brașov County, Transylvania, Romania. Between the years 1211 and 1225, the Teutonic Knights were in Bârsa Country. For the defense of the country, they built five fortresses, including the Black Fortress (Schwarzburg) on a 980-meter hilltop, located at the foot of Codlea Hillock, the fortress being on the so-called Sachsenweg (the Road of the German Saxons), a road that connected Bârsa Country with the Province of Sibiu. The fortress was first mentioned in documents in 1265 under the name of Castro Feketewholum (Fortress on the Black Hill), after the withdrawal of the Teutons, coming under the protection of King Béla IV of Hungary, later Stephen V. In 1335, Charles I of Hungary demolished the fortification, and it was never rebuilt. It is assumed that the German settlers founded Codlea settlement during the period when the Teutonic Order was still active in Bârsa Country. It was a village with a single street and a square with a church as its center. In a document issued on November 19, 1377, the locality is mentioned for the first time as Cidinis. In 1794, Georg Draudt mentions the year 1335, when the Tatars destroyed Codlea, as the first date related to this place. In the Middle Ages, Codlea represented one of the five seats of judgment in Bârsa Country, which also included Vulcan and perhaps the previously mentioned but disappeared localities. In 1599, the Wallachian ruler Michael the Brave devastated the settlement, and in 1600, the Moldavian troops did the same. In 1612, Gabriel Báthory occupied Codlea, and most of its defenders were executed. In the same year, the people of Brasov Codlea successively recaptured and lost it again. In 1658, the Tatars destroyed the city, but the population escaped to the church fortress. On April 13, 1704, during Rákóczi’s uprising, imperial troops defeated Mihály Henter’s Szekler insurgent army at the Battle of Codlea. The first mention of Romanian inhabitants’ dates from 1699; at that time, the locality was inhabited by 23 Romanian families. The Romanian neighborhood, located to the southwest of the Saxon neighborhood, was initially developed separately from it, later joining it. In 1766, 500 Saxon families, 80 Romanians, and 30 Gypsies, most of them blacksmiths, inhabited it. In the 19th century, Codlea became an active agricultural and industrial settlement, with model farms, tool workshops, and furniture factories. During the First World War, in 1916, after the entry of Romanian troops into Transylvania, part of the Saxons of Codlea took refuge in the Hârtibaciu Valley (Harbachtal) and even in Banat, with the Saxons of Codlea falling on the front or disappearing 101 people. When the Romanian troops passed through Codlea, the deputy mayor of the locality, Michael Königes, managed to conclude an agreement, thus preventing fires and looting. In January 1945, about 500 Saxon residents were deported to the river Don, of which only 300 returned by 1949. During the communist regime, Codlea was known for its flower greenhouses (especially with carnations), furniture factories, the Paint Factory Colorom, and the penitentiary. Today, Codlea has a museum of the traditions that is worth visiting, the Saxon Church with the coffered ceiling, and the hiking trails on Codlea Hillock.


Hălchiu is the residence village of the commune with the same name in Brașov County, Transylvania, Romania, which is part of the historical region of Bârsa Country and is 16 km from Brașov, 11 km from Codlea, and 8 km from Feldioara. Tradition places the beginnings of this settlement somewhere between the expulsion of the Teutonic Knights from the area in 1225 and the great invasion of the Mongols in 1241. Then, the knight Fulkun (Haldeboatski in the documents), together with 10 families, settled on these places and received the fortress of Halchi from King Andrew II of Hungary to defend it. During the Mongol invasion, with the knight Fulkun dying and leaving no descendants, his entire fortune and terra Zek returned to the king. The first documentary mention of the village dates back to 1377, when Brașov and Bârsa Country were granted royal privileges. In 1421, following a devastating Turkish invasion, the king exempted Halchiu from taxes for 10 years. The commune suffered from other Turkish devastations in 1432 and 1438. On September 24, 1536, Hălchiu was fined 20 florins for killing some Romanians (volachii), this being the first documentary mention of Romanians in this locality. On October 20, 1599, the Wallachian ruler Michael the Brave entered Hălchiu with an army of 25,000 men, set fire to the settlement, and attacked the fortress where the inhabitants had taken refuge six times without success. After a month, he returned in a flash and conquered the fortress after the first attack. A year later, Michael the Brave’s troops burned the town again. In the following period (1603–1604), famine ruled the settlement, with many feeding on roots and corpses, and, in the absence of animals, every eight people were pulled to a yoke to plough! During the Revolution of 1848–1849, the citizens of Hălchiu between 16 and 50 years of age were forced to join the national guard; there were armed clashes with the Szeklers, and the settlement suffered a series of robberies. Between 1914 and 1918, during the First World War, approximately 500 people were enlisted from Hălchiu. During the Romanian offensive from August to October 1916, 12 Romanians and 73 German Saxons lost their lives. Between 1939 and 1945, during the Second World War, more than 600 people from Hălchiu were conscripted, the number of victims being more than 230. During the weeks following the Event of August 23, 1944, the villagers hid in their houses over 100 German soldiers, but on January 14, 1945, 306 women and men from Halchiu were deported to the USSR, 47 of them dying.


Făgăraș is a municipality in Brașov County, Transylvania, Romania, located on the route DN1, 66 km from the city of Brașov and 76 km from the city of Sibiu, on the banks of the Olt River, at the foot of the Făgăraș Mountains, and with a population of 30,714 inhabitants. Before the Union of Transylvania with Romania, the city was the administrative center of Făgăraș County, and between 1920 and 1950, it was the seat of Făgăraș County. From a geographical point of view, the city of Făgăraș is located in the area called Făgăraș Country, one of the ‘oldest and most important geographical and ethno-cultural areas in Romania’. This area is also called Olt Country and is adjacent to Loviște Country, Bârsa Country, and Amlaş Country. The settlement was documented in 1291 under the name of Fogros. The construction of the Făgăraş Fortress began in 1310 by the governor of Transylvania, Ladislau Apor (Opor), on the site of an older earth and wood fortification from the 12th century. The kings of Hungary granted in the Middle Ages the Fagaraș Fortress, along with Amlaș, as fiefs to the wallahian rulers who placed themselves under their protection, among them Vladislav Vlaicu (1364–1377), entitled Vajvoda Transalpinus et banus Zeverino necnon dux de Fogaras, and Mircea the Elder, voivode of Wallachia (1386–1394 and 1397–1418), who also held the title of Duke of Amlaș and Făgăraș. Over time, the city became an important political center, especially due to hosting the Diets as a princely residence, as well as the fact that in the 16th and 17th centuries, it was the Superior Court. In 1721, Făgăraș became the headquarters of the Romanian Episcopate United with Rome (Greek-Catholic), the bishop’s residence being on the first floor of the south wing of the fortress, but bishop Ioan Giurgiu Patachi preferred to stay at the Brukenthal Castle in Sâmbăta de Jos. In Făgăraş, Bishop Giurgiu raised the St. Nicholas Church, founded by Constantin Brâncoveanu, to the rank of episcopal cathedral; since then, the episcopate’s title has been changed to Episcopy of Făgăraș and Alba Iulia. In Făgăraș, bishop Inocentiu Micu-Klein lived in a house built in 1727, and in 1737 he moved his episcopal residence, through an exchange of properties, to Blaj, to be in the center of the diocese’s territory. The Saxon settlers strongly influenced the architectural style of Făgăraş, which was combined starting in the 18th century with the Austrian Baroque. Between 1948 and 1960, the fortress served as a prison for opponents of the communist system in Făgăraş Country, political prisoners. Făgăraş became one of the prisons in the Romanian Gulag system. Currently, the citadel houses the Valer Literat Făgăraș Country Museum as well as the Municipal Library.


Feldioara is the residence village of the commune of the same name in Brașov County, Transylvania, Romania. It is part of the historical region of Bârsa Country, located approximately 500 meters above sea level. The Romanian name of the locality is derived from the Hungarian, Föld-Vár, which means ‘earth citadel’. The German name Marienburg means ‘Mary’s Castle’, referring to the Virgin Mary, the patroness of the Order of the Teutonic Knights. The Feldioara fortress is ‘the most important fortification built by the Teutonic knights in Transylvania’. On the left bank of the river Olt, at the point called ‘Cetățuia’ (the Citadel), there was a Roman settlement, probably a castrum or castellum, from where ceramic fragments and bricks come. The most precious discovery on the territory of this commune is the 393-gram gold ingot, with stamped Latin inscriptions, from the 4th century, coming from the Eastern Roman Empire. The locality was documented in 1240 under the name Castrum Sancte Maria. In 1529, the Battle of Feldioara took place here. The nobleman Grozav, together with the Moldavian army, won over the partisans of Ferdinand of Habsburg. The fortress in Feldioara (Feldioara commune, Brașov County) was built in the 13th century. The citadel is a historical monument, but it was a ruin until 2013. It was completely restored between 2013 and 2017 and can be visited today.


Prejmer is the residence village of the commune of the same name in Brașov County, Transylvania, Romania. The foundation date and origin of the settlement are unknown. The Slavic origin of the Romanian and Hungarian names of the locality supports the hypothesis that an older settlement of Slavic origin preceded the current locality. It is only certain that the first documentary attestation of the locality dates from 1240, when King Béla IV of Hungary (1235–1271) ceded the church of Prejmer with ‘all its revenues and rights’ to the Citeaux Monastery in Burgundy, the mother-abbey of the Cistercian Order, for the public benefit of the entire order. Around 1211, another king of Hungary, Andrei II, mentions in a document addressed to the Teutons the name of the river Tărlung, next to which the town of Prejmer will grow. The Teutonic Knights who receive rights over this territory are the ones who will raise to a certain level the church in Tartlau, the Saxon name of the locality; the place of worship is built in the Burgundian Gothic style thanks to the Cistercians in Cârța, like other monuments in Transylvania. The fortified church of Prejmer underwent numerous interventions, but following the restoration of the Directorate of Monuments between 1960 and 1970, it regained its original form. It constitutes ‘the best preserved and strongest medieval church-citadel in Eastern Europe’, and in 1999, the church was included in the UNESCO world cultural heritage list.


Râșnov is a city in Brașov County, Transylvania, Romania, located in the southwest of the Brașov Depression, 15 km from the municipality of Brașov, on the course of the Ghimbășel River, at an average altitude of 676 meters. The town currently has approximately 16,000 inhabitants. The city’s emblem is a shield with three roses. In antiquity, there was the Roman Cumidava Castrum, located 4 km northwest of Râșnov. The archaeological excavations revealed inside the castrum fragments of walls, fragments of sealed terracotta, and a clay figurine representing Venus, the Roman name of the Greek goddess Aphrodite, the goddess of love, beauty, and fertility. Between 1211 and 1225, during the reign of King Andrew II of Hungary, the Teutonic Cavaliers built the first church, a place dedicated to Saint George. The church was built at the foot of the Râșnov fortress, near the only observation tower there, a tower demolished in the 19th century. The first documentary mention of Râșnov dates back to 1331 under the name of Rosnou; later, in 1343, it appears with the name of Rosnov; another name that appears in the documents is Villa Rosarum. The great Mongol invasion of 1241, when Bârsa Country was devastated, as well as the invasions that followed, led the inhabitants of Râșnov to think about building a defense system as strong as possible, thus explaining the need to build the Peasant Fortress of Râșnov, where the population was forced to take refuge countless times; the history of the fortress is largely the history of the city itself. The first documentary mention of the peasant fortress of Râșnov dates from the year 1335, when, on the occasion of a new invasion of the Tatars in Bârsa Country, the entire land was deserted, apart from the fortress on Tâmpa Hill from Brașov and the Râșnov Fortress, which were heavily fortified and withstood the attacks, saving the lives of the refugee inhabitants within their walls. The main monument of the city is the Râșnov Citadel, but there are also other tourist attractions, such as Râșnov Dino Park, Union Square, etc.


Rupea is a city in Brașov County, Transylvania, Romania, consisting of the localities of Fișer and Rupea (the residence). In 2011, the population of the locality was 5,269 inhabitants. In the locality, there are both monuments of architectural heritage of national interest (Rupea Citadel, from 14–17 centuries, and the complex of the Evangelical Church, from 15–18 centuries), as well as monuments of local interest (the complex of the Citadel Street, between the Evangelical Cemetery and the Blocks, from 18–19 centuries, the complex of the Republic Street, from 18–19 centuries, the house on 104 Republic Street, from 17th century, 1870, Nicolae Filipescu’s house on 105 Republic Street, from 18th century, and the house at no. 117, from 1860). Apart from them, the Roman Catholic Church, a former monastery of the Franciscan order, originally built in the Romanesque style, dates from the 13th century, according to some sources. The Rupea Fortress, attested in 1324 as a royal castle, castro Kuholm, developed around a documented settlement from the 13th century. In the 15th century, the fortress was put under the administration of the Saxon community, which transformed it into a fortress of refuge, experiencing several stages of expansion until the 17th century. The following local festivals and events take place in Rupea: The Haferland Week Festival, held in the area between Rupea and Sighisoara, is an event promoting Saxon culture and traditions. The men’s caroling, a traditional custom registered on the UNESCO intangible world heritage list, is held in the locality on the occasion of the Christmas holidays. Every Friday, a fair (market) is held in the locality, as documented in 1434 (Oppidum Kwehelm). In 1589, Prince Sigismund Bathory’s document mentions it again. Rupea has an ethnographic museum named after a loca scholar, Gheorghe Cernea, a department of the Braşov County Museum of Ethnography.


Săcele is a municipality in Brașov County, Transylvania, Romania, located in the southeastern part of Brașov County, in the immediate vicinity of Brașov Municipality. The DN1A Route (Brașov-Vălenii de Munte-Ploiești) and DN1 Route (Bucharest- Brașov, the main national road) crossed it. The municipality is located on the site of old villages that became, more recently, neighborhoods of the city: Baciu (Bácsfalu), Turcheș (Türkös), Cernatu (Csernátfalu), and Satulung (Hosszúfalu). The city of Săcele, also known in the past as ‘Seven Villages’, was administratively established in 1950 from the territory of the first four of the seven Săcele settlements: Baciu, Turcheș, Cernatu, Satulung, Tărlungeni, Purcăreni, and Zizin. Săcele was declared a municipality on June 6, 2000. The first official mention dates back to May 16, 1366, when the Hungarian king Ludovic I of Anjou offered the lands between the Timiș and Tărlung rivers to his good-faith friend, Count Stanislav. The name Săcele is mentioned for the first time in a letter from the Wallahian voivode Vlad Călugărul (1482-1495) to the magistrate of Brașov. The oldest inhabitants of the seven villages were the mocans, or local shepherds. They are mentioned in numerous documents, in which their spiritual, cultural, and material wealth are noted. They owned thousands of sheep, and their villages were among the most prosperous in the area. During the process of transhumance, which took place from Săcele to Dobrogea, they established a locality with the same name in Constanța County. The customs of the people of Sacele persist to this day: Sântilie, festivals, traditional folk costumes, architecture, etc. The Ceangăi (Romanian Hungarian Catholic population) are the second ethnic community of Săcele, and the annual Feast of St. Michael is a specific and important community event. The municipality has numerous Hungarian and Romanian schools, as well as many old churches of different confessions, many of them real monuments.

Sânpetru (St. Peter)

Sânpetru is the village of residence of the namesake commune in Brașov County, Transylvania, Romania. It is located at the foot of Lempeș Hill (704 meters) and is part of the historical region of Bârsa Country. Towards Harman, the snake’s head grows and is declared a monument of nature. The river Durbav, a tributary of the river Ghimbășel, crossed it. The locality has been documented since 1240 under the name Mons Sancti Petri. However, it was founded earlier, during the rule of the Order of the Teutonic Knights, namely by the ‘group of the one hundred’ local inhabitants. The Romanesque Church on Sânpetru Hill also dates from the 13th century and was largely demolished in 1794. Traces of a painting on one of the walls of the fortified citadel led experts to assume that Cistercian monks had built a monastery there around the year 1240. During the Turkish invasion of 1432, Sânpetru was partially destroyed, but in the same century, the walls of the peasant fortification were raised to a height of eight meters. At a later stage (1610), two-story rooms and five defense towers were also built. The powerful fire of 1625 destroyed the village archive. The oldest documents in the archive date from 1750. A new raid by the Turks in Bârsa Country in 1658 caused a devastating fire in Sânpetru, and a series of victims were killed and buried right in the church. The years 1823 and 1855 again brought fires to the village. In the last one, Sânpetru burned five times


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