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BRASOV | KRONSTADT
The Saxons built the Braşovia fortress, at the bottom of the mountains, at the end of the 12th century. The Teutonic knights enforced the fortress around 1211.
An old document named the fortress Corona at the middle of the 13th century. Its inhabitants, great householders and craftsmen, have developed the fortress, they fortified it, dug defensive ditches and, during the further centuries they built high walls, bastions and towers. The Corona fortress became Kronstadt, a prosperous trade town.
Various guilds were created, the Saxons in Brasov built the first paper mill in South-East Europe. Thus, step by step, Kronstadt developed and became one of the most important and best fortified towns in Transylvania.
A walk through the historic center of Braşov is like travelling in time. We shall visit the old defensive walls at the feet of Tâmpa massif, the Weavers’ Bastion, the Graft bastion, the Blacksmiths’ tower the Black and the White Tower, the Ecatherina Gate and the Schei Gate.
Quite impressive is, of course, the Black Church. Bearing a tumultuous history through harsh times, today it is known as the greatest Gothic monument in South-East Europe.
But in Braşov there also lived Romanians, Bulgarians, Macedonians and Aromanians… It’s true, they lived outside the fortress, in the area called “Schei”. They contributed at the construction of the fortress and the Black Church, but they were forbidden to live inside the defensive walls. In Schei neighbourhood they built their own church and a school… the first Romanian school in Transylvania!
At the beginning of the 19th century, in Braşov arrived a small group of Jewish people. Most of them were tradesmen, craftsmen and intellectuals; they built a wonderful synagogue in the town center.
If you come to Braşov you shouldn’t miss the “Rope Street”.Yes, indeed, it is the narrowest street in Romania! – It’s width is of about 111 cm.
In Piaţa Sfatului (the Council Square) you will be captivated by the warm and diversified hue of the buildings and the architectural mix; the building that dominates the square - Casa Sfatului – a former watch-tower, transformed into the town hall and, later, a history museum. On its façade we can notice the town coats of arms: a blue shield and a tree trunk with 13 silver roots.
A city rich in history like Braşov has so many legends to reveal; the story of the trumpeter in the watch tower, Apollina Hirscher’s story, the conflicts Vlad Dracula had with the Saxon tradesmen, the legend of the apprentice from the Black Church… all of them give flavor to your visit in Braşov.
The historic center of Braşov comes into a great contrast with the stores, bookshops, modern terraces, the cosmopolite atmosphere and the lovely events. And, Braşov seen from above, up from the Tâmpa Peak, is absolutely delightful!