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Transylvania ~ Brasov

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Piata Sfatului - the main square of BrasovSituated in the heart of the Prahova Valley, it was a prime trading route for many centuries, and fought for in many battles for territorial rites. Despite these many battles, and its rocky history, Brasov continues to thrive, and you will not be disappointed. Highlights of Brasov include the Gothic Protestant Church built between 1385 and 1477. It is known by the name of "Black Church" because of its smoke-blackened walls after a fire in 1689. The church was recently restored, and tourists can now enjoy organ concerts or admire the enchanting Oriental rug collection. Piata Sfatului, the main square of Brasov, and one of the finest in Europe, is the heart of Brasov. Restaurants and shops litter the square, with varieties ranging from Asian to Italian, and of course traditional Romanian. Umbrella covered terraces, and a number of pubs to quench your thirst, Piata Sfatului is a great spot, even to sit at the water fountain and watch life pass by.

Brasov old town hallOn the west side of the old town, where the old walls are still standing, you can walk down picturesque Strada Dupa Ziduri (Behind the Walls Street) to catch a glimpse of the White and Black towers, built in the 15th century to watch over and defend the town. The White Tower, erected between 1460- 1494 is shaped as a closed semicircle with the right side pointing towards the city and it is 14 meters high. The elevated entrance made outsider’s access difficult. The tower was restored in 1723 after the fire in 1689 and repainted white. The Black Tower was built in 1494 on a rock on Starja Hill, close to the Blacksmith’s Bastion. It’s shaped as a square and it is 11 meters high. The roof of the tower was destroyed in 1599 by lightning and the walls were blackened by the fire caused by the lightning which explains its name. Since then it has been damaged several times either by lightings or heavy rains and it was last restored in 1996. Its pyramid shaped roof distinguishes it from the White Tower. It now houses a museum with four floors each reached by a narrow wooden ladder, with small displays of war related artifacts. Brasov white towerBoth towers offer an amazing view of the city, especially at night. Graft Bastion (Bastionul Graft) : built in 1521, it was thoroughly renovated, and its four levels are now all open for visit. At the top levels visitors have the chance to admire several exhibits of medieval objects, artifacts, weapons, all very interesting and well preserved.

Another important part of the old fortification system is the Brasov Fortress which overlooked the city. At first the structure was made out of wood, but in the 16th century it was rebuilt in stone. It was abandoned one century later as technological and military progress made it too weak to withstand an attack.

You would not want to miss walking on Stada Sforii, the narrowest street in Europe, only 1.3 meters wide. It was built in theBrasov Ecaterina Gate 15th century as a means of access for firemen and it is today one Brasov’s unique attractions.

Among Brasov’s five gates, built to keep invaders outside the city walls, two are left standing to tell the story of medieval Brasov: Ecaterina’s Gate and Schei Gate. Both of them are on the south-west part of the fortress. The others which were mainly located on the northern side of the walls were demolished in the 19th century mainly because they came in the way of traffic.

If you let your imagination run free, a walk around Brasov is like a journey in time definitely worth a few pages in your travel log.

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Black Church
St. Nicholas Church
Piata Sfatului

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