Brasov city, Kronstadt in German, is one of the seven fortified towns of Transylvania. Nowadays it’s one of the largest cities in Romania, population about 300,000, and one of the most visited tourist destinations.
It’s located in the south – eastern part of Transylvania, in “Barsa Country”, a flat area protected by mountains (Postavaru on the west, Bucegi, Piatra Mare and Ciucas on the south) and open to the Transylvanian hills to the north and east.
Established by Teutonic Knights at the beginning of the 13th century, on an ancient Dacian site, it developed due to its position, being on the main trade routes connecting Transylvania, Moldavia and Walachia. Partially destroyed by Mongols (Tartars) in 1241, it survived and grew into one of the largest and most important fortified Saxon towns of Transylvania, now a modern and cosmopolitan city with its old center surrounded by section of the 14th – 16th century defensive wall and towers, flanked by high hills and displaying the new districts towards the lower surrounding areas.
- the main square (Piata Sfatului) is the heart of the old town, with the Council House, built in 1420, nowadays housing the History Museum, in the center
- the Black Church, consider to be the largest Gothic church between Vienna and Istanbul, and still used by German Lutherans today. The church was built between 1383 and 1477, replacing a smaller one. Originally Catholic, it was one of the first to suffer during the 16th century Reformation, when the inside frescos were covered. Its name came from its blackened appearance after the great fire of 1689. The church’s organ was built by Buchholz of Berlin in 1839, has 4000 pipes and it’s believed to be the only one preserved in its original form. The collection of 16th – 18th century Turkish rugs is also impressive.
- the 15th century defensive system, the walls, bastions and towers, plus the Black Tower and the White Tower, dominating the city. Mid 16th century St. Ecaterina Gate is the only one that survived, on the way to the Romanian Schei district.
- the first Romanian school, organized along with the first Romanian Orthodox Church in Schei district, at the end of 15th century.
- the main shopping area, a pedestrian street with 16th to 19th century merchant houses, and going down to the early 20th century city hall.
- not at last, an excursion up to Mount Timpa, 967m, by cable car or by foot, to enjoy the view, might be an unforgettable experience.
Not at last, the vibrant and lively central area, around Babes – Bolyai University, founded in 1872, and not only, Cluj being one of the largest university center in the country.