Quaint Transylvanian Village
Our destination for a two-day stay in Transylvania was the city of Brasov. Brasov is actually a good size city with a population of a little over 250,000, but the old section has stuck to its medieval roots and while roaming the old streets it seems very quiet and quaint. The center of the old town has a very large and well- kept square, called Council Square. It has been the site of open markets since the mid-1300’s. It is a beautiful open space with fountains, beautiful buildings and outside cafes. The buildings roofs are all adorned with red, terra-cotta tiles, which make for an impressive sight when looking down from Mt. Tampa. I read a lot about Vlad the Impaler and one site had him impaling many of his rivals, that he believed conspired against his father, and impaled them and posted them around this square. There was nothing in Brasov that brought this history up, other than a mention that Vlad had taken them to the top of Mt. Tampa to post them. Not sure which is true, but I couldn’t help but envision humans impaled on a 10-15-foot post lining the outskirts of the square. I can see why he would use that to intimidate possible invaders.
I mentioned Mt. Tampa earlier and the square is nestled right at the bottom leaving a beautiful view of the mountain hovering nearby. From the square, you can see cable cars going up the side of the mountain, and a little to the right of the cable cars are large letters spelling out BRASOV, much like the hills in Hollywood. Friend Terry is going to share his blog on the cable car ride and hike around the top of Mt. Tampa in another post, you can find here. I will say the views from the top were incredible and well worth the walk and ride.
Back in town, you feel the influence of the German Saxons who began settling in the valley in the 1300’s and the Teutonic German Knights who begin protecting the area by building fortified churches and building bastions around the city of Brasov, some of which you can still see today. Near our hotel was a church and a very interesting cemetery which we took a good bit of time roaming around, as that is one of our favorite to-dos in any of these old cites. Visiting cemeteries while traveling gives you a unique insight into the people who have come before. Across the street was a museum that housed the first printing press introduced to Romania and several very old historic books. As we continued our walk back down towards Council Square we came across the famous Black Church. The Black Church was originally built in the late 1300’s was destroyed, rebuilt, and then a fire in the late 1600’s gave it a black char, hence the name. It also has the biggest mechanical organ in the country and the largest collection of Oriental carpets outside of Turkey. Johannes Honterus was a Transylvanian Saxon who was very influential in introducing the reformation to Romania and preached out of this church.
Brasov was very enjoyable, it was a good 20 degrees cooler than Bucharest (we were there in August) and the views were incredible. The old city center had a good vibe and plenty of dining options from which to choose from. If in the Transylvania area, I would highly recommend a stop in Brasov.
For more awesome pictures of our adventure in Bucharest check out our Instagram.