Taking the Long Way travel blog

St Anthony's church

Brasov University



Streets of Brasov



The Black Church

Main Square

Heading up the Tampa Cable Car

View over Brasov

Brasov is Transylvania's number one hub, ringed by mountains and hills and is a gorgeous picturesque town. I arrived exhausted after the all night train extravaganza but with no time to waste, as Romania was an unplanned side-trip, exploration had to start immediately.

A short walk into town saw baroque facades and bohemian outdoor cafes spill onto brick sidewalks around the centre, particularly around the lovely Piata Sfatului, one of Romania's showcased squares. The gold Casa Sfatului (Council House) in the centre of the square dates from 1420 and this was where witches were once burned and prisoners tortured. Rumour has it that a caretaker quit after hearing ghostly screams at night coming from within the Casa..

Brasov started out as a German mercantile colony named Kronstadt and became a major medieval trading centre. The Saxons built ornate churches and town houses, protected by a massive wall that still remains. One of the churches in the south is the magnificent Black Church built between 1384 and 1477 gained its name after a 1689 fire blackened its walls (no one could tell me what it had been called for the centuries before that). It's supposedly the largest Gothic place of worship between Vienna and Istanbul.

A more recent development is a rather tacky 'Hollywood' style BRASOV sign on the top of Mt Tampa that is reached by the Tampa Cable Car that runs directly to the top of the mountain from a base not far from the main square. There was the option of hiking to the top but with no sleep it was all I could do to walk to the cable car, let alone further. The view from the top was lovely though and the whole area of Brasov and its surrounds is just gorgeous. I must admit I am a complete sucker for cobbled streets, turrets, gables and any sort of Gothic architecture.

The place I stayed, near St Nicholas' Church, had an interesting concept of a double room; a double mattress had been precariously balanced on a king-single base so that one side of the bed drooped dangerously low to the ground and I kept waking up with those 'falling off a cliff' dreams, except I really was falling off the bed!

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