Brasov is the second most important city of Transylvania (after Cluj), the largest city in a mountain resorts area and - probably - the most important touristic hub of Romania. It is the only city in the world that includes within its limits a natural reservation and a mountain. The old city itself is very well preserved and benefits from a winter tourism season centered on winter sports and outdoor activities. The surroundings are rich in castles, fortified churches, ski resorts and picturesque villages.
It was first attested in the 13th century under the name Corona (Latin for "crown"). German colonists - known as the Transylvanian Saxons - came in 12th century (from Germany & Belgium) and played a decisive role in Brasov's development; one century later, Teutonic Knights were invited to the region. Germans living in Brasov were mainly involved in trade and crafts, as Brasov was at the intersection of trade routes linking the Ottoman Empire and Western Europe. After the World War II many ethnic Germans were deported by the Soviet Union and subsequently many more emigrated to Germany after Romania became communist. It is also home for a significant ethnic Hungarian minority. The first Romanian language newspaper and the first Romanian institutions of higher education in Transylvania were established in Brasov.
During the communist period, industrial development was accelerated (trucks, tractors, helicopters), attracting many workers from other parts of the country. Encouraged by the beauty of the area and its charming medieval flair, Brasov realized its potential and soon developed as a major touristic center. The construction of Brasov Airport was inaugurated in 2008. When completed, it will be able to handle 1 million passengers per year.
Places to visit in Brasov, Romania
Parks and Gardens
...a mountain in the middle of the city, almost 1.000m high, a sightseeing spot near the old city center. In the sunny day, one can see the entire Burzenland (Tara Barsei).
The Water Park
...the largest in Romania, 40.000 sqm.
The Climbing Park Aventura
...for about 7 euro you will be able to train on tracks ranging from easy to very difficult.
...maybe seeing them in freedom, during an expedition in the mountains around Brasov is not your thing; you can still see some of the carnivores of the Carpathians in the Brasov zoo. And sometimes you don't even need a zoo to see bears in Brasov, as they tend to come down every now and then to the residential areas, allured by the smell of good food.
Biserica Neagra (The Black Church)
...the name came as a result of the 1689 fire that burned it. It was built in 1477 and it is the largest Gothic building in South-Eastern Europe; around 5.000 people fit inside. The Black Church is hosting a 4.000 pipes organ. It has the largest bell in Romania (weight: 4 tonnes).
Casa Sfatului ("The mayor's house")
...for more than 500 years the administration for Brasov was located in Casa Sfatului. The square is the most visited place in the city and used to be the main market of the city during the Middle Ages. Several towers, gates and bastions, as well as the Black Church are located nearby. A major music festival is organized here.
...the historically Bulgarian but then Romanian neighborhood just outside of the Old City's walls.
...the original construction had 3km long walls, several towers, gates and bastions. Some of them still exist.
"Brasov Citadel Fortress" (Cetatuia Brasovului)
...the ruins can be found on top of Tampa mountain were build centuries ago.
Biserica Sf. Nicolae (St. Nicholas Church), built in 1495, placed in Schei, a central neighborhood and Saint Bartolomeu Church built around 1260, placed in Brasovechi neighborhood. Also see the Rope Street is the most narrow street in Romania and one of the narrowest in Europe (1,3m)
The Ethnographic Museum
...apart from the local rural traditions, it has a building dedicated to Urban Civilization, the only one of this kind in Romania.
The First Romanian School
...located in Schei neighborhood, it is a museum with the first Romanian printing press among many other firsts.
Brasov History Museum
...it is located in the most representative building of Brasov, Casa Sfatului, in the main square of the city.
The Art Museum
...several paintings of the most important Romanian artist, Nicolae Grigorescu are displayed here.
Discover the old city starting from the beautiful Piata Sfatului square. Explore the main landmarks, most of them placed inside the fortified walls of the Old Town, then go out and pay a visit to Schei neighborhood to see some great examples of old Romanian architecture, and end your journey in Brasovechi neighborhood.
Brasov is home for 9 colleges and universities; the largest one, Transylvania University has over 30.000 students.
Unirea Shopping Center, Macromall, Eliana Mall, Magnolia Shopping Center
Gheorghe Dima Philarmonic Orchestra, Brasov Opera and the Theatre.
The Golden Stag International Music Festival
...organized since 1968; artists like Kylie Minogue, Ray Charles, INXS, Scorpions, Pink, Natalie Imbruglia, Joe Cocker, Diana Ross, Sheryl Crow, Tom Jones, Kenny Rogers, Ricky Martin, Kelly Familly, Simple Minds performed here in the last decades.
Kronstadt Jazz Festival
...every year in September, over 40 international and Romanian jazz players gather in Brasov.
Black Church organ concerts
...every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday evenings.
...organized since 1992, the beer festival takes place in Poiana Brasov, 12km from the city center. If you want to hear how the Romanian bands sound like and have a couple of beers, make sure you're around Brasov late August.
... a traditional crafts festival that gathers artists from all the regions of Romania. It is the part of the city celebrations that take place at the end of April
...part of the same celebrations, in the first Sunday after the Easter, Junii is the most important local event that celebrates Brasov's traditions. "Junii" are local young men riding horses and welcoming the Spring during a celebration that has its roots in the centuries-old Romanian traditions.