Brasov: From the German Kronstadt to the City of Stalin

Diana Condrea
Diana Condrea
Diana is a tourism consultant, tour guide, travel writer and amateur photographer. You can find Diana on LinkedIn

Discover our Brasov Walking Tour 

Brasov is one of the most beautiful and visited cities in Romania. It has a rich mix of history, culture, urban fun, and impressive Carpathians’ surroundings. A top tourist attraction, the city has a great location, less than three hours by train from Bucharest, Sibiu, and Sighisoara.


The Black Church

Brasov: The city of many names

Brasov is the core of the historical Country of Barsei, donated in 1211 by the Hungarian King Andrei the 2nd to the Teutonic Knights who settled the area and founded the city.

First documented in writing under the Latin name of Corona, Brasov was also known as Krondstat in German or Brassso in Hungarian. Its strategic location on the commercial route that linked the three Romanian provinces and the Balkans to the Baltic States helped it develop rapidly.

However, Brasov was not spared the destruction caused by the medieval attacks of the Tatars, the Ottomans, or the expansion of regional empires. In 1541, Transylvania became an autonomous principality under Ottoman control, and over one century later it was conquered by the Habsburg Empire. Brasov developed under both empires, and, until the Great Unification with Romania, the local Romanian population had more freedom there than in most parts of Transylvania.

Powered by the accelerated industrial development during communism, Brasov became the city of Stalin. Nonetheless, it found the courage to revolt against the shortages and absurdity of the regime in 1987.


View from the fortification walls

Attractions not to miss in Brasov

The city has plenty of attractions and you need at least one weekend to explore it. Brasov is also a great starting point for many day trips across Transylvania.

Read also The Top 10 Things To Do in Brasov for First-Time Visitors

Medieval landmarks

The Black Church is the most famous medieval monument in Brasov. Over 600 years old, this is the largest hall-church east of Vienna and one of the most impressive Gothic-style buildings in this corner of Europe. The church was seriously damaged by the great fire of 1689 that destroyed much of the city. Its walls were blackened by the flames and the church, originally named Saint Mary, became known as the Black Church.

Black Church

The Black Church

Next to the Black Church, you’ll see the Council Tower, another iconic attraction from the old city center. The headquarters of the court of law back in the 15th century, the Council Tower had many functions over the centuries. Today, it serves as the Museum of History, offering a panoramic view over Council Square.


The Council Tower and Square

Only a short walk from it, you’ll discover the ruins of the medieval fortifications. Partly demolished in the 19th century, there are still a few walls, bastions, and towers that partly recreate the image of an enclosed and powerful citadel.

The existent fortifications border the Lower Walls – the Black Tower, the White Tower, and the Graft Bastion – and the Upper Walls – the Weavers’ Bastion, the Drapers’ Bastion, the Red Tanners’ Bastion – from the foothills of Tampa Mountain. The only access gate still preserved is the Renaissance-style Ecaterina’s Gate from 1559.

Ecaterina's gate

Ecaterina’s Gate

Very close to the Upper Walls and the Synagogue, you’ll find one of the narrowest streets in Europe, Sforii Street. With a varying width between 111 and 135 centimeters, this street is a popular tourist attraction.

Religious diversity

Visit also the Synagogue, the 14th century Orthodox Church Saint Nicolae, the 18th century Catholic Church, and the medieval fortified church of Bartolomeu, the oldest in Brasov.

Cetatuia Fortress

Easy to spot on a hill outside the Old Town, this fortress was for centuries part of the city’s defensive mechanism. Enlarged and modernized many times, the fortress was also a prison and a military base. Currently closed to visitors, the fortress still deserves the walk up to the plateau for a great view of Brasov.

Tampa Mountain

This urban mountain is a nature reserve and one of the best-known images of Brasov. It has a maximum altitude of 960 meters and connects the city to hiking trails from Bucegi and Postavarului Mountains. Save one hour for the easy hike to the top for a great Brasov walking tour.

For all its history, beautiful architecture, and surrounding landscapes, Brasov is one of the best destinations in Romania. Spend at least one day here although ideally, you need three or four.

Travel tips

Brasov city is an excellent starting point for many hikes in the nearby Bucegi or Piatra Craiului Mountains.

Take trips to Prejmer and Viscri, the medieval fortresses of Rupea and Rasnov, or the famous Peles Castle and Bran Castle.

Where to stay in Brasov

Book in time for your stay in Brasov. If you’re looking for a lovely guest house in the Old Town, we recommend Villa Katharina, Casa Rozelor, and The Pines Boutique Villa but also the boutique hotels Bella Muzica and Antler.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *