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Listed under Medieval Towns in Braşov, Romania.

  • Photo of Brasov
  • Photo of Brasov
Photo of Brasov
Photo by flickr user bortescristian
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This ancient fortress city spreads welcomingly across a green valley, between the shrouds of forbidding, beautiful forest that covers the place where the Carpathian and Transylvanian mountains join. To reach it by car, it’s necessary to view it from above as you traverse the mountain pass, watched over by a great marble cross from one peak, and a glowing, Hollywood-style ‘Brasov’ sign from another (- quite possibly the only reason for the town’s ‘Little Hollywood’ epithet).

Also dubbed ‘Romania’s Prague’, it offers a similar mix of intriguing, tangled history, singular culture, a burgeoning arts scene and beautiful architecture – but without the vile stag parties, so far. This may well be the moment to discover it, in fact: students are already beginning to claim it as a gap year destination, since it’s right at the centre of a good number of wildlife conservation and community work projects, many of them still necessary either directly or indirectly as a result of Romania’s Communist years) and the beer is fantastic and cheap – so those with less philanthropic intentions are bound to notice sooner or later.

Being almost equidistant from every major tourist destination in Romania, it’s also an ideal place to start out from, to experience a taste of the culture in a friendly city that’s proud of its heritage and has a youthful attitude.

To explore the city’s history, see the First Romanian School museum (an adorable little 14th century building right out of a fairy story, which contains Romania’s first printing press and first Bible), the medieval fortress wall, which runs along the riverbank, the White and Black towers and other remaining bastions, the colourful, baroque edifices on Piata Sfatului and the Schei Gate – and attend one of the free choral concerts at the Gothic Biserica Neagra (- Black Church).

There are plenty of pavement cafes and restaurants in quaint courtyards and converted wine cellars, where traditional Romanian food is on offer, and even the most popular are reasonably priced by UK standards, but market shopping is also an unexpectedly indulgent experience.

The Golden Stag Festival of Music is held here every autumn, as well as various music and film festivals, and the local arts community is a thriving one, as exemplified by galleries such as Kron-Art, three theatres and a thriving opera house.

Be sure to branch out and explore the surrounding villages such as Poiana Brasov, Sighisoara and Bistrita, and discover legend, history and wildlife; there’s far more to this area than a vampire story!

Written by  larapiegeler.

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A medieval Saxon settlement nestled in between Transylvanian mountains on three sides, Brasov was founded by Teutonic Knights in 1211 and is one of Europe’s best preserved (and restored) ancient towns, its most famous feature the Biserica Neagra or Black Church is Europe’s largest Gothic Church. The surrounding mountains rise from green fields through forest to bare grey rock providing a good setting for out door adventures it also hosts The Golden Stag Music Festival.

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