Historic and located in the mountains, the picturesque city of Brasov is an enchanting destination. Today, we list the things for which it’s famous.
Located in the historic region of Transylvania and surrounded by the Southern Carpathian mountain range, the picturesque city of Brasov has a long, shadowy history. Humans have inhabited the area since the Neolithic period, some 9,500 years ago, and since the early days of Brasov’s story, it has been a land where cultures have come together, sometimes in solidarity, other times in war. Today, the layers of history can be observed in the city’s architecture, culture, and cuisine. Join us as we delve into the city’s history and legends to discuss some of the things it is most famous for. And, while you are here, why not check out our range of bespoke tours that give travelers an authentic insight into all that Romania has to offer. Our Myths and Legends of Transylvania tour will be especially enriching for those with an interest in Brasov.
A Medieval Heart
The medieval core of Brasov is remarkably well preserved, giving visitors a unique insight into the feel and atmosphere of a medieval city. The evocative buildings and cobbled streets have given Brasov the reputation of being a fairy tale town (walk through the four-turreted 16th-century Catherine’s Gate and you will surely agree). In Brasov, visitors are free to explore these streets without having to fight through the kinds of large crowds that we associate with certain other picturesque European cities. As you explore, look out for ‘The Rope Street’, the narrowest street in Romania and one of the narrowest in all of Europe. Highlights of the historic centre include the Biserica Neagră (or Black Church in English) which you will note is not black. A popular story has it that the church got its name after the 1689 Brasov fire, which is said to have darkened the church’s walls with soot, though this is contested and it appears that the name was generated in the 19th century (from it’s completion in 1476, the church had been known as St Mary’s).
The Brasov Sign and Tampa Mountain
Arrive in Brasov, look up to the Tampa mountain, and you’ll see another famous Brasov sight: the Hollywood-esque Brasov sign. You could say that it is fitting that Brasov should have a sign that brings to mind the world of cinema, given how fascinated Hollywood producers have been with the region of Transylvania (more on that later). But over time, the sign has developed its own iconic status for residents and guests alike. Tampa Mountain is a beautiful part of the city, too. When you’re in Brasov, you know the natural world is close at hand. Hiking to the top of Tampa will give your amazing views over the city below. Alternatively you can take a cable car to the top which provides an unforgettable experience. Once up the mountain, you can walk to the Brasov sign itself, or explore the mountain’s forested trails.
Dracula and Bran Castle
Unquestionably, this is one of Brasov’s most famous, yet controversial, associations. It is well known that Bram Stoker took inspiration from the Romanian nobleman and leader Vlad Dracula (otherwise known as Vlad the Impaler) for his beloved 1897 novel, Dracula. But how much did Stoker know about the historical Vlad Dracula, and how did the fictional character of Dracula the vampire become associated with Bran Castle and Brasov when neither are mentioned in the novel? This is a case where we find that facts may be stranger than fiction. It is certainly true that Vlad Dracula is linked to this area and there are historical sites tied to his biography, so the fame is justified. But the links to Bran Castle are much murkier. Either way, Bran Castle is a fascinating historical site to explore and history lovers can immerse themselves in the story of the historical Vlad Dracula when traveling in the region. Located only 30 minutes from Brasov by car, a trip to the 14th century castle will give you a meaningful insight into the winding history of this region, the castle having been associated with Teutonic Knights, Mongols, Saxons, Hungarians, and Romanians at different points across the centuries. For those interested in unravelling the history from the legends, you will enjoy our Mysteries of Medieval Brasov virtual tour.
It is estimated that one third of Europe’s brown bear population live within Romania’s borders. So, the bear is already a famous figure in Romanian culture, and you can encounter wild bears in the vicinity of Brasov. However, Brasov also happens to be 30 minutes from the Libearty Bear Sanctuary. The sanctuary was established to rescue bears from captivity and to care for them, allowing them to live as normal lives as possible. Although the stories of the bears can be harrowing, it is uplifting to see people dedicating themselves to doing their best for these magnificent creatures, and to know that after thousands of years, bears are still an important presence in the life of this region.
This brings to a close our selection of the famous things associated with Brasov. We’ve really only scratched the surface. The central location of Brasov means that it is an excellent base from which to explore Romania. And the immense natural beauty that encircles Brasov means that visits to the historic city can always be combined with outdoor adventures to nearby waterfalls, gorges, or mountain ranges. We hope that we’ve inspired you to begin planning your trip to Brasov! If you have any questions regarding this blog or our tours, please contact us.