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Departure: Brașov

Author: 02.11.2016 | departure, Romania
Braşov is the heart of Romania with the German valves. Saxon spirit is insistently living in the houses with gingerbread roofs, and sounds in the bell ringing of Catholic Cathedral, the largest in Eastern Europe. Even the gates look waiting not for tourists but medieval knights.

The city is familiar to fans of Dracula by Bram Stoker. The castle of the count, who became a vampire thanks to the writer’s imagination, is in some 30 km from the city. Even closer is the resort of Poiana Braşov, Romania Courchevel. All those amazing places can be easily combined into a single trip: first, enjoy the traditional European city, then skip a visit to mystical vampire, and complete your exciting trip with skiing.

There is a special comparison for Braşov. Residents refer to it as their Salzburg. Historical buildings really suggest that we got to Austria or the Czech Republic, not Romania. No, the map did not mislead you, and paved your way to the right place, the thing is that Brasov was settled by Transylvanian Saxons or, to put it simply, the Germans. Now the descendants of the Teutonic Knights who defended the Romanian city from the Nomads, cannot be met anymore. In the city, for which they had their pattern name Kronstadt, they managed to stay nearly 800 years, until the dictator Nicolae Ceauşescu returned the "foreigners" back to Germany.

Brasov’s face is, first of all, its historical centre built in the shape of a trapezoid. Way to it goes through the Schei Gate, construction, painfully similar to the Arc de Triumph.

Just behind it, we find ourselves at the city's synagogue, behind which hid the most narrow (in the opinion of the inhabitants of Braşov) street in Europe called Strada Sforii. Its width varies from 111 to 135 cm, and this "mockery" of pedestrians stretches for more than 80 meters.

This corridor is an easy access to the symbol of Braşov the Black Church, which is the largest Gothic cathedral in Romania and the region. The church was named for its look due to a fire in 1689, after which the walls were charred to the corresponding colour. Next to walls of St. Mary’s Church, and this is precisely its original name, one will see a stone priest holding an open book and instructively pointing a finger in the bright future. This venerable gentleman is named Johannes Honter. He introduced Lutheranism to Transylvania, and Romanian language to the world having published the first printing folio in this language.

Behind the massive shoulders of the Black Church, the architectural dominant of historic centre, there is the city’s centrepiece Market Square (Piața Sfatului). Here you can have a meal, check up advanced camera of the new iPhone near the Town Hall or next to the fountain slightly contrasting with the common background. An abundance of shops and people scurrying in-between, as well as usual cosiness of European area, are attached.

By the way, street tents are decorated with an inscription Probably the best city in the world, which prompts how modest the locals are. They even rubbed Los Angeles’s face answering to Hollywood hills with the giant letters on the mighty Tâmpa Mountain adjacent to the historic centre. So, it is also included in the compulsory touristic itinerary. Your soul will be delighted with the dramatic view covering the entire Braşov, and you can take a ride on the cable car, a ticket will cost you about $3.5.

Even the sleeping quarters have their own construction zest of harmonious mesh-up of typical former Soviet high-rise buildings and specific projects reminding that we are still in Braşov, not anywhere else.

For the Romanians the city is also not just a dot on the map which is almost a millennium old. Here the national anthem lyrics were written by Andrei Mureşanu, local native Dumitru Prunariu was the first and only country representative who have been in space. And two years before the overthrow of Ceauşescu, it was a venue for events that led to the Romanian Revolution of 1989.

Braşov is the old lady Europe, it is located very close to the traditional tourist "shrines": Krakow, Budapest, Bucharest. And this is a great springboard for further touristic expansion: ski resort of Southern Carpathians, the Transylvanian castles or nearby Hungary.

Photo from open sources

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