The Old Town area of Brasov, Romania is surrounded by fortifications with restored/preserved towers and gates as well as a citadel on a hill overlooking the city. The city walls are a great walk you can do if in Brasov and less challenging than climbing Mt. Tampa.
The city of Brasov is located in central Romania in the Transylvania region and is one of the countries more popular tourist destinations. Brasov is famous for its medieval buildings that include fortifications, an array of towers, bastions, churches all of which have been around for centuries.
Getting To Brasov
Brasov is accessible via driving via some beautiful mountains from Bucharest in the south as well as other start points. The City is on the main train line so possible to visit from most cities in the country. Also a night train from Budapest and Vienna service the city so easy to get to while sleeping if coming from central Europe. Sadly the city is yet to get an airport although plans are afoot but ongoing delays according to locals on the ground.
The Medieval City Walls or Brasov
The city walls are pretty well preserved in the east and west sides of the city, sadly the north and south walls were lost during the cities growth.
The construction of the walls started under the supervision of the Hungarian ruler of the city back in 1395. The city has a history of being constantly attacked throughout history, hence the development of the defensive walls. A particularly bad attack came from the Ottoman Turks in 1421 and led to the necessity of the defences.
The defences were at their peak back in 1641 where the walls had 8 bastions and 28 towers, a few still survive and details of those are included below.
Bastionul Postăvarilor or The Drapers Bastion
Located in the North-East corner, not far from Carrefour supermarket is Bastionul Postăvarilor. This was built by the Goldsmiths Guild and completed in 1455. Inside the 20-metre tall bastion is four floors measuring 16 metres in diameter. The walls in The Drapers Bastion are 2 metres thick so was considered very formidable. As this was a defensive position it had holes to fire multiple small canons. In a historical document dating from 1562, it is noted that the bastion contained 10 bombards from Prague and 16 heavy rifles. The bastion has been preserved and there are plans afoot to turn this into a museum.
Along the fortress walls is Turnul Lemnarului also known as The Carpenters Tower. This is a well-preserved tower with a red pointy roof and light walls. The tower was designed for storing powder as its original purpose. It was renamed the carpenter’s tower and currently is home to the woodturning workshop of Ioan Croitor-Badescu.
The Hunters Tower also is known as Turnul Vânătorilor is the closest fortification to the Mt. Tampa cable car. This tower was also designed for storing powder in the Middle Ages. This rectangular-shaped tower was restored where it lost its old name The Powder Store Tower.
The Bastion of Funarilor was the first bastion mentioned in historical city documents, in 1416. Bastion Funarilor is hexagonal in shape and was initially 10-12 m high The bastion was fully equipped with firing holes. The bastion was damaged by the fires of 1461 and 1689. The fire in 1689 caused severe damage to the original structure.
The next significant part of the wall heading clockwise is the Turnul Artelor or Arts’ Tower. The tower has steps to climb, up to the door and is a great vantage point to see and take photographs of the city including a great view of The Black Church. this tower is currently used to house various art exhibitions.
Now known as The Weavers Bastion, The Bastionul Țesătorilor was built in a few phases the first being between 1421 and 1436. The second phase of development occurred between 1570 and 1573. The tower was defended by and maintained by the Linen Weavers Guild. The building currently houses a museum about the culture and history of Brasov County. More Info…
Away from the medieval walls, Șchei Gate is a classical structure that was built in 1828. Șchei Gate has 3 archways, 1 for transport and 2 for pedestrians. More info…
Poarta Ecaterinei or Catherine’s Gate was built by the historic Tailor’s Guild in 1559. It was originally used for defensive purposes, the gate is named after St. Catherine’s Monastery that used to be located here. During Saxon rule of Brasov, Romanians were not allowed to love inside the city walls and this was the only gate they were allowed to enter or exit via.
The building is fantastic to look at and admire from benches in the nearby park, which also has many wooden carvings to peruse. The 4 corner turrets of the gate symbolise that the city had judicial autonomy and the right of the sword. This means that the city has the right to decide on aspects of capital punishment. The 4 corner turrets are seen is a few other Transylvanian towns such as Sighisoara. Above the entry is city’s coat of arms, a crown on an oak tree trunk and roots. The building currently houses a museum. More info…
The Blacksmith Bastion
The Blacksmiths Bastion or Bastionul Fierarilor is pentagonal in shape, It is located in the northwestern corner of Brasov fortress, it is built on three levels and provided with loopholes and gaps for oil bombs. More info…
The Black Tower or Turnul Negru was built in the 15th century and has been subsequently restored with a glass roof. It is currently used to home a weapons exhibit. The Black Tower has some benches to sit on and admire another view of the city including Council Square and the Gothic Black Church.
The Black Tower is one of the four observation towers of the Brasov Fortress. It was built as an independent fortification that is located outside the main fortress walls. Turnul Negru is over 11 metres in height and located not far from the Blacksmiths’ Bastion. More info…
Just along the stream from the black Tower is Bastionul Graft which has a bridge across the water. The Graft Bastion was built in the 1500s as part of the old town walls. the purpose3 was to protect the Northwest side of Medieval Brasov. This bastion was defended and maintained by the historic Saddlers Guild and was a connecting point to the White Tower on the hill overlooking this section of the fortress walls. The Bastionul Graft currently houses local history exhibitions. More info…
Turnul Alb or White Tower
The White Tower is a former medieval watchtower that was built in the 15th century. It has stops to climb up to the main entrance which has fantastic views across the city and Mt. Tampa. Built between 1460 and 1494, the White Tower is 30 metres above the city walls. The towers diametre is about 19 metres. The tower has rampart, pit holes and balconies for observation. More info…
Brasov Citadel or Cetățuia de pe Strajă is located on a hill overlooking the city and further field and is quite the vantage point. It is a 10-minute steep walk from the central park area, there is a roadway as well as a footpath all marked on Google maps.
You can see the citadel from most parts of the old town area of the city, thus it makes it a great vantage point for seeing the city from above. If you want to see the city from above the view from the top or on the way up Mt. Tampa is another great option. Views also include the newer parts of the city, this view includes much communist architecture.
Sadly the citadel has not been utilised as a tourist attraction but hopefully will be in the future. There is a restaurant onside which is used for functions, and the courtyard inside has been used for functions in the past.
The first record of the fortress on the hill was in 1529 when the city was preparing to repel attacks by Peter IV of Moldova. In the early days of the history of the fortification, towards the beginning of the 15th-century, there was only a watchtower. the watchtower was completed in 1524 with a wooden bastion with four towers.
The building was destroyed in 1529 by the army of Petru Rares. A quarter of a century later a structure with stone walls was built.
In 1625 the fortress was restored after a fire did lots of damage back in 1618. After being restored an 81 metre deep well was dug inside. After the well was completed, the city got 4 bastions for each for the four corners.
The citadel has since been used as a barracks, quarantine hospital and a prison. Nowadays it’s just a tourist attraction and a fantastic viewpoint of new and old parts of the city.
The City walls and citadel make a good day walk around the city, there are plenty of benches to sit on on the way around. Alternatively, there are many bars with outdoor seating for you to enjoy a refreshment on your wander.
The Black Church and other significant historical buildings are seen on this walk around Brasov. From vantage points including the towers, you can enjoy the views of the red-tiled roofs of the city.
A walking map is available from many places including from the Mt. Tampa Cable car and tourist information points in the city. There are also big ones on display in various locations.
As a starting point, I suggest starting at Carrefour Supermarket and heading towards the nearby Bastionul Postăvarilor and heading clockwise around the city.
You can get easily distracted on the walk and highly recommend using the walls as a rough route. The black church is visible from some points on the wall and recommends popping for a closer look inside the Gothic Church. Mount Tampa is also a great place to view the city walls and the red rooftops from above. A cable car trip up the mountain makes it easy to get to the top and provides fantastic city views on the short ride up or down.
Walking the walls is great in all seasons, in the summer it might be too hot for some and in winter some of the slopes get slippy.