short break in Transylvania


Sighisoara Fortress: it is considered to be “the most beautiful inhabited fortress in Europe“ and “the most beautiful and complete site of medieval architecture in Romania”. It was built at the beginning of the 13th century and repaired in the 14th century, when its walls were guarded by 14 towers erected and watched by the town guilds (hence their name). Today, visitors can admire: The Clock Tower, The Tanner’s Tower (one of the oldest), The Tinkers Tower (expressive architecture, 25 m in height), The Ropermakers’ Tower (13th century), The Butchers’ Tower (14th century), The Furriers’ Tower (13th century), The Tailors’ Tower (simple and massive, 14th century), The Cobblers’ Tower (slim roof, with observation points), The Ironsmiths’ Tower (1631, impressive).

The Clock Tower: is the most monumental of the medieval towers and also the symbol of Sighisoara. The unique tower was named after the clock with the figurines and it was built in the 14th century in order to defend the main gate. The towers aspect was damaged during the 1676 fire but it was repaired in 1677 when they also had to replace the figurines. The new figurines made from lime wood no longer represented the seasons but the days of the week. The walls of the tower are massive with a height of 64 m and at the base visitors can still observe the remains of 3 great gates. The clock is in the main tower which is surrounded by four corner towers. In the past this meant that the city had judicial independence and could pronounce the death sentence. In 1899 the tower was turned into a museum which had three separate parts: the medieval weapon museum, the old museum and the torture room situated in the basement.

The Tanners Tower: it is situated in the South-East side of the citadel. Built together with the Tailor’s Tower is also one of the oldest towers also proved by its simple but efficient design. It was built on a square foundation and it protected the Clock Towers inner yard.

The Tinkers Tower: it is unique in the medieval architecture with a square base continued with pentagonal middle which sustains the octagonal superior part and the hexagonal roof. It had a very important strategic position because of its shooting holes from where the whole south-eastern part of the citadel was protected. Traces of the cannonballs and gunshots can still be seen today on the walls. The Gunners passageway and the Artillery bastion complete the towers fortification.

The Ropemakers’ Tower: is one of the oldest buildings in Sighisoara even so it is still inhabited. Probably dating from the 13th century the tower was part of the old fortification. It has a square base with simple forms. Today it is the home of the Evangelical cemetery guard.

The Butchers’ Tower: built in the 15th century it does not give the impression of a tower. But contrary to its modest dimensions it was the platform for the heavy cannons and it defended the Clock Towers inner yard. The wall between the Butchers’ Tower and the Ropemakers’ Tower remained almost unharmed so that the periods of its construction can still be observed today. The tower has octagonal form erected on a hexagonal foundation that aids the fire range of the tower.

The Furriers’ Tower: built in 1350 is situated near the Butchers Tower. The two towers are connected by the Torle Gate through which the sheep flock went to the pastures and returned to the citadel. The tower has modest dimensions and a square foundation.

The Tailors Tower: belonged to one of the richest guilds from the city. It was built in the XIV century on the opposite side to the Clock Tower, at the second gate to the citadel. The Tower was destroyed during the fire and explosion of 1676 which began here, due to the fact that this is where they deposited the gunpowder barrels. The tower was reconstructed in 1935. The tower has a simple but massive design with two archway entrances that had huge wood gates with gratings.

The Cobblers’ Tower: situated in the north-eastern part of the citadel it was built in 1521 and fortified in 1603. After the fire in 1681 it was reconstructed to its present form. It was built in baroque style on a hexagonal base. In front of the tower there was an artillery bastion but unfortunately it was demolished in 1846.

The Ironsmiths’ Tower:
has been built in place of the Barbers’ Tower in 1631 to protect the Church of the Dominican Monastery. The Tower seen from inside the citadel is simple in design but has remarkable design from outside the citadel. During the construction of the tower an artillery bastion was built next to it which was demolished later.

The Church on the Hill: situated in the centre of the medieval citadel, it is one of the oldest churches in Romania. The first documents that mention the Church are from 1345. The church is a mixture of art-styles but the dominating style is the Gothic, partially painted from outside and fully painted from inside it is a valuable architectural monument. Inside it preserves beautiful decorative sculptures in flamboyant Gothic style and valuable wall paintings from the 15th century. It is also home to an altar from the 15th century and other altars brought here from the villages of Saes and Cund. A hidden stairway leads to the basement of the church which was connected to roads that led to a forest outside the citadel. The church dominates the town with the massiveness of its walls.

The Covered Stairs: lead up to the Church on the Hill. It was built in 1662 to make the stairs safer for people in winter times. From the original steps only 175 are preserved today. It is also called the Pupils Stairs.

Church of the Dominican Monastery: it is situated near the Clock Tower. The church was attested for the first time in 1302 in a letter from pope Bonifacius. Built by the Dominican order, who were also known as „the beggar monks”. They were considered beggars because they gave up the stabile income and chose to live from beggary. Although they vowed a life of beggary, they managed to accumulate a huge wealth over the years but they kept on begging. The order inherited from nobles: houses, estates, lands, ponds and even a mill.
The building of the monastery was situated in the north-eastern part of the church. During the 1676 fire the roof of the monastery burned down which made it possible for people to describe the interior. The monastery had 19 cells with paintings and quotations visible on the walls. The monastery was demolished in 1886 and in its place it was erected the Town hall.
The interior decorations and the furniture of the church were made after 1676 because during the fire from that year the entire church was burned down. The church houses on of the few early baroque styled altars with elements belonging to the late renaissance, known in Transylvania. The altar was made by two Slovakian craftsmen Jeremia Stavronius painter and Johannes West sculptor. The altar preserves on of the most important moments of the salvation of mankind, the work represents an unimaginable artistic value. The patrimony of the church also contains 39 handmade Turkish carpets with different models, gained by donations from merchant families.

The Vlad Dracul House: the oldest civilian stone building of the town. It was here that between 1431 and 1435 Prince Vlad Dracul, father of Vlad the Impaler, lived. Today it is a restaurant.

The House with Stag: represents a specific Transylvanian renaissance construction from the 17th century. The name of the building comes from a mural of a stag, painted on the outside wall of the building. It has equilibrated forms with arching ground level that give a distinguished structural design. During its restoration it was repaired the case ceiling, a painted room and an exterior painting with marks.

Church of the Leprous: situated in the „City Below”, the Gothic style church was built between 1480 and 1500. The fortified church was used as an asylum for leprous in 1570.


Black Church – is one of the most monumental Gothic constructions in Romania, built between 1388 and 1477 it was named Saint Mary’s Church becoming later on the Black Church. It is renowned for its magnitude, having a length of 89 m, it is the biggest religious construction from Vienna to Istanbul. During the fire started by the Habsburgs in 1689 the church roof and its interior were destroyed. Renovating the church lasted almost a century during which the church lost most of its gothic style elements, the gothic arches were replaced by semicircle arches and in 1710-1720 the side bodies were transformed in baroque style galleries. Preserved from the great fire period a mural painting representing the „Virgin Mary with Child” decorates the southern threshold’s walls.
Inside visitors can see some magnificent furniture pieces and religious items like a bronze font donated by the vicar Johanes Reudel in 1472. An impressive oil painting hangs on the wall of the southern side body, painted by Fritz Schulerus (1866-1898) it represents the “town councils vows” on the “Reform Book” of Johanes Honterus in 1543.
The pulpit constructed in baroque style bears the crest of Brasov city and of Matei Corvin the most renowned King of Hungary. The wood paintings on the guild aisles situated in the side bodies contain interesting folklore patterns. In the western hall of the church tombstones of famous people from the XVI-XVII centuries, were incorporated in the walls. These famous people that once lived in Brasov were buried in the church and many legends were created about them. The six richly ornamented doors with sculpted doorframes give an original style to the church. The interior is illuminated by the sunrays breaking through the beautiful teethed stain glass windows giving an elevated feeling to visitors.
The church is famous not just for its magnitude, in the southern tower of the church three bronze bells can be found, one of them is the biggest church bell in Romania. Weighing over 6 tones it was named by the people “Boancanul”.
The church’s organ built between 1836 and 1839 by Pucholz a Berliner craftsman, and having 4000 pipes is one of the biggest organs in South – East Europe. The church is also famous for its cherished carpet collection from the XVII – XVIII centuries, brought from the regions of Brusse, Usek, Ghiordes in the Middle East.

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The Old City Hall – built in 1420 it is situated in the centre of the City Hall Square. The tower, called the Trumpets Tower, is in fact much older, and was once a watchtower for approaching barbarians before being incorporated into the main building. It was the place where an alarm was sounded when danger menaced the city. Today’s form is largely the result of an 81-year renovation after the great fire of 1689. Then, the pile was restored and completed with the Renaissance loggia dominated by the baroque facade bearing the coats of arms of the town. The tower is 58 meters high. The Counsel House was the decision-making center of the important businesses of the city, where outstanding notables of the time were welcomed. Nowadays the building hosts the History Museum of Brasov with rare exhibits and collections.

The Fortress (Cetatuia) – strategically overlooking the town and the plains to North, it is part of Brasov’s outer fortification system. At first some wooden protective walls were erected here, that were later, in 1529, destroyed by Petru Rares. On the same spot they built a stone citadel called Cetatuia (1553), which was destroyed by the fire in 1618 but re-built in 1625. For protective purposes the inhabitants added to the initial building four massive stone bastions in 1630. The citadel was abandoned later, after technological innovations made cannons stronger than the building. It served as a prison for a while. Today it houses a traditional Romanian restaurant.

The Citadel Gates – originally, the old fortification of Brasov had 3 entrance gates. They were, at the same time, massive bastions, built to keep invaders outside the city walls. To these, two more were added later. Only two of the five survive to tell the story of medieval Brasov: Ecaterina’s Gate and Schei Gate. Both of them are on the south-west part of the fortress. The others, mainly located on the northern side of the walls were demolished in the 19th century, just like the wall itself, mainly because they came in the way of traffic. Ecaterina’s Gate was built in 1559 for defensive purposes. It is the only original city gate to have survived from medieval times. In fact the fairy-tale looking tower is only a part of the original gate; documents talk about the existence of a wooden structure which was demolished in 1827. The other remaining gate of the town is Schei Gate right next to Ecaterina’s gate. The structure that can be seen today was built in 1827, in Baroque style, and replaced the old Schei Gate which was heavily damaged by the fire. The gate looks like a triumphal arch with three openings. Above the small arches on both sides of the gate there are inscriptions in Latin.

Bran Castle
The Fortress of Bran was built on a cliff between Magura and The Hill of the Fortress. The construction of the fortress was imposed by strategic and economic reasons. The strategic reasons underlined by the expansion of the Ottoman Empire which in XIV century threatened the south-eastern borders of Transylvania. The economic reasons were that the commercial road, one of the most important access ways connecting Transylvania to Wallachia, was through Bran pass. The first historic documentation of Bran Fortress is in a letter from Luis of Anjou the First (1377) in which he ordered the inhabitants to build a stone fortress at Bran “with their own efforts and expenses”.
In 1513, by an issued document the city of Braşov gains possession over the fortress and domain of Bran, having absolute rights as possessor.
On December 1st 1920, the people from Brasov gave the castle as a present to the Romanian royal family, in whose possession the castle remained for the next twenty seven years. After becoming property of the royal family, the castle suffered a series of architectural renovations, aiming to transform it into a modern summer residence. The renovation works were lead by the Czech architect Karel Liman. It was equipped with all utilities compulsory in a genuine royal residence. The water was supplied by the 57 meters fountain dug in the inner court of the castle. The illumination of the castle was insured by a turbine power station which also provided power for three nearby villages.
Even though the rigid architecture of the castle did not allow too many changes of the interior, visitors can remark the distinguished taste of Queen Marie: in the Large Room, which is actually a dinning room decorated in the style of the German Renaissance, in the Yellow Saloon of Queen Marie, in the Music Saloon, in the Tyrolese Room of King Carol II, in the Saxon Room of Prince Nicolae. In the series of all the changes is enlisted also the building of several outbuildings around the castle: The Tea House, a hunting house, The Guest House, the house of Princess Ileana’s children, two cottages one for the queen and one for Princess Ileana the private new house, the stables for horses and six garages.
Queen Maria transformed not only the castle, but also the park of the Bran Domain, which was arranged also by her design and taste. Flowers were the queen’s great passion, so a modern greenhouse and small rose garden was arranged at Bran, like at every royal residence of Queen Marie. The flower seedlings were specially ordered from different locations even from abroad. The queen even considered populating the lake not only with trout, but also with swans.
Being a faithful person, Queen Maria set up at Bran a chapel, whose painting works were made in 1927 by Artur Verona. The chapel was equipped with a sculpted altar in gilded wood, a chandelier, three pews, three candlesticks, two crosses and two icons. This was the place where the queen used to meditate in moments of distress. In the fall of 1940, the casket with the queen’s heart was brought here from the “Stella Maris” chapel from Balcic and deposited by care of Princess Ileana, in a specially made niche in the rock. In 1941 the mortal remains of Prince Mircea were deposited by Princess Ileana at the chapel, thus fulfilling an old wish of her mother. A commemorative inscription was placed on the rock reminding visitors that between 1940 and 1971 the chapel housed the casket containing the heart of the most beloved Queen in Europe of XX century.
The Bran Castle was the dearest residence of Queen Maria, who, due to her imagination, changed the solid and unwelcoming fortress into a warm, modern and comfortable summer dwelling.


Souvenir Shop – Sighisoara, Muzeului Street, no.6, Tel. 0265-773.009, Orar: 9.00 – 19.00
Corona Galleries – Brasov, Piata Sfatului, no. 12-14, Tel: 268-477001
Dana’s Art & Antique – Brasov, 15 Noiembrie Street, no.8
Artizana – Romanian souvenirs: Romanian handmade table cloths, pillows, blankets and figurines, handcrafts, folk sculptures, folk costumes.
Location: Brasov, Republicii Street, no.48, Tel: 0268-144546
Aladin – souvenir shop with trinkets from Orient and Romania. Herbs and other medicinal balms. Handcraft gifts and little figurines.
Location: Brasov, Michael Weiss Street, no.2, Tel.: 0268-144455
King Art – Brasov, Republicii Street no. 27, opened from 9 AM to 8 PM, Monday to Saturday.
Eliana Mall – Brasov, Bazaltului Street, no. 2
Casmir Jewelry – offers a wide variety of silver & copper jewellery, as well as hair and clothes accessories. They are designed to give your outfit glamour and originality, both for casual and special occasions. Location: Brasov, Republici Street, nr. 28
Diamond Bijou – where diamonds, rubies, emeralds, gold jewellery etc. shoppers can find it all. Location: Brasov, second floor of Star Shop, opened from 9 AM to 8 PM, Monday to Friday; 9 AM to 7 PM on Saturday.

Food and restaurants

Vlad Dracul Restaurant – a really superb restaurant which also provides service on a wonderful terrazza decorated with plants and colourful flowers. It gives you a feeling of warmth and welcome. The food is mainly local and is truly delicious.
Location: Sighisoara, Str. Cositorarilor nr. 5, Tel. 0265-771.596
Casa cu Cerb Restaurant – Sighisoara, Str. Scolii nr. 1, Tel. 0265-774.625, opened: 9.00-22.00
Wagner House Restaurant – Sighisoara, Str. Piata Cetatii nr. 7, Tel. 0265-506.014
Burg Restaurant – Sighisoara, Str. Bastionului nr. 4-6, Tel. 0265-778.489, Orar: Non Stop
Carpathian Stag Restaurant – The wine cellar of Cerbul Carpatin (the former Hirsher House) was given its present aspect in 1963. The house has been declared a historical monument and has also been put on the UNESCO monument list. They offer excelent Romanian cuisine and wine tasting. Tasting the wine from renowned Romanian vineyards constitutes a unique moment of delight.
Location: Brasov, Piata Sfatului 12, Tel.: 0268-143981
Hirscher House Restaurant – Brasov, Piata Sfatului or Apollonia Hirscher Street no. 12-14, Tel.: +40-268-410502, opened: daily, last guest at 21:00
Cetate Restaurant – Medieval restaurant serving Transylvanian dishes. Medieval shows by night. The waiters wear medieval clothes. Not to be missed! Remember to take a tour and admire the collection of medieval weapons hanged on the walls and to drop a penny in the draw for good luck. Offers a a splendid view of the town.
Location: Brasov, Dealul Cetatii, Tel: 0268-417617
Cranta Restaurant – Brasov, Mr. Cranţa Street, no. 3A, Tel.: 0268 – 476992
Romanian House – Brasov, Piata Unirii, no. 15, Tel.: 0268.513877, Orar: 12.00-24.00
Casa Padurarului Restaurant – Traditional Romanian restaurant situated in the middle of the wood at the foot of Tampa Mountain. Very tasty cuisine.
Location: Tiberiu Brediceanu Street, no. 2, Tel.: 0268-415619

Night Life
Culture Pub – Sighisoara, Bastion Street, nr.4-6, tel.: 0265-778.489, opened non-stop
No limits Disco – Sighisoara, Turnului Street, nr. 1, opened: 20.00 – 4.00
Blue Night Karaoke – situated in the center of Brasov, Rosiorilor Street, nr. 2, tel: 0744-358001
Groove Garden – offers live music, rhythm&blues, rock, new age.
Location: Brasov, Republicii Street, no. 62
Oldies Club – Brasov, Rosiorilor Street, no. 31, tel.: 0722-295209
Tequila Bowling – a club arrenged on three floors, on the groundfloor 6 bowling alies, first floor a animeted club, on the last floor a restaurant where quest can have dinner.
Location: Brasov, Avram Iancu Street, nr. 32, Tel.: 0268-477896
The Living room – is a lounge club with relaxed atmosphere.
Location: Brasov, Piata Sfatului no. 27, Tel: 0727-883920