Built by industrious Saxons, who were invited from Western Europe to develop Transylvania’s towns and mines, Brasov is a handsome medieval city and one of the most visited destinations in Romania. Throughout history, it enjoyed an advantageous position at the intersection of trade routes between the Ottoman heartland and the West, drawing scores of wealthy merchants. It still boasts a large population of Hungarians, along with small groups of ethnic Germans and Roma.
Today, Brasov is an urbane place filled with youthful energy and bohemian airs. It is celebrated for its raucous feast days and music festivals, its historic architecture, lively cafés and bars. Located in the centre of Romania and surrounded by the Southern Carpathian Mountains, it also makes a convenient base for exploring the rest of the country.
Piata Sfatului – also known as Council Square – is the geographic and spiritual heart of the city: an expansive civic plaza flanked by terraced cafés and restaurants. Nearly all of Brasov’s historic sites lay within striking distance, including the Black Church, one of the largest gothic structures in south-eastern Europe. Built in 1477, it acquired its name after smoke from the great fire of 1689 blackened its exterior. Today, it boasts a 4000 pipe organ and a six ton bell (the largest in Romania) as well as a fine collection of Anatolian carpets, donated by Saxon merchants in the middle ages.