CULTURAL TRIPS IN
SIGHISOARA, BRASOV, BRAN,
RASNOV, POIANA BRASOV, SIBIU,
TRANSFAGARASAN –BALEA LAKE
Cultural Trips in Romania,
10 - 12 October, 2013
• Sighi oara -ș built on a Dacian site, called SANDAVA, one of the very few in habited medieval burgs in
Europe, is the foremost tourist attraction in Transylvania, and the birthplace of Vlad III the Impaler
(Dracula). It is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
• Brasov also established on an ancient Dacian site, became a Saxon town, in 1235 with small
manufacturing businesses and workshops set up here by the early settlers. By the 15th century, it was
protected by a three tier wall punctuated by 30 towers and bastions. One of the first public oppositions to
the Ceausescu government flared here in 1987. Brasov is one of Romania's most visited cities and one of
its most important rail junctions.
• Bran - served as a defense point to protect the border between Transylvania and Wallachia. The imposing
castle is perched on a rocky bluff high above the town of Bran.
• Poiana Brasov - features great hotels, very modern winter sports facilities, 12 ski slopes with different
degrees of difficulty, sports fields, a lake, discos, bars and restaurants.
• Rasnov - the fortress and the cave are on the Bran Pass, a trade route connecting Wallachia with
• Sibiu – an old, Daco-Romanian spot, became an important urban landmark of the Middle Ages and a
European Capital of Culture in 2007. The city has numerous educational institutions, notably Lucian Blaga
University, and is home to more than 34,000 students.
• Transfagarasan - one of the most spectacular roads in the world. It is 90 km and runs trough the Fagaras
mountains (trans + Fagaras), a part of the Transsylvanian Alps. The road connects Transsylvania with
Muntenia. The Transfagarasan starts at Bascov, near Piteçti. It follows the valley of the river Argea and
after mounting to the highest point, it descends to Cartisoara in the Olt valley, where the road ends.
most beautiful in the golden month of October
A World Great Attraction
The brightly colored houses, lining narrow,
medieval, stone streets, mark the town of
Sighisoara which has a population of
26,370 according to the 2011 census.
Sighisoara is a UNESCO World Heritage
site, an epicenter of ancient and medieval
houses, churches, and towers.
History of Sighisoara
• Archaeological findings show that the territory of the present town was
inhabited as early as the 6th
• The Dacian fortress that was raised in the 3rd century B.C. was called Sandava.
• Roman castri (whose ruins have been preserved to the day), built after 106 A.D.
(when the process of colonization of the Dacians by the Romans actually
started), were meant to defend the roads coming from Alba Iulia and going
towards the Oituz strait.
• In the 10th century A.D., the area of Sighisoara was part of the voievodate Terra
Blachorum ruled by prince Gelu who was defeated by the Hungarians, a
migratory people coming from remote Asia. Led by Tuhutum, the Hungarians
conquered his country and his residence town is, presumably, a still existing
village, resembling the prince’s name, i.e. Gilau (near Cluj).
• Towards the end of the 10th century A.D., the Hungarians, settled down in the
Pannonian plain and reached Transylvania, too. Starting from the 12th century,
the Hungarians would populate Transylvania with German colonists from
Flanders, Saxony, the Rhine and the Moselle rivers; the role of the so-called
"Saxons" was to strengthen the borders of the Hungarian Kingdom. In return,
they were stimulated by privileges granted to them directly by Hungarian kings.
The Saxon new-comers, i.e. craftsmen, farmers, tradesmen would set up their
own settlements among, which Sighisoara soon became a flourishing medieval
• The citadel was first attested in a written document in 1280, under the name of
Castrum Sex (Fort Six). The name must have existed long before, as the Saxons
built their walled town on the ruins of a former Roman fortress whose shape
was an irregular hexagon. In 1298, the town was mentioned as Schespurch,
while in 1367 it was called Civitas de Seguswar.
The Clock Tower
• a 64m high tower built in the 13th century, situated near the town’s
• the roof was redone in the Baroque style after it was damaged in a
fire, and in the late 19th
century vibrant tiles were added.
• the tower's clock features a mechanical display of several different
miniature wooden people.
• A worthy sight on its own, the Sighisoara Clock Tower is also home
to a history museum.
The House where Prince Vlad III, nicknamed the Impaler, who
inspired the character of Dracula, was born.
Covered Staircase (1642)
A very old stone staircase (today 175 steps but in the past it had 300
steps) with a wooden roof along the whole span leads up to the
Church on the Hill (1345-1525) and the cemetery.
Other Interesting Sights
The Dominican Monastery Church Sighisoara's Towers
• Around the citadel walls are the
towers that the guilds erected
during the 14th to 16th centuries to
protect the town from Turkish raids.
• Each tower was built by one of the
guilds and bears the name of the
guild. 14 towers were erected but
only 9 are still standing.
• The Rope Makers' Tower
• The Taylors' Tower
• The Showmakers' Tower
• The Butchers' Tower
• The Furriers' Tower
• The Tinkers' Tower
• The Tanners' Tower
• The Blacksmiths' Tower
• The Clock Tower
More Info about Sighisoara
Brasov- General Information
• Location: Central Romania
Size: 74 sq. km
• Elevation: 650 meters
• Population: 320,000
Inhabited since: 100 BC
First documented: 1234 AD
Vlad the Impaler and the Town of
• A German story about
Brasov says that Vlad the
Impaler was sitting at a
table filled with food and
drink. In front of him, on a
hill, some of his soldiers
began to impale a
number of the Saxon
traders simply because of
his dislike for them, and
because of their attempts
to remove him from the
throne of Valachia.
The Council Square
• The place where in the past the town
councilors would meet, now houses the
BRASOV: THE ROMANIAN ORTHODOX
• Built between 1895-1896 by a Romanian
Orthodox priest, Bartolomeu Baiulescu.
The Black Church (1385-1477)
• the largest Gothic church
between Vienna and
Istambul and still used by
Lutherans today. Its name
came from its appearance
after a fire caused by the
Habsburgs' invasion in 1689
that left its walls blackened
• the organ with over 4000
pipes, built by Buchholz in
1839, is said to be the
largest in southeast Europe.
The Roman-Catholic Church
• Built in pure Baroque style between 1776-
BRASOV: THE SCHEI DISTRICT
• The oldest part of the city of Brasov
• Between 13C-17C, the privileged Saxons
forbade anyone else from owning property
in the city and the Romanians were forced
to withdraw here, outside the fortress walls
to the southwest.
The Orthodox Church
of St. Nicholas (1495)
• built of wood in 1392 and
replaced by the stone church in
1495 by the Wallachian prince
Neagoe Basarab, who supported
the Romanian community in
• beside the church is the First
Romanian language School
(1495) now a museum
exhibiting the first Romanian
textbooks, printed in Brasov in
1581, and the history of Schei.
The Junii (young men) Feast
When the harsh Brasovian winters
are gone and spring sun shines again,
it is the time for people from Schei
to start celebrating the renewal.
The First Sunday after Easter
It is the time to celebrate the
new year of the Dacians, the
ancestors of the Romanians.
It is also the celebration of
spring, the renewing of nature
and the beginning of new life.
The oldest document recorded
in which this procession is
mentioned is from 26 March
1728 but it is assumed that the
celebration already existed in
More Info About Brasov
• It has several luxurious hotels and
villas which offer saunas,
swimming pools, tennis courts,
mountain biking, massage and the
• The resort's restaurants go in for
"folk" architecture and local
cusine. The most famed are Coliba
Haiducilor (Outlaws' Hut), Sura
Dacilor (Dacians' Grange) and
Stana, a rustic restaurant housed
on a sheep farm.
• In summer one can take the cable
car to the top of Mount Postavaru
for a panoramic view of Brasov and
the surrounding Carpathians.
History and Myth
• Commonly known as "Dracula's Castle" (although it is one among
several locations linked to the Dracula legend, including Poenari
Castle and Hunyad Castle), it is marketed as the home of the titular
character in Bram Stoker's Dracula.
• There is, however, no evidence that Stoker knew anything about this
castle, which has only tangential associations with Vlad III, voivode
of Wallachia, the putative inspiration for Dracula.
• As discovered by the Dutch author Hans Corneel de Roos, the
location Bram Stoker actually had in mind for Castle Dracula while
writing his novel was an empty mountain top, Mount Izvorul
Călimanului, 2,033 m high, located in the Transylvanian Kelemen
Alps near the former border with Moldavia.
Remember the Dacian symbol Dacian Draco
as depicted on the Trajan's Column…
a Dacian military standard composed of
a wolf head and snake tail. Maybe that
is why he was called Dracula.
"I don't like wars, we have never opressed or conquered anyone but if
we must defend ourselves we will.”
Vlad III “Dracul”
Rasnov Fortress (14th century)
• Half an hour from Brasov is
Rasnov, where a ruined castle
crowns the hill that overlooks
• Founded in the early 13th
century by the Teutonic
Knights and taken over by
villagers in the 14th century
when they needed a place of
refuge from the Tartar and
later Turkish invaders.
• The fortress remained
functional until 1850 when it
was abandoned and fell into
ruin. Since its foundation, it
was rebuilt several times and
• the most popular Romanian ski resort and an important tourist centre
preferred by many tourists not only from Romania, but also from Italy,
France, Germany, Switzerland and other European states.
Poiana Brasov Resort
• at an altitude of 1030m, on
the foot of the spectacular
Mount Postavaru in the
• This resort is popular with
snow-boarders and it's
considered a great place to
learn to ski.
• Bruckenthal Museum
• The Central Square
• The Museum of History
• The Museum of Natural History
• The Museum of Arms and Hunting Trophies
• The Orthodox Cathedral
• The Huet Square
• The Citadel’s Street
• The City Wall
• The Promenade
• The Museum of Folk and Technology
• Museum of Transylvanian Civilisation
"Europe's 8th most idyllic place to live"
• One of the most
centres of Romania
and, in tandem with
Luxembourg, it was
European Capital of
Culture in 2007.
The Airport of Sibiu
• Sibiu has one of
the most modern
and Spain as well
as to other
• Indeed, the ‘Saxons’ came in Transylvania in the 12th–13th centuries from Flanders, Luxembourg
and the Mosel valleys which were in great famine in those times but the territories they found here
were inhabited by Proto-Romanians.
• Hungarian rulers who served the Holy Roman Empire promised these very underprivileged people,
ready to leave their country for another one, lands and advantages over the local population – the
Dacians and Getae mentioned in the medieval documents and Chronicles, the Proto-Romanians who
spoke a Latin language, of Christian faith, inherited from Andrew the Apostle (the 1st
the patron saint of Romania.
• Hungarians had come a little earlier from Asia in the 10th
century in search of food and territories in
a Europe already weakened by all sorts of invasions. When they came, the Proto-Romanians were
organised in small states, called “voievodate”, led by local kings like Gelu and Menumorut and most
of them lived in mountain villages, far from the hordes of the Asian new-comers.
• The Saxons became colonisers as they had to defend their eastern marches against the Cumans and
other invaders from the steppes. For this service, the Hungarian Crown rewarded them with a high
level of autonomy and tax privileges.
• The Saxons established some 200 villages and 7 principal fortified towns, all of them on previous
Roman sites, including the city of Sibiu (Hermannstadt), hence the German name Siebenbürgen for
Transylvania. The first mention of Sibiu was in 1191, by which time a Saxon community had been
established on the River Cibin.
• All through the Middle Ages, Sibiu was an important regional centre of trade and housed the main
Saxon Assembly. In the 18th
century, Sibiu was the seat of government in Transylvania.
• The city has a population of 155,000.
Brukenthal Museum (1817)
• The 1st
museum in Romania,
the oldest museum in Central
and Eastern Europe, with over
15000 exhibits of great value.
THE CENTRAL SQUARE or THE LARGE
SQUARE OF SIBIU
• existing since 1366 when the
fortification belt of the city
• Staring with the 16th century,
the large square became the
center of the old city.
• For hundreds of years the
square was named Der
Grosse Ring or Grosser Platz,
between the two world wars it
was called King Ferdinand
Square, the communists
named it the Republic Square
and starting with 1990 it
returned to its original name.
Sibiu, Natural History Museum
guide in English
Museum of Arms
and Hunting Trophies
• reflects the evolution in time of
weapons and hunting tools.
• traditional hunting procedures
are exhibited, including
• a collection of trophies
belonging to the collections
Witting and A. Spiess, the last
one comprising 1,058 items
acquired in 1963.
• aspects of the animal life and
suitable times for hunting them
are also presented here.
Museum of Transylvanian Civilisation
• Situated in the city centre in the
• Magnificent, colourful collection
showcasing the best of the
traditions of the various ethnic
groups who have lived in
Transylvania over the centuries.
• A modern museum, the exhibits
(religious objects, decorated
eggs and masks; folk costumes
and textiles; the wood, iron and
bones collection; the ceramics
collection) are displayed in an
imaginative manner more
reminiscent of a contemporary
art gallery. Superb.
The Holy Trinity Cathedral, Sibiu
• The idea of building an Orthodox
Cathedral in Sibiu began with
Metropolitan Andrei Şaguna, who
in the autumn of 1857 asked
Emperor Franz Joseph I for
permission to send a circular to his
diocese requesting that priests
and laymen give donations.
• It was completed in 1904 in the
style of a Byzantine basilica,
inspired by Hagia Sophia with the
main spires influenced by
Transylvanian church architecture
and Baroque elements.
ALBERT HUET SQUARE
developed on the surface of the first
premises strongholds of the city
dominated by the massive building of
the Evangelical Cathedral, with tall
tower of 73.34 meters, the highest in
• The first park in Sibiu,
arranged in 1791 instead
of the moats and lakes
outside the southern wall
of the city.
• Current arrangement of
the park, including the
space between the walls,
dates from 1928.
ASTRA National Museum Complex
Museum of Traditional Folk Civilization
The main entrance of the ASTRA National Museum Complex open air museum.
More Info about Sibiu
• constructed between 1970 and
1974, during the rule of Nicolae
Ceau escu. It came as aș
response to the 1968 invasion of
Czechoslovakia by the Soviet
Union. Ceau escu wanted toș
ensure quick military access
across the mountains in the event
the Soviets attempted a similar
move into Romania.
• it has more tunnels (a total of 5)
and viaducts than any other road
in Romania. Near the highest
point, at Bâlea Lake, the road
passes through Bâlea Tunnel, the
longest road tunnel in Romania
• a glacier lake situated at 2,034
m of altitude in the Făgăraş
Mountains. It is accessible by
car on the Transfăgărăşan
road during the summer, and
the rest of the year by a cable
car from the "Bâlea Waterfall"
• In 1904 a hostel was built on a
peninsula in the middle of the
lake. Later it burned down. A
bigger building was erected on
its place which became the
most popular tourist lodge in
the Făgărăşan Alps.
THINK ABOUT IT!
“Romanian is not a Latin language,
but Latin is a Romanian language."