waiting for the rain to end
Eventually it eased off enough to go have a look around town. Being in the old town centre, it was pretty convenient. The town is a Saxon city originally called Kronstadt (Crown city). Most of the housing is turn of the 20th century, with not much distinction to any other old European city. They are a bit more ornate, and decorated, but the style is the same. What is different here is that it is one of the seven Saxon walled cities in Transylvania.
A lot of the original fortifications are still here, and although most of the walls have been removed to allow the city to grow, they have left sections of it. We saw a little bit last night when we did a quick walk, and it only whetted our appetite to see more.
We started off in the centre, with the black church. No, no weird satanic rituals were done here to give it its name. It was built between 1383 to 1477, but there was a fire in 1689. It got is name from the blackened walls after this. Apparently it is the largest Gothic building between Vienna and Istanbul. I disagree with this, unless they draw a direct line between the two cities and go off that. The Hungarian Parliament building is much bigger and even the Kutna Hora cathedral is twice its size!
They wanted to charge us 6Lei each to go in, so we just admired it from the outside. From here we made our way to one of the old gates. There is still one gate house intact, and very impressive, but the main gates have been removed to make way for a modern road. You can’t stop progress unfortunately. Going around to the base of the hill, we passed the old bastions that are massive constructions with a lot of gun emplacements, and up the hill to the Black tower. Again it got its name from a fire, and now is renovated and almost sparkling white. To top it off, there is a too modern glass roof on top. Going up hill from there and along a small ridge, you come to the white tower.
A weird tower with thick walls and odd curving sides. there is not a straight wall on it! Inside is a small museum there, but everything was in Romanian so we know as much about that as the map provides! It is an external tower, independent to the fortifications and used as an early warning watch tower. There was no ground floor entrance, instead using a wooden ladder to gain access to the second floor. As it was so close to the walls,it would not have been that important, but gave a good view out over the city.
The towers were all given to different guilds to staff and maintain. This was a sign of their wealth and influence. Most of the towers still proudly maintain the name of their guild. A few of the bastions still exist, and have the same connection to the guilds. These are now all small museums, but with the prices they charge, and the quality of the White tower Museum, we decided to skip them.
Walking back through town we went to the side at the base of the mountain. Here is the most intact section of wall. Even though the houses inside are built right up to it, using it as their rear wall, on the outside there is a small grassy slop leading down to it as a dry moat, with a path through. It was a very nice stroll along this part of town. At one place it seemed that you could go up to the battlements, but this is now closed as the wood on the staircase has rotted away and the structure is now very unstable.
Brasov is a very pretty city in places, and it was good to have a look around before the rain opened up again putting an end to our day.
Today was a complete write off! It rained all day, and when it wasn’t raining it was only five minutes from it! So there was absolutely nothing interesting to type.