BRASOV RUMANIEN Biography and Pics

Brasov - General Information

Location: Central Romania (Brasov County)
Size: 28.5 sq. miles (74 sq. km)
Elevation: 2,133 ft. (650 meters)
Population: 320,000
Inhabited since: 100 BC
First documented: 1234 AD (Corona)

The Ethnographic Museum exhibits silver jewelry crafted in Brasov during the 16th century, fur and sheepskin coats and other folk costumes; black and white photographs illustrate exactly how they were worn and by whom. The museum also presents the evolution of weaving from an old spinning wheel to a mechanized loom. Folk arts and crafts are available at the museum gift shop.

The location of the city at the intersection of trade routes linking the Ottoman Empire and western Europe, together with certain tax exemptions, allowed Saxon merchants to obtain considerable wealth and exert a strong political influence in the region. This was reflected in the city's German name, Kronstadt, as well as in its Latin name, Corona, meaning Crown City (hence, the coat of arms of the city which is a crown with oak roots).

BBrasov is often referred to as the city at the foot of Mount Tampa. Above the Weavers' Bastion, along the southeastern side of the fortress walls, is a very romantic alley (Aleea Tiberiu Brediceanu), shaded by old trees and dotted with many benches. From here, you can hike to the top of Tampa Mountain, where the original defensive fortress was built. When Vlad Tepes attacked Brasov in 1458-60, the citadel was destroyed and 40 merchants were impaled on top of the mountain. Walking to the top takes about an hour; follow the red triangles from the cable car station or the yellow triangles from Brediceanu Alley. You also could elect to take the Tampa cable car to the peak (3,000 feet) for the best views of the old town

BBuilt between 1385 and 1477 on tthe site of an earlier church (destroyed by Mongol invasions in 1242), the construction of the Marienkirche, as it was known in German, was hampered by extensive damage caused by Turkish raids in 1421. The church was given its new name after disaster struck again in 1689, when the Great Fire leveled most of the town, blackening the walls of the church. Restoration took almost 100 years. Of two towers planned, only one was finished.

Like other medieval churches, iit is surrounded by protective walls with large wooden gates. The enclosure shelters a small old cemetery where several prominent people of Romania are buried. The First Romanian School,

MMost work was done between 1400 and 1650, when outer and inner walls were erected, together with massive defense towers and gates. Part of the defensive wall, once 40 feet high, seven feet thick and two miles long, can still be seen today, though most was taken down in the 19th century to make room for the city's expansion.

LLocated on the east side of the Council Square, opposite the Old Town House, the Romanian Orthodox Cathedral was built in a glaring Byzantine style in 1896 and displays some impressive interior frescoes and decorations. On Saturdays, brides and grooms line outside (being careful to avoid glancing at each other - bad luck) to get married here.

JJews have lived in Brasov since 1807, when Rabbi Aaron Ben Jehuda was given permission to live in the city, a privilege until then granted only to Saxons. The Jewish Community of Brasov was officially founded 19 years later, followed by the first Jewish school in 1864 and the building of the Synagogue in 1901. The Jewish population of Brasov expanded rapidly to 1,280 people in 1910 and 4,000 in 1940. Today, the community has about 230 members, after many families left for Israel between World War II and 1989.

IIts 25,000 documents comprise the largest family archive in Romania. The Mureseanus were the founders and owners of a political newspaper, Gazeta de Transilvania, for more than half a century and corresponded with the most important politicians in Transylvania and other regions of Romania during the second half of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries.

AA 15-minute drive or 30-minute bus ride from Brasov leads to Poiana Brasov (3,300 feet), a mountaintop ski and summer resort. During winter months, Poiana Brasov offers some of the best skiing in Romania. In the summer, it is a great place for hikers to launch treks into the Southern Carpathian Mountains. For a panoramic view of Brasov and the more distant Bucegi Mountains, take the cable car to the summit of Postavarul Mountain (5,756 feet).

CConsidered the oldest architectural monument in Brasov, this church was built in 1223 in Roman architectural style mixed with early gothic elements. Inside, you can admire an ancient sundial on the southern side of the tower, as well as remarkably well preserved fragments of original frescoes.

HHoused on the grounds of St. Nicholas Church, this was for centuries one of the leading learning centres of the Romanian people. The printing press that opened here in 1556 produced some of the first books written in Romanian. The museum hosts a compelling legacy: more than 4,000 rare books (many printed or copied by hand right here), several hundreds rare documents, the oldest Bible (printed on goat's skin) and much more.

HHoused in the Old Town Hall building, the History Museum of Brasov displays rare exhibits and collections showcasing Brasov's history from ancient to modern times: tools made in stone (Paleolithic age), painted ceramics discovered at Ariusd (Neolithic age), tools made in bronze and iron, armor, ancient weapons and farming tools. The exhibits also tell the history of the Saxon guilds, which dominated Brasov during medieval times.

TThe old cemetery shelters the grave of Nicolae Titulescu (1882-1941), finance minister, foreign minister and president of the League of Nations. The monument near his grave quotes a line from his will"I wish to be buried in Transylvania. My friends will know to find a place according to my wish."


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