The sixth day of Unesco Tour will lead us trough the south-eastern Transylvania, to visit fortified churches and castles, and one of the most beautifull castles of Romania: Bran Castle.
DAY 6 SIGHISOARA – SASCHIZ – PREJMER - BRASOV
The church at Prejmer is an important edifice with both religious and defensive purposses, representing an architectural achievement of great value with variousinfluences and having an essential role in defence for the eastern area of Transylvania. A nearby village and locality is situated at 15 kilometres north of Brasov, this area being always vulnerable to the attacks of Cumans and Romanians from the south of Carpathians, so the regional settlements needed to give better protection in face of different invasions and conflicts. The history of the settlement began together with the arriving in Barsa County in 1211 of the Order of Teutonic Knights, at the desire of Hungarian King Andrew II to defend this south-eastern corner of Transylvania against the invasions of the Cumans and Pecenegs and to conquer new territories outside of the Carpathians for the direct benefit of the Hungarian Crown. The building of the church dedicated to The Holy Cross began in the year 1218. Initially the church had a central plan inspired by the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem with 4 arms of the same length (a Greek cross) The Cistercian Monks (brought by the king Bella IVth) who founded a church to Igris and an abbey to Carta then extend their influence over Barsa County. The Cistercian order came from Pontigny were responsible for importing the French gothic style to Transylvania. Characteristics of the Cistercian gothic are: sixpartite arches, round windows, moulded capitals, and lateral chapels to the shrine. More about this in my other book that you can find it here: https://www.kobo.com/ww/en/ebook/romania-travel-guide-1
The pews are from the XVIth century, the pulpit is made from simple stone, and the canopy from the XVIII century is decorated with baroque ornaments. The triptych shrine is the oldest in Transylvania and was made between 1450 - 1460 having the Crucifixation scene on the central panel On the side panels (inside and outside) are represented scenes from the Way of the Cross. The paintings containing regional elements, like the clothes of the characters which typified the Germans from the area. To the left and the right of the shrine are two sculptures in wood representing the apostles Peter and Paul who normally guard the altar. The fortification was first built in the XIII th century as an oval shape having a wall 3 m. Thick surrounded by a moat. The fortification work continued during the XVth century in the time of king Sigismund of Luxembourg, ruler of Hungary. The inner walls were enforced with another 1-5 m.,giving, a total of 4,5 - 5m. and a hight which varies between 12 -14 m. This single fortified church has about 275 rooms, each one for every family in the village. It is something unique in Europe and worth a visit.
From here, to the most important city of the area: Brasov.
My city, Brasov, lies in the centre of Romania, in the south-eastern area of Barsa depression and at the crossroads of the Middle Carpathians and the Western Carpathians and it is at 550-650 m. above sea level. It is considered the fifth largest city in this country and it is 160 kilometres away from Bucharest, the capital city and the main city of the Romanian tourism. The origins seem to be lost long ago in history: the first document dating from 1235 mentions - Corona - (the ancient name of Brasov) and refers the beginnings of the medieval city. In 1228 Brasov was known by the name of „Brasso“ and the actual name of - Brasov - appeared only in 1324. During this period, Brasov was known as a powerful fortress surrounded by high stone walls and defended by bulwarks, towers and other small fortresses, every group of craftsmen in the city being charged with the defence of a certain bulwark or tower. One can still see and visit today some of the old fortifications in the city. The buildings and the streets in the historical centre still preserve a medieval ambience and they are a favourite tourist attraction. The houses built in the 19th century display artistic elements belonging to the Art Nouveau, the Neo-Renaissance or the Neo-Baroque styles. Brasov can be proud of having the first chemist’s shop in Transylvania dating from 1514; tools belonging to it are still preserved today in the collection at the History Museum. The first studies in Medicine in Romania were also written in Brasov: A Medical Treatise on Plague by Dr. Pauschner in 1530 and Sanitas Studium by Dr. Paulus Kyr in 1551. Brasov also had a well-known mint dating from the 15th century, where different kinds of money were coined (golden florins, dinars, silver guilders and golden ducats). The mint’s symbol was the crown with scattered branches which was also the symbol of Brasov.
Due to its dimensions (over 89 m. In length), the Black Church is the largest gothic church between Vienna and Istanbul. From 1385 from the process of building the church until 1477 were was finished and up to 1689 when it caught fire, the name of the church was St. Mary’s Church. Due to the dark colour of the burnt walls, it was called the „Black Church“ and it is one of the most visited tourist attractions of Brasov and Transylvania.
The City Hall was originally for the use of the sheepskin coat manufacturers guild and was built in the 15th century. In 1515, a clock tower was added to the original building. Later on, the building hosted the meetings of the City Council and the trials. In 1774 a logia built in the Renaissance style with a facade with the coat of arms was added. The noble guests were welcomed there and the first meeting of the Dieta (Parliament of Transylvania) took place here under the rule of Michael the Great. The small rooms in the attic were built at the beginning of the 19th century.
Built in 1524 on a hill near the old fortress, the Citadel was an observation and military outpost. One can visit it nowadays, being one of the most famous restaurants preserving a mediaeval ambiance. An excelent panorama of the city may be admired from the walls of the Citadel. The building process began in 1524 originally a wooden fortress surrounded by moats. In 1553 the Citadel got its present aspect and in 1630 four bulwarks were added to the building. The Citadel was the main stronghold of the rebels in 1688.
Hirscher House lies in the City Council Square and it was built between 1539 and 1545 in the Renaissance style, serving to market the craftsmen’s products, being also called „the Merchant’s House“. Nowadays modern trade galleries and restaurants may be found here.