Sunday, July 3, 2011

Brasov Bound

Black Church
So after Bran Castle it was back in the car and off to the town of Brasov (pronounced Brashov). We were now officially in Transylvania. One of the interesting things about Brasov is that it was originally built as a citadel or walled city. Our first stop in this adorably quaint town was the Black Church formerly the church of St. Maria. The reason for the name change was the simple fact that there was a big fire and much of the outside of the church remains charred black.  Famous for establishing this church and creating a map of Transylvania, Johannes Honterus is considered to be the Luther of the region.  Though it is strictly considered a church it presents itself as a cathedral complete with organ playing ominous music as we walked slowly down the isles. The walls were also lined with tapestries or Anatolian knotted carpets that we later found out were imported from Turkey years ago. Another notable fact is that this church houses the largest tower bell in Romania and is also considered to be the largest church in all of south east Europe.

Strada Sforii
Walking through the town, Tony our guide, led us to the the most narrow street in Europe called Strada Sforii. I'm not sure if any of these stats are correct, but they make for good writing so I'll continue to believe Tony's stories. The most narrow street of course cannot accomodate cars, but it was fun to walk down.

We continued the tour of the town by walking down the cafe lined streets. It was set up a bit like Las Ramblas in Barcelona in that the tables were outside along the middle of the street and you could walk down both sides. Each building we passed had its own colors and character but they all seemed to fit together to form a nice little city of 400,000. On the walk, there was what seemed like an impromptu parade of nations. Groups from surrounding countries in traditional dress paraded down the street playing instruments and singing. I'm not sure what exactly was going on, but it was fun to see.

Impromptu parade

After the parade we took a short hike up a hill to a tower to get a better view of the city. In the spirit of Hollywood, there was a large sign in the nearby mountain stating that we were in Brasov.
The view speaks for itself!