Brasov, a storyteller
Brașov is a city in the Transylvania region of Romania, ringed by the Carpathian Mountains. It’s known for its medieval Saxon walls and bastions, the towering Gothic-style Black Church and lively cafes. Piaţa Sfatului (Council Square) in the cobbled old town is surrounded by colorful baroque buildings and is home to the Casa Sfatului, a former town hall turned local history museum.
The oldest traces of human activity and settlements in Brașov date back to the Neolithic age (about 9500 BCE). Archaeologists working from the last half of the 19th century discovered continuous traces of human settlements in areas situated in Brașov: Valea Cetății, Pietrele lui Solomon, Șprenghi, Tâmpa, Dealul Melcilor, and Noua. The first three locations show traces of Dacian citadels; Șprenghi Hill housed a Roman-style construction. The last two locations had their names applied to Bronze Age cultures — Schneckenberg (“Hill of the Snails”; Early Bronze Age) and Noua (“The New”; Late Bronze Age).
German colonists known as the Transylvanian Saxons played a decisive role in Brașov’s development. These Germans were brought by Hungarian kings to develop towns, build mines, and cultivate the land of Transylvania at different stages between 1141 and 1300. The settlers came primarily from the Rhineland, Flanders, and the Moselle region, with others from Thuringia, Bavaria, Wallonia, and even France.
In 1211, by order of King Andrew II of Hungary, the Teutonic Knights fortified the Burzenland to defend the border of the Kingdom of Hungary. On the site of the village of Brașov, the Teutonic Knights built Kronstadt – the city of the crown. Although the crusaders were evicted by 1225, the colonists they brought in remained, along with local population, as did three distinct settlements they founded on the site of Brașov:
Corona, around the Black Church (Biserica Neagră);
Martinsberg, west of Cetățuia Hill;
Bartholomä, on the eastern side of Sprenghi Hill.