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July 4, 2005
The inner court of the stronghold of Prejmer was built around 1427. Its walls are 12 to 14m high and, at the base, 5m thick. In the higher part, there are crenels and pouring holes. At a height of 10m, there runs an almost 2m-wide battlemented parapet. In the southeastern sector of the parapet, there is a – among our fortresses – "death organ," in an oak board set instead of a window, which can be turned around its own axis and has on each side five places for muzzle-loading riffles.
While the one series was being fired, the other one could be loaded, and, by turning it quickly, the procedure could be repeated. But the small-bore rifles were used more to frighten the enemy away than to kill him.
On the inner court’s side, there are rooms laid out on four floors that were accessible thanks to a system of wooden platforms. On the doors, the house number of each farmer is still written. There were stocked things like corn and bacon, the traditional nourishment; during war times, the rooms were also inhabited. Two large rooms in the southeastern corner still bear the name of the "Old School," an indication that teaching was not interrupted, even during war time.
A 30m entry through the gateway, a low tunnel vault that could be locked by means of a portcullis and oaken doors, forms in the south. A drawbridge more than 8m wide and a 4m-deep canal connected the fortress to the outside world. The canal was filled up in the second half of the 18th century.
In the 16th and the 17th centuries, a second fortification was built on the long entry to the gateway - the so-called Town Hall Yard, thus increasing the number of rooms to 267. Its façade shows a double row of blind arcades, a presumably renaissance ornament. In the Town Hall Yard, there opens up an entrance to a tunnel that connected the fortress with its outside. Today, it can be entered only a little. The other side is not known any longer.
A third part, which was protected by walls, but without any defense purpose, has been built at the beginning of the 18th century. It is the so-called Baker Yard, between the Town Hall Yard and the main wall. At the same time, there was built the long entrance tunnel with baroque arcades. This tunnel replaces the old drawbridge, which connected both shores of the canal.
From journal The Beautiful Prejmer
June 10, 2005
A point of interest in the Old City of Braşov is the Old City Hall on the Central Square, now Museum of History of the city. On its façade, the coat of arms of the city, a tree-trunk with many roots and a crown on it. The trunk symbolises the city, which consisted of the many villages and the colonists’ families, represented by the many roots. The crown suggestes the German name of the ciy – Kronstadt – as well as on the fact, that the city has been built on royal ground, therefore being a free city.
Also on the Central Square, there is an old manufacturing house, which hosts now a restaurant. In its cellars, traditional barrels of wine are stored, alongside with rooms, where wine-tasting evenings can be organised. The wine is not from the region, as the region is quite cool, but from the Târnave region in Transilvania, or from Odobeşti in Southern Moldova, just to name a few of the most famous Romanian wine regions. After the tasting, the dinner is served in another room, where folklore programmes are also offered.
Of central interest in the Old City is the protestant church, which became known as the Black Church, following the big fire which caught the whole city in the 17th century. The church, however, dates from the 12th century, and like all German churches of Transylvania, the Black Church was until the 16th century Catholic, and thereafter it turned Protestant (after Luther). Some very nice wall paintings have been discovered. What is unique about the Black Church, however, is its rich collection of Oriental (Islamic) carpets. Those have been brought by the merchants of Braşov from the Far East and donated them to the Church to thank God for their earnings and for the fortunate travel.
The old city was little and had strong, fortified walls which can still be seen in part. In the southeast of the city, there was the village of Şchei, which was inhabited by Romanians. Nowadays it is part of Braşov. On its central square, there is an Orthodox church, which reminds of the Russian churches, because of its many towers. The fact is that a part of the money comes from the Russian Tsarin Katharina 2nd, who supported the Orthodox in Transylvania, hoping to extend the Russian influence on the land inhabited by many Romanians. It did not, however, come to the end they had hoped for.
From journal The Medieval City of Brasov