Brașov is a good starting point for trips around Romania. I arrived at the main train station after a 10-hour journey train ride from Timisoara. Luckily the hostel that I stayed at is located not too far from the Old Town. The hostel is actually a huge house with lots of amenities, and a backyard for barbecue.
The Black Church is the most recognizable building in Old Town Brașov. It was built by the German community, and stands as the main Gothic style monument in the city. The Black Church (Biserica Neagră) got its name after being blackened by smoke from the 1689 fire that almost destroyed the entire city. It measures 65 meters from the floor level to the highest point which is the bell tower. History suggested that there were supposed to be two bell towers. Unfortunately, the city was only able to build one because it was lacking in funds.
The Council Square (Piata Sfatului) is one of the finest central squares in the country. In the center of the square stands the Old Town Hall, now home to Brasov's History Museum. You'll find the renaissance-style Merchant's House (now it is a restaurant), and the archway of the Orthodox Cathedral. In late summer, the Golden Stag (Cerbul de Aur) music festival takes place here. Situated in the heart of old medieval Brașov, and lined with beautiful merchant houses, the Council Square, known to the Saxon population as the Markplatz, is a nice place to rest and soak surrounded by the peaks of the Southern Carpathian Mountains.
Built between 1400 and 1650, part of Brașov's defensive fortifications can still be seen today, though most was taken down in the 19th century to make room for the city's expansion. With a stream running along Dupa Ziduri Street on the west side of the wall, you'll catch a glimpse of the 15th century White and Black Towers. However, one cannot tell which is which as they both seemed to have the same color. Looking down from the White Tower is Graft Bastion, one of the original surviving bastions. Follow the city wall southeast, you'll find Catherine's Gate which was built in 1559. It is the only original city gate that survived the test of time, and it is used as the main entrance to medieval Kronstadt at one time. Nearby is the classicist Schei Gate.
Not too far from there is Colegiul Andrei Saguna (a Romanian college). St Nicholas's Church dominates the Schei District. With a mix of Byzantine, Baroque, and Gothic styes, it features a slender tower and four corner towers. It is surrounded by protective walls with large wooden gates. The enclosure shelters a small old Jewish cemetery.
Brașov is the seventh largest city in Romania. Although relatively small in size, it packs with lots of history, culture, and attractions. If you like, you can join a free guided tour daily at 6 pm which begins by the fountain at the Council Square. I took the tour, and I thoroughly enjoyed the 2-hour walking tour guided by Loana, a volunteer for a non-profit organization tour company.
And lastly, don't forget to take a walk through the world's tinniest street in Brașov, Strada Sforii.