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Black Church (Biserica Neagra)
72 Tours and Activities

Brasov’s monumental Black Church (Biserica Neagra) soars heavenwards at the southwestern end of the city’s focal Council Square (Piata Sfatului) and is the largest Gothic church in central Europe. Afloat with flying buttresses and a landmark tower, construction on the church began in 1383 and it was completed almost a century later in 1477; along with several other prominent buildings in the city it was all but destroyed in the great fire of 1689 and takes its present name from its blackened, smoke-damaged walls. Repairs took more than 100 years and even today only one of the two proposed towers is complete, standing 215 feet (65.6 meters) above the Council Square. The Black Church’s Gothic vaulting remains but the interior now shows touches of Baroque in its styling; the flamboyant, 4,000-pipe organ is one of the best in Romania, designed in 1839 by the famous German organ-maker Carl August Buchholz and there are weekly organ concerts at 6 p.m. each Tuesday.

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Council Square (Piata Sfatului)
18 Tours and Activities

The triangular expanse of Council Square (Piata Sfatului) has been the focus of life in Braşov since medieval times; at the heart of the city’s Saxon, medieval Old Town, it can rival the Rynek in Krakow for sheer beauty. The piazza is lined with a jumble of stately Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque townhouses – now mostly restaurants and cafés – and is overshadowed by the Old Town Hall, a Gothic masterpiece dating from 1420 and whose landmark Trumpet Tower was originally a watchtower against approaching invaders. Formerly the hub of civic activity in Braşov, today the Old Town Hall houses the tourist office and the city’s History Museum.

Braşov’s monumental Black Church (Biserica Neagră) stands at the southwestern end of the square and is the largest Gothic-style church in central Europe; its origins lie in the 14th century but much of the church was destroyed in the fire of 1689 and subsequently rebuilt.

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Brasov Citadel (Cetatea Brasovului)
2 Tours and Activities

In medieval times, Braşov was settled by Saxons from present-day Germany, and as the city suffered repeated attacks by Turks and Tatars from the east, they fortified their city in the 15th century. The resulting 1.8-mile (3-km) defense wall originally wrapped around its medieval heart and was 39.5 feet (12 meters) high plus 6.5 feet (two meters) thick. The wall was further strengthened by seven bastions, which were guarded by Saxon guildsmen. Parts still stand today and several bastions have also survived including Braşov Citadel, which was built in 1524 and extended a century later. The sturdy, squat citadel sits on a hill to the north of the Old Town and saw plenty of fighting over the years; it was repeatedly destroyed before being renovated and used as a prison in the 18th century and later as quarantine quarters during an outbreak of plague.

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