WIKI REFRESH Braºov (pronunciation in Romanian:
- name in Hungarian: Brassó, German: Kronstadt) is
a city in Romania, capital city of Braºov County. The population of
Braºov is 284,596, according to the 2002 census.
Braºov is located in the central part of the country, at about 166 km
from Bucharest and surrounded by the Southern Carpathians. It is part
of the Transylvania region.
A large longwave broadcasting facility
is located near Braºov, at Bod.
Also the city is the host of The
Golden Stag (Cerbul de Aur) international music
The current Romanian and
Hungarian names are derived from the Pecheneg word, barasu
meaning "fortress". On Tâmpa Hill, located on the Southern side of the
city, there was once a romanian citadel called Brassovia
which gave the Romanian name of the city, one later used by the
Hungarians as well.
The first attested mention of Braºov is
Terra Saxonum de Barasu ("Saxon Land of Baras"), in a 1252
document. The German name Kronstadt means "Crown City", and
is reflected in the city coat-of-arms, as well as in its Medieval
Latin name, Corona. The three names of the city
(Braºov, Kronstadt, and Corona) were used
simultanously in the Middle Ages.
The city was named Oraºul
Stalin, after Soviet Union leader Joseph Stalin, from 1951 to
1961 (during a period of Communist Romania).
The municipality of Braºov has a total population of
- Romanians: 258,042
- Hungarians: 23,204 (8.53%)
- Ethnic Germans:
- Roma: 762 (0.26%)
- other ethnicities (Russians, Greeks,
Italians): 871 (0.31%)
inhabitants of Braºov are Romanians (Vlachs), a population resulted
from the assimilation of the Dacian tribes by the Romans. After the
271 retreat of the Roman armies, in the tumultuos Migration Period
(from the 4th to 9th centuries A.D.), Romanians continued living in
these territories, especially in areas protected by mountains and
hills, and organized in small polities. One such community was Þara
Bârsei, comprising several villages. A village named Cotun
mentioned in the area around Braºov (the name draws similarities with
a Dacian language word presumed to have meant "village") - its latest
development led to today's neighborhood of Scheii
The Brasovian population of that time were mainly
Christians shepherds (which opted for Eastern Orthodoxy after the
Great Schism). The Romanian settlement grew owing to the diversifying
of their employments - many became well established merchants,
craftsmen (butchers, weavers, carpenters, or builders), and clerics.
Near the Orthodox church in Schei, the Romanian Brasovians founded the
first school for Romanians, at the end of the 13th century.
Braºov became a German colony, Romanians were denied several
privileges by the new German settlers. They would no longer be
recognized as citizens of the city, hence they were unable to perform
any longer their crafts and businesses, and their religion was not
officially recognized throughout Transylvania. Therefore, most turned
to shepherding and smuggling, ventures which still returned
considerable wealth - allowing them to build the very first community
stone church in Transylvania, to establish the first Romanian printing
press in Transylvania (1558), and later a library. The German burghers
were still relying on Romanian-speakers from within the community in
their dealings with the Hospodars of Wallachia and Moldavia, and
occasionally with the Ottoman Empire.
The cultural and religious
importance of the Romanian church and school in Schei is underlined by
the generous donations received from more than thirty hospodars of
Moldavia and Wallachia, as well as that from Elizabeth of Russia. In
the 17th and 19th centuries, the Romanians in Schei engaged in
campaigning for national, political, and cultural rights, being
supported in their efforts by Romanians from all other provinces, as
well as by the local Greek merchants community. In 1838 they
established the first Romanian language newspaper, Gazeta
Transilvaniei, and the first Romanian institutions of higher
education (ªcolile Centrale Greco-Ortodoxe - "The
Greek-Orthodox Central Schools", today named after Andrei ªaguna). The
Holy Roman Emperor and sovereign of Transylvania Joseph II awarded
Romanians citizenship rights for a brief period during the latter
decades of the 18th century.
German colonists (also known as
Transylvanian Saxons) played a decisive role in Braºov's development.
Settlers coming primarily from the Rhineland, Flanders, and the
Moselle region, with others from Thuringia, Bavaria, Wallonia, and
even from France, were granted settlement in Transylvania by the
Hungarian King Géza II at differnt stages between 1141 and
In 1211, by order of Andrew II, the Teutonic Knights
briefly settled the area, founding three distinct settlements on the
site of Braºov:
- Corona, around the Black
Church (Biserica Neagrã)
- Martinsberg, west of
- Bartholomä, on the eastern side of
Germans living in Braºov were mainly
involved in trade and crafts. The location of the city at the
intersection of trade routes linking the Ottoman Empire and Western
Europe, together with certain tax exemptions, allowed Saxon merchants
to obtain considerable wealth and exert more political influence. They
contributed a great deal to the architectural landscape of the city
and always rivaled the city of 
). Fortifications around the city were erected
and continually expanded, with several towers maintained by different
craftsmen's guilds, according to medieval custom. Part of the
fortification ensemble was recetly restored using UNESCO funds, and
other projects are ongoing. At least two entrances to the city, Poarta
Ecaterinei ("Ekaterinentor") and Poarta Schei are still in existence.
The city center is marked by the mayor's office building
) and the surrounding piazza, which includes one of
the oldest buildings in Brasov, the "Hirscher Haus", owned by a
wealthy merchant. Close to it, the historic "Black Church" rises,
which some claim is the largest Gothic style church in Eastern
In 1918, when Transylvania became part of Romania,
organizations of the German minority from Transylvania declared their
allegiance to the new Romanain state. The inter-war period saw a
flourishing of economic and cultural life in general, which included
the Saxons in Brasov as well. However, at the end of World War II many
ethnic Germans were forcibly deported to the Soviet Union (see
Communist Romania), and subsequently many more emigrated to West
Germany after Romania became a communist country.
lived in Braºov since 1807, when Aron Ben Jehuda was given permission
to live in the city by the up to then restrictive Saxons. The Jewish
Community of Braºov was officially founded 19 years later, followed by
the first Jewish school in 1864, and the building of the synagogue in
1901. The Jewish population of Braºov expanded rapidly to 1280 people
in 1910, and 4,000 in 1940. Today the community has about 230 members,
after many families have left for Israel between World War II and
Brasov had a very diversified
economy during the Communist regime. The heavy industry is abundant,
with a large truck-making factory which manufactures MAN trucks under
licence, as well as native-designed trucks. The industrial base has
been in decline in recent years, however Brasov is a site for
manufacturing agricultural tractors and machinery, hydraulic
transmissions, auto parts, roll-bearings, helicopters (at the nearby
IAR site in Ghimbav), building materials, tools, furniture, textiles,
shoes, cosmetics. There are also chocolate factories and a large
brewery. In particular, the pharmaceutical industry has been developed
lately, with GlaxoSmithKline having a production site in Brasov.
The Brasov local transport network is
well-developed. There are buses, trolleybuses and trams. Some of the
bus lines run a night service. There is also a regular bus line
deserving Poiana Brasov, a nearby winter resort.
Its central location makes Braºov a good starting point for trips
around Romania, the city being situated at fairly equal distances from
several tourism destinations in the country: the Black Sea resorts,
the monasteries in northern Moldavia, and the well-preserved wooden
churches of Maramureº. It is also the largest city in a mountain
resorts area. The old city itself is very well preserved, and is best
seen by taking the cable-car to the top of Tampa Hill (995 m), a
Temperatures from May to September fluctuate
around 23°C / 75°F. Braºov benefits from a winter tourism season
centered on winter sports and other activities.
- Biserica Neagrã ("The Black
Church"), a celebrated Gothic site - the building dates from 1477,
when it replaced a 1384 church. Its acquired the name after being
blackened by smoke from a 1689 fire.
- Biserica Sf.
Nicolae (Saint Nicholas Church), dating back to the 14th
- The Orthodox Cathedral, built in 1858.
Muzeul "Prima Carte Româneascã", a museum exhibiting the
first printed book in the Romanian.
- The nearby Bran Castle,
attracting many fans of Dracula, and often (but incorrectly) said to
have been the home of Vlad III the Impaler.
- Poiana Braºov,
mainly a ski resort, but also a sightseeing spot.
- Tâmpa, a
hill in the middle of the city (900m above sea level), a sightseeing
spot near the old city center.
- The Jewish Synagogue
<gallery>Image:Brasov.jpg|Braºov seen from
Tâmpa HillImage:Centru bv.JPG|Braºov Council Square (Piaþa
Sfatului)Image:Brasov square.jpg|Braºov Main SquareImage:Consiliu
popular.JPG|Council of Braºov CountyImage:Biserica neagra 1.JPG|The
Black ChurchImage:Brasov in winter.jpg|Braºov in winterImage:Brasov
old street.jpg|Lane in medieval city centre of BraºovImage:Brasov
Fortress Hill.jpg|Fortress HillImage:IAR Brasov 1940.jpg|IAR Factory
Braºov County Municipalities in