Brasov – a “To do” on your wish list


If you live in Bucharest or any other crowded city, you most certainly wish for a city break, somewhere in the heart of the mountains, climbing and exploring or at the sea shores where you can have a long cool bath in the salty waters of the sea, anything to be away from your office and all the sheets standing on your desk.

We took the chance to make our way to the mountains, to be more exact in Brasov, also named as Kronshtadt  (GermanKrone for “crown” and Stadt for “city”), a city  located in the central part of the country, Transylvania, about 166 kilometers (103 miles) north of Bucharest and 380 km (236 mi) from the Black Sea, surrounded by our mighty Southern Carpathians.

The train was our “ship” to Brasov, traveling with InterRegio for about 2 hours and 40 minutes, always a busy train having many tourists going every week to Sinaia, Busteni,Azuga, Predeal and Brasov.  A good book and the great view with the mountains that appears right after passing Campina will make the time pass easily. We arrived in the Train Station of Brasov with great enthusiast and ready to be inspired of this wonderful Saxon old town.

When you first step out of the train it’s like the mountains salute’s you and awaits for you to discover even more than they actually show. Seeing the almost slow way of living day by day that the Transylvanians have gives you the feeling that here the time is always in a “on going vacation” and is more indulgent.

We took the bus 4 from the train station and we stopped at the bus station Nicolae Titulesc Park. If you will literally turn your head to right after you step out of the bus, you will see the mount named “Tampa” which has written on it in a hollywood style “Brasov”.  The fact that the city is so clean makes you appreciate that there are still some people which really care of our rich cities in great history and tries to conservate it with proudness and joy.


The old town is one of the best preserved old towns in Europe with splendid architecture  and old fortifications and is well worth taking a few days to explore. The city has an amazing history with influences from Germany, the Austria-Hungarian Empire and the old communist state.

The fact that our stomach was asking for food so badly didn’t stopped us from standing for five minute in one place admiring everything that was surrounding us. It’s really worthy every single Leu that you spend in this city. We made our way on Republicii Street to find a restaurant with traditional food.

“La Ceaun” is a fancy, non-smoking  small restaurant right on the entrance of the Michael Weiss Street. They have delicious traditional goodies which will make your sense of taste explode because of the great ingredients that they mix. We had two Zaganu beers, a plate with tomatoes and some burduf cheese. This was a fresh start after the train travel. The menu was offering beef soup and some “fasole frecata” (beans smashed and mixed with onion, garlic, salt pepper and sun-flower oil). We also have some home made apple pie. This meal made our day! I promise you that will probably won’t need to eat until next morning.


After we finished eating we took our way to Piata Sfatului, the center of the old fortress Brasov. You can visit Casa Sfatului (“The mayor’s former office building”). The administration for Brașov was here for more than 500 years.

We really wanted to visit Biserica Neagră (“The Black Church”), a celebrated Gothic site – the building dates from 1477, when it replaced an older church (demolished around 1385). Its acquired the name after being blackened by smoke from the 1689 great fire.  This Church is an amazing mix of architecture, history and religion.


We were lost in the greatness of this church. The inside was very well preserved and had paintings from the 15th century illustrates different action that took place in the church or in the name of the church. Its altar originally featured a single column, but its role in supporting the entire central structure — on the model of German cathedrals built by Hans Stettheimer (a view expressed by researchers such as Ernst Kühlbrandt and Antal Hekler) is under dispute. The naves took longer to complete, and construction was interrupted for various intervals: in 1423, Pope Martin V issued an indulgence for people involved in construction, as a means to reactivate the site; in 1474, a document issued by Sixtus IV acknowledged that work was still lagging. We promised ourselves  that we will come again and visit the church because every time there is something new to discover in its beauty.

We then head along back to Republicii Street and went to Mount Tampa, we wanted badly  to take the cable car and go up to the hill of the mount, right where it has written Brasov. It takes around 5 minute by cable car to actually be on top of the mount. Plus there is a cafe/restaurant at the top of the mountain which still has the communist look from 26 years ago.


From there you can actually see the entire fortification. The walls of the fortress are showing the exact place on where was the fortress buit. It’s a magic place and it will promise you amazing views of Brasov. This is” must go” place.

After this amazing view, we took the cable cabin back and went on a walk along the walls of the Brasov Fortress. With the fresh air and the historical theme of this town, it can be considered also a romantic place to go. This place caught our attention for next few years.

We also visited:

  • The First Romanian School, a museum with the first Romanian printing press among many other firsts.
  • The Rope Street, the narrowest street in Romania.
  • Șchei, the historically Bulgarian but then Romanian neighborhood outside of the old walled city.
  • Catherine’s Gate, the only original city gate to have survived from medieval times.
  • Şchei Gate, next to Catherine’s Gate, built in 1827.
  • The Orthodox church of the Dormition of the Theotokos, built in 1896.
  • Muzeul Prima Carte Românească, a museum exhibiting the first book printed in the Romanian language.
  • Tâmpa, a small mountain in the middle of the city (900m above sea level), a sightseeing spot near the old city center.
  • The “Brașov Citadel Fortress” – Cetățuia Brașovului
  • The nearby Bran Castle, attracting many fans of Dracula and often (but incorrectly) said to have been the home of Vlad the Impaler.
  • Poiana Brașov, mainly a ski resort but also a sightseeing spot.
  • Râșnov Fortress, above the nearby town of Râșnov, is a restored peasant fortress
  • Prejmer Fortress, in the nearby commune of Prejmer


So if you are in a look for adventure, historical places and fresh air, Brasov promises to fulfill all your wishes. Even if it’s summer or winter, you will be amazed with the good food, great view and the architecture of the old city. Of course, do not forget your camera and your energy!

Access Romania

Graphic art exhibition at the Romanian Banking Institute in Bucharest

ExpozitieGraphic art exhibition, which took place at the Romanian Banking Institute, on May 15, 2013, was a great success for Romanian Ștefan Marcu, a self-taught visual artist from Bucharest.

The graphic art exhibition was made to celebrate 22 years of Special Unit of Gendarmerie 76 from Bucharest, where he also works. The art works are illustrating special activities of the Unit 76 in terms of hardness, high efficiency and reliability in humanitarian missions such as natural disasters or civil causes.

The main art works were two traditional portraits of Eugeniu Carada (1836-1910), Romanian political economist and writer, an upstanding person who founded the economy and Romanian media but also founded the National Bank of Romania (BNR) and Mugur Isărescu, current governor of BNR. The exhibition had a special guest, Ilie Roșianu, art critic who had nothing but great words for the artist Marcu Ștefan, highlighting his huge interest for learning and the great effort and time that he put in the art works.

At the exhibition, the guests had the possibility to choose one or more art works and make an offer. All the money raised were donated to an institute for children with disabilities from Bucharest.

Ștefan Marcu is a self-taught visual artist, born in the North Romania, which has been creating since he was five, starting forming different shapes out of any easy material he could get. During his life, he continued to develop his art skills and reached to a new level of art with drawing, sculpture, photo manipulation, graphics, painting, cartoons and digital art.

He studied at the military school in Drăgășani, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences at Nicolae Titulescu Univeristy, and currently he is studying for Master in Speech Therapy in the Process of Communication, at the University of Bucharest. For more information or art work, visit his Facebook page here . 

-Access Romania Online-Ioana Toader

Junii Brașovului, a traditional custom and brand of Romania

Junii-Brasovului-85-of-125Brașov, the city at the foot of Tâmpa, with a great history to tell, is celebrating on Easter, and “Junii Brașovului”, a group of young fellows on horses from “Șcheii Brașovului”, dressed in traditional costumes, will cross the city as a parade, following a traditional custom that is 300 years old.

Many people know Transylvania for its beautiful surroundings and for the history and customs that make Romania such a rich country. Brasov is one if the cities that every year respects its customs and gather tens of thousands of people to see the beauty of the parade, which it is a ritual that takes part every first Sunday after Easter, also called “Sunday of Toma”.

The parade starts from the Prund Square, where “Junii Brașovului” are gathering and ride down on the streets to Sfatului Square, the old center of Brasov. On the road they stop at the Trinity of Captain Ilie Birt, where they sing “Hristos a Înviat” (Jesus arised!), then to “Poarta Șchei” (Șchei Gate) on the street Podul Crețului and from here to “Pietrele lui Solomon” (Solomon’s Stones). Once they arrive, they spread on the two plateaus, at the big tables arranged by the eldest, where they start to celebrate.

The documents show that in 1931 there were seven organizations of the Juni, the oldest one being of the “Junilor Tineri” (Young Juni). The last group established is the one in 1924, Junilor Brașovecheni, formed from married men. The custom of Juni is considered one of the initiation rituals among young men, being included in the cycle of the groups. The meaning of “june” is “unmarried young fellow”.

Today, the young “Juni” have about 30 members. Their flag has a face image of “Saguna High School” and the face of a  “june” on horseback on the other part. The old “Junii” (1834) come from the young june group, who were married in the meantime. Every year, on Pentecost, they organize youth “The ancestral game from Variște.” The turkeys Juni (1879) have the flag image of Michael the Brave (Mircea cel Bătrân) and the rider “june”. They wear black hat with “țoc” and turkey feathers. Junii Dorobanți(1924) are a group separated from those of  turkeys. They wear a grey hat. Junii Roşiori (1908) has about 80 members. They have the same flag as a  the turkey “juni”, but wearing caps with red pompon . The whitish Junii (1869) wearing white hats and the Junii Braşovecheni (1922) are wearing black hats high-pitched.


Romanian version:

Brașov, orașul cu o istorie mare de la poalele Tâmpei, sărbătorește de Paște, și “Junii Brașovului”, un grup de băieți tineri pe cai de la “Șcheii Brașovului”, îmbrăcați în costume tradiționale, vor traversa orașul ca o paradă, urmând un obicei tradițional, care este vechi de 300 de ani.

Mulți oameni știu Transilvania pentru împrejurimile sale frumoase și pentru istoria și obiceiurile care fac din România o țară bogată. Brasov este unul din orașele care în fiecare an respectă obiceiurile sale și aduna zeci de mii de oameni pentru a vedea parada traditionala, care este un ritual organizat in prima duminică după Paști, numită “Duminica Tomii”.

Parada pornește de la Piața Prund, unde “Junii Brașovului” se adună și calaresc pe străzi pana la Piata Sfatului, centrul vechi al Brasovului. Pe drum se opresc la Sfânta Treime a căpitanului Ilie Birt, unde se cântă “Hristos a Inviat” ,apoi la “Poarta Șchei”, pe strada Podul Crețului și de aici la “Pietri “(Pietrele lui Solomon). Odată ajunși, se răspândesc  pe două platouri, la mesele mari organizate de către cel mai în vârstă, unde încep toti să sărbătorească.

Documentele arată că în 1931 existau șapte organizații ale Junilor, cea mai veche fiind cea a “Junilor Tineri”. Ultimul grup stabilit este cel din 1924, Junilor Brașovecheni, format din bărbați căsătoriți. Obiceiul de Juni este considerat unul dintre ritualurile de inițiere în rândul bărbaților tineri, fiind inclus în ciclul de “cete”.

Junii tineri numără astăzi circa 30 de membri. Steagul acestora are pe o faţă imaginea Liceului Şaguna, iar pe cealaltă un june călare. Ei poartă pălării cu tricolor. Junii bătrâni (1834) provin din grupul junilor tineri, care s-au căsătorit între timp. În fiecare an, de Rusalii, ei organizează pentru tineri „Jocul strămoşesc din Varişte“.  Junii curcani (1879) au pe drapel chipul lui Mihai Viteazul şi junele călăreţ. Ei poartă căciulă neagră cu „ţoc“ şi pene de curcan.  Junii Dorobanţi (1924) sunt un grup desprins din cel al curcanilor. Ei poartă o căciulă brumărie. Junii Roşiori (1908) numără aproximativ 80 de membri. Au acelaşi steag ca Junii Curcani, dar poartă chipiu cu pompon roşu. Junii Albiori (1869) poartă căciuli albe, iar Junii Braşovecheni (1922) poartă căciuli negre cu ţugui.



Ioana Toader

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