The Saxons settlers invited by the Hungarian kings in the late 12th and early 13th century in the Subcarpathian areas of Transylvania soon found themselves faced with the threat of Mongol and Ottoman invasions. The answer to this was building fortified precincts surrounding the church and offering shelter for the families and their assets.
Most ethnic Germans, or Saxons, by their popular name, said 'Good-bye' to their homelands after WWII and the end of communism, but their citadels were left to tell the story of 800 years of German presence in Romania, part of the Transylvanian cultural mix, so much appreciated by tourists and Prince Charles alike.
We start from the Council Square in central Brasov or from the hotel and head for Prejmer (Germ. 'Tartlau'), with the best fortified ecclesiastical citadel in Romania, considered to be the oldest in Gothic style, part of the UNESCO World Heritage.
The next stop is at Harman (Germ. 'Honigberg'), with a Roman-style basilica documented in 1240, protected by a precinct since 1500. Our third visit is in Halchiu (Germ. 'Heldsdorf'), with the largest still preserved altar from medieval Transylvania. Via Codlea (Germ. 'Zeiden'), home of another large Saxon fortress, we reach Cristian (Germ. 'Neustadt'), with a last fortress surrounding a church dating back to 1270, a mixture of Romanic, Gothic and Neoclassical style.
On our way back to Brasov, we visit the Rasnov citadel (Germ. 'Rosenau'), watching the town from high above, should time still allow this.
Meeting Location + Tour Duration
Meeting location: The info point at the Council House in the Council Square ,or the customer's hotel.
End location: The Council House, from where a walk in the Old Town Centre of Brasov is possible, or the hotel reception.
Duration: 6 hours
Traffic in and around Brasov may slightly add up some time.
Personal car, Renault Symbol 2011, air-conditioned.
Estimated Local Cash Needed
80 RON - Entrance-fees or customary donations to churches. Drinks and snacks. Lunch can be served in a restaurant with Romanian or Saxon specificity.
As a Romanian licensed national guide, there are limitations to guiding inside some museums, such as the Cotroceni Palace or the House of Parliament in Bucharest, or the Peles Castle in Sinaia, in the Prahova Valley.
A Recent Review of this tour
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I highly recommend Liviu for a tour. He is a teacher by training, and it shows - he has a deep knowledge of the history of Transylvania and Romania and he loves to share it. He also clearly has a passion for the artistic and cultural legacy of the area. He absolutely went above and beyond what we had expected and contracted for.