Established on an ancient Dacian site in the 13th century by Teutonic knights, Braşov became a German mercantile colony in the 13th century named Kronstadt (Brassó in Hungarian). The Saxons built ornate churches and townhouses, protected by a massive wall that still remains. The Romanians lived at Schei, just outside the walls, to the southwest.
One of the first public oppositions to the Ceauşescu government flared here in 1987. Thousands of disgruntled workers took to the streets demanding basic foodstuffs. Ceauşescu called in the troops and three people were killed in the scuffle.
Str Republicii, Braşov’s pedestrian-only promenade, is crowded with shops and cafés. At its north end is B-dul Eroilor, with museums and hotels; the boulevard also links two other main thoroughfares, Str Mureşenilor (the main entry thoroughfare to the centre) to its west and Str Nicolae Bălcescu to its east. The train station is 2km northeast of the town centre, past grey block-housing neighbourhoods.
Amco’s Braşov City Plan (€3.40) is the best available map; it surely beats the glossy ad-filled Braşov City & County Map (€2.80). The information centre hands out a useful, free Sam’s City Guide with maps of Braşov and Poiana Braşov.
The free, biweekly Romanian magazines Zile şi Nopţi (Days and Nights; www.zilesinopti.ro) and 24-Fun, found in bars and cafés, are worth picking up for the most up-to-date listings.
Pick up the bimonthly Braşov Visitor (www.brasov-visitor.ro) at the tourist information centre for English articles from visitors and expats about the Transylvanian experience.