May 19, 2023 Brasov RO

Today was a day for tourism. Our Romanian friends strongly recommended we visit Brasov. It is famous for its Black Church and its charming old town. After a mostly driving and working day yesterday, I didn’t mention we washed clothes yesterday, we slept in a little today. Before heading into town Ton prepared a nice breakfast made up mostly of stuff leftover from Bulgaria.

We believe these ladies are Roma, who make up about 1% of the population in the area. This is the first time we have seen Roma in the traditional costumes associated with them.

We started the day by going to the biggest attraction in town the Black Church. It is called the Black Church because after a major fire in the 1600’s the exterior was coated with soot and the stone turned black.

The exterior of the Black Church. The white blocks are a result of several restorations recently and in the communist era that used non-matching stone.

The church began as a Roman Catholic Church founded by the German settlers in the region. During the reformation Brasov was an early adopter of Lutheranism and in the mid-1500’s the Church became Lutheran.

The interior of the Black Church.

I was surprised that it was not classified as a Cathedral as it is the size of a Cathedral, but the history of the church indicated that it was over built in order to try to advance the status of the city. We were lucky as the organist for the church was practicing while we were inside so we got to listen to the very impressive organ.

The organ sounds as impressive as it looks. If you look carefully in the right center of the picture near the bottom of the organ you can see the organist playing.

As is typical with Lutheran churches they are much more austere than Catholic churches. Brasov was a trading center between western Europe and the Ottoman Empire, so the walls of the church were lined with Turkish rugs from the Ottoman empire. Most of the rugs hanging in the church were from the 1700’s.

Some of the pews from the church. Each guild had its own set of pews. You can also see some of the Turkish Rugs in the background.

Something we learned today was that seats were not provided by the church. Each guild sat together and provided their own pews. The location and the quality of the pews was determined by the wealth of the guild. The guilds competed for the best locations in the church. They also tried to design pews to represent their trades. Once we understood this we made another tour of the church to look at the different pews.

One of the original gates for the town. The walls have been torn down, but this one gate was kept as a landmark.

After the church we took a pass thru town. Like many European cities the main square and one of the roads are pedestrian only. This is a feature we really enjoy as it makes for a nice relaxing way to see the town, and allows for a lot of outdoor dining for the restaurants.

A section of the Strada Republicii, with the outdoor dining that we love. If only we could get them to make a least part of it non-smoking!

We popped into a small pub to sample a local beer. We ended up having a nice conversation with the server because Ton noticed his Las Vegas Raiders hat. He was very proud of the beer, they have revived a local beer using a recipe from 1893. It is a Lager, but a little maltier than modern Lagers. He really appreciated our praise and gave us a run down on other craft producers in the region.

A locally produced beer using a recipe from 1891.

After refreshing ourselves we headed towards Strada Sforii, or Rope Street. Apparently there is a list of narrowest streets in Europe with official measurements and everything, and Strada Sforii is the third narrowest in Europe at 1.3 meters (about 4ft). It was left in place to allow medieval fire fighters a quick passageway between main roads.

The narrowest part of Rope Street. Too bad about the graffiti.

Next to Rope Street we found the Jewish Synagogue. The building survived the war, though unfortunately most of the Jewish population of the town did not.

The Synagogue and the communal dining for the local Jewish community. There was a touching memorial to 10 young men from Brasov who were killed in the 1973 Israeli-Arab war while fighting for the Israelis.

We had our first Romanian meal. Ton was really happy with her stuffed cabbage and she also liked my goulash. I am going to be open minded but so far I think I like Bulgarian and Greek food better.

The stuffed cabbage with sour cream and polenta is a local specialty. The Mustata Beer (Mustache) is the other local beer in town.

2 thoughts on “May 19, 2023 Brasov RO”

  1. Great pictures on this episode! Give Pe Ton a pat on the back.
    Your breakfast description left me a little nauseated as eating Bulgarian Leftovers sounds like something they would serve you in a Communist Prison……
    That skinny street that you posed in may be good for firefighters but it looks AWESOME for graffiti artists!!

    1. Ton sends her thanks. She enjoys taking the photos and then spends a fair amount of time paring them down to the best ones before sending them to me. Bulgarian food is pretty good, There are a couple of dishes I miss already, a sauce made from tomatoes, red peppers and egg plant that is something like a salsa. It is delicious.

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