The focal point of the historic city center of Braşov is the wide-open Piața Sfatului (Council Square). It’s lined with historic buildings converted into cafés, has a fountain in the middle, and plenty of benches to sit and pass the time away. In 1364, annual markets began taking place in the square attracting merchants from all over the country and abroad. It was also the place where witches were punished and prisoners were executed.
The building in the center of the square is the Casa Sfatului (Council House). It was built in 1420 and was the mayor’s office. It now holds a tourist information center and a small city museum.
There are some notable buildings on the square. First is the 1545 Casa Hirscher, built by Apollonia Hirscher in memory of her husband, Lukas, the former county of Braşov. She built it so merchants could do business without worrying about inclement weather. It was also known as the Merchants House. The Casa Mureşan, left of the big pink Romanian National Bank building, was the home of Jacob Mureşan, the first editor of the Gazeta Transilvania, a 19th century Romanian language political newspaper.
The Biserica Sfânta Adormire, a gorgeous Orthodox church from 1894, is also on the square.
Just off the square is the Biserica Neagră (Black Church). Built between 1383 and 1474 as a Roman Catholic church in the Gothic style, it’s now a Lutheran church that serves some of the remaining German community in Braşov. A 1689 fire blackened its walls and gave it its name. It’s the largest Gothic church in Transylvania.
Outside of the church is a statue of Johannes Honter, a German theologian from Braşov credited for implementing Lutheran reform in Transylvania.
The Paul Richter House, which holds the Honterus Library, is across from the church. It was built in the 16th century.
Strada Republicii, the main pedestrian way, is lined with some incredible buildings, outdoor cafés, and shops. It’s a wonderful place to walk, sit and relax, and pass the time. This was my personal favorite attraction in Brașov.
I paid special attention to many of the buildings along the street and was impressed by the architecture.
The end of Strada Republicii leads to a couple of government buildings. The 1900 Palace of Justice sits on the right while City Hall is on the left. City Hall has a Capitoline Wolf statue out front.
It’s worth seeking out Strada Sforii (Rope Street), which is one of the narrowest streets in Europe. It varies between 111 and 135 centimeters in width.
Nearby is the Temple Synagogue, built by Viennese Jews between 1899-1901.
The historic city center was once surround by Medieval walls. They served a defensive purpose, but also sadly kept ethnic Bulgarians and Romanians from entering. Those groups traditionally lived in the Şchei area to the west and were forbidden from owning property within the city walls until the 17th century.