Burzenland and Beyond

The region of Braşov, also called Ţara Bârsei or Burzenland, has always been one of the richest parts of Transylvania, due some of Europe’s most important commercial paths meeting here. This was the reason why, over centuries, different populations have been attracted to this area, some of them settling down and colonizing the region and others trying to conquer it. Today’s journey is about the medieval and royal Transylvanian legacy…

We will depart from Braşov in the morning and drive for just a couple of minutes to Prejmer. The small village was once a great medieval center, built by the German Teutonic Knights. On their way back from the crusades, they were invited to settle down in Transylvania and then forced to leave just a couple of years later. The fortified church of Prejmer, a UNESCO world heritage site, shows a perfectly conserved ensemble of a Romanesque cross-shaped church and a very interesting housing system: over 250 rooms were built on the interior of the walls, each one belonging to a family. These rooms were used to deposit goods and supplies and offer shelter in case of any danger.

Continuing our journey on the footsteps of the Teutonic Knights, we will reach Hărman. The small village, called Honigberg (the “mountain with bees” in German) is home to another interesting fortified church with a unique architecture: the priest and the most important members of the community, each had a small room built right on the roof of the church, where they could flee in case of danger. A couple of year ago, architects discovered in the old Catholic chapel some stunning frescoes dating back to the 13th and 14th century.

At noon we will cross the mountains and drive to Sinaia. Initially built around a small monastery from the 17th century, the city has rapidly grown in the 19th century, after the Romanian royal family decided to build a summer residence here. The palace is one of the country’s most beautiful modern 19th century palaces and is nowadays open for tourists and is really worth a visit.

In the afternoon, you will be driven to Bran. The famous castle was built by the Teutonic Knights as a border to the neighboring country and became of great value both for economical and military reasons. Because of its position and architecture, it received an important role in Bram Stoker (APOSTROF) s bestseller “Dracula”, as the residence of the great vampire. How much of that is true and how much is a legend, you can only find out if you visit the castle…

In the evening we will return to Braşov.