Râşnov Citadel is a 13th century fort built as a means of protection against the Tatars and the Turks. It is one of the best preserved citadels in Transylvania, allegedly built by the Teutonic Knights. However, it is most likely to have been built by the dwellers of Râşnov and the surrounding villages in order to protect them against enemy invasions.
The great invasion of the Tatars from 1241, which ravaged the region, as well as other following invasions, determined Râşnov’s dwellers to build a defensive system as impenetrable as possible. Thus, the citadel was built through the joint effort of the people in the area. This impressive historical monument is first mentioned in 1335 under the name of the Râşnov Peasant Citadel. In that year the Tatars had again devastated the region, but they could not conquer the fortified citadel.
The citadel has an exterior yard, situated in the eastern part and surrounded by a fortified wall, and an interior one, bordered by the actual walls of the citadel. The architectural style is simple, similar to that of the regular houses in the area, only fortified. The brick and stone walls were shingled so that they would prevent fires started by the invaders. Inside the interior yard are preserved the ruins of over 30 houses that sheltered Râşnov’s dwellers during sieges.
The most interesting legend is related to the 146m-deep fountain inside the citadel. It is said to have been built in 17 years (between 1623 and 1640) by two Turkish prisoners who were promised to be released after finalizing the works. While digging the well, the prisoners wrote fragments from the Quran on its walls, which are still visible nowadays. Due to this fountain, the inhabitants of the citadel didn’t have to turn to exterior water sources in case of siege, thus being able to resist attacks for longer periods.
Nowadays, after the citadel’s extensive restoration, tourists can also visit the feudal art museum, which exhibits weapons, tools, furniture, armours, clothes and documents from that period, as well as a number of objects quite unusual for our times: a torture mask and a yoke for transporting prisoners. You can also enjoy the beautiful views of the surrounding mountains.
How to get there:
Râşnov Citadel is situated 15km from Braşov.
By car: From Braşov, take E574 to Râşnov. Approximate travel time is 25min.
By bus: There are two daily buses leaving from Braşov at 8:20 and 9:50 to Râşnov. Approximate travel time is 30min.