Brasov History

The origins of Brasov as a medieval town are lost in the dark times. Archaeological discoveries mention life on this land since the Bronze Age, 60,000 years ago. The most impressive monument of the Antiquity is the Dacian Sanctuary of Racos, though, hardly accessible to tourists. Another testimony of life on this land is the Roman camp discovered in Rasnov, the former Northeastern border of the Roman empire. An inscription in stone reveals the ancient Dacian name of the land: Cumidava. The Dacian-Roman settlements (Brasov, Harman, Cristian, Feldioara) in this area stand proof that after the Romans retreat (the year 271) the inhabitants (Daco-Roman population) remained on this land.

Brasov was first mentioned as “Corona” ( which means, crown, hence the coat of arms of the city which is a crown with oak roots) in 1235, when the Saxon population settled here. Later on the town was known as Brasco, Brasso, Kronstadt, Brassovia Citadel and Stalin.

For centuries, the city was (and still is) Transylvania’s gateway towards the South and East. As the renowned Harvard professor Samuel Huntington shows in his work “The Clash of Civilizations”, this is where (ideologically) Europe ends. The fault line between the western and the eastern civilization runs indeed through Brasov, separating Transylvania from the rest of Romania.

Due to its geographical position, at the crossroads of Moldavia and Wallachia, Brasov has had a fast economic growth, becoming one of the most important markets in Transylvania. On the 14th century Brasov became one of the most economical and political strongholds in the Southeast of Europe and on the 16th century also a cultural center. Johannes Honterus, a great German humanist, worked most of the time in Brasov and Deaconu Coresi printed the first Romanian book also in Brasov.

As one might expect, the city had a troubled history. The Brasov defense fortifications were built between the 15th and the 17th centuries, as a consequence of the repeated invaders coming from the east and south. A significant part of the citadel walls are still standing.

On March, 1600, Mihai Viteazu visited Brasov and summoned “The Diet of Transylvania” recognizing the rights of Tara Birsei’s inhabitants.

In 1688 when the Austrian army conquered Transylvania, Brasov was the last Bastion standing. 1689 was a one of the toughest years in the history of Brasov. On April, 21, a big fire destroyed most of the town and killed 3,000 people. Most of the houses were destroyed and Saint Maria Church, smoked by the fire, would become “The Black Church”. The citizens rapidly rebuild the city.

In 1838 George Baritiu edited the first Romanian publications in Brasov: “Gazeta de Transilvania” and the “Paper for Mind, Heart and Literature”. It was also issued a literary review that was promoting the Romanian writers and poets in Transylvania.

In the period following the 1st World War, Brasov became a strong economical center in Europe, but the town was partly destroyed during the 2nd World War. It was rebuilt and the historical buildings were restored. During the second half of the 20th century, the communist administration forcefully industrialized the city, bringing here workers from the rest of Romania, and determining population of German or Jewish origin to leave the city in droves.

History Calendar

1235
The first documentary attestation of Brasov under the name Corona

1241
The Tartars invaders destroyed the town

1344
The next Tartar invasion

1353
The founding license of the town of Brasov, the oldest document kept by Brasov’s Archives

l385
The first works for the erection of the Roman – Catholic parish church – nowadays the Black Church – finished in 1477

1398
The first documentary mention of a school in Brasov

1399
The first documentary mention of a Romanian church in Brasov

1400
The first Turkish invasion in the Barsa County

1417
St. Bartholomew’s Church first mentioned by a document (although built since the 13th century)

1421
The Turkish invasion in the Barsa County. Brasov was partially destroyed and the town’s counselors were taken hostages.

1432
A new Turkish invasion in the Barsa County: the town was declared in a state of siege, but it wasn’t conquered.

1448 – 1453
The Brasovia Citadel was pulled down from the Tampa mountain by the order of the governor Ioan de Hunedoara.

1464
The first documentary attestation of the Black Street and of the Black Street’s Gate.

1473
Strong earthquake in Brasov and Transylvania

1493
The first documentary attestation of a doctor in Brasov Dr. Petrus.

1502
The first documentary attestation of the school by the side of Saint Bartholomew’s Church.

1512
The first documentary attestation of Brasov’s chemist’s shop

1512- 1515
Saint Nicholas Church was built in stone

1525
A driving rain produced a flood in Brasov: the enclosure walls on the Western side crumbled down

1542
The first theatrical performance

1543
It was written the “Constitution of Brasov’s school”, the first and oldest Romanian school statute

1553-1554
The building of the Citadel located on “Cetatuia” hill

1553
The black plague causes the death of almost 4,000 people in Brasov

1558
The first documentary attestation of the Hungarian School in Brasov

1559
Caterina’s Gate was built

1625-1630
The building of the exteriors walls of Brasov’s citadel

1628
The archbishop Vasile wrote the first chronicle with a Romanian topic

1639-1641
The Goldsmiths’s bastion was built (the last of Brasov’s protective walls)

1678
The Tartars invasion in Barsa County. Michael Hermann, the mayor of the town, succeeds in putting out the fire

1689 April, 21
The biggest fire Brasov had ever seen. The fire destroyed most of the town and killed almost 3,000 people. It was the greatest calamity over the entire history of Brasov. The parish church burnt and blackened with smoke is called “The Black Church”

1785
The Black Street’s Gate was opened (it had been demolished in 1873)

1804
The Citadel’s streets were illuminated by oil

1819-1820
The building of Horses Fair’s Gate (demolished in 1873).

1827 -1828
The Schei Gate was erected

1836 – 1838
The new gate of the Customs Street was erected

1838
The first publication of “Transylvanian Gazette” and the “Paper for Mind, Heart and Literature” was edited by George Baritiu

1848
George Ucenescu adjusted the melody of “Desteapta-te romane” to the verses of the poet Andrei Muresianu. Nowadays it is the Romanian anthem.

1854
Telegraphy was brought in Brasov

1858
The first oil distillery was built in Brasov

1861
The founding of Brasov’s “Astra” cultural organization

1873, March, 30
The opening of the railway station in Brasov

1879, June, 10
The opening of Brasov-Predeal railroad

1889
The opening of a telephone exchange with 22 telephone sets

1891
The opening of the steam tram in Brasov, from the Horses Fair to Bartholomew district

1907-1914
The printing of the cultural magazine “Die Charpathen” (The Carpathians) edited by Adolf Meschendorfer

1910, August, 29
The Romanian army entered Brasov; Dr. Gheorghe Baiulescu was the first Romanian mayor appointed in Brasov

1916, October 7,8
The German and Austro-Hungarian troops conquered back the town

1918, Nov 9 – Dec 30
The publication of the “Voice of Transylvania”, the paper of the Union

1918, December, 7
The Romanian troops entered Brasov, after Transylvania’s union with Romania on the last of December 1915.

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