Brasov is often referred to as “the city at the foot of Mount Tampa”. Tampa is the natural landmark of Brasov and it can be seen from every corner of the city. It is 900m above see level high and it has a large TV transmitter antenna on top. It is actually in the middle of Brasov, making a clear division between the old medieval part of the city and the new one, made up of concrete blocks of flats.
You can have the best view of Brasov from the top of Mount Tampa. You can reach it by cable car (called Telecabina) or walking up one of the few paths twisting up the hill. Walking to the top takes about an hour (red triangles) from the cable car station or yellow triangles from Brediceanu Alley. The hiking trail is low difficulty level nonetheless, but it is recommended in snowless seasons only. Or, if you chose to take the cable car, from the upper station walk five minutes along the path to the rocky outcrop (the top, 955m high) for the best views of the old town. You’ll clearly be able to make out the different parts of Brasov: the German part of town has hundreds of red roofs crammed between straight streets surrounding Piata Sfatului, while the Romanian Schei district to the south is a spaghetti of small streets, jumbled houses and cemeteries, petering out towards the hills. On the plain are the later additions to Brasov: the 18th and 19th century expansions and of course the flats and huge factories from the last 50 years.
The top of Tampa also provides a stunning view of the surrounding mountains. From here, it’s very tempting to walk across the crests of the hills to Poiana Brasov and Postavaru (1799m). There are marked trails if you decide to do so.
Brasov’s original defense fortress was built on this mount but, when Vlad Tepes (the Impaler) attacked Brasov in 1459-1460, the citadel was dismantled, and 40 merchants were impaled on top of Mount Tampa. In the 1950’s, when Brasov was named Orasul Stalin (Stalin City), trees were chopped down so that the name of the great dictator appeared on the hillside facing the old town. Nature has recovered from the shock, and the hillside is now a nature reservation, hosting protected species of plants like the motley tulip and large yellow lady’s-slipper.
In 1896 a column with an archer on top was erected on Mount Tampa. It was known as Arpad’s statue, (the leader of the Hungarian tribes to Pannonia and founder of the future Hungarian kingdom), though the archer was, in fact, Tuhutum (Teteny), one of Arpad’s commanders. In 1916 the statue was destroyed by unidentified people. You can still see on the top of the hill the former socle of the statue. The head of the archer is in the Parish House of the Reformed Church in Brasov.
To get to the cable car you can hike through the old section of the city. Leave Piata Sfatului on Strada Apollonia Hirscher. Stroll along to the end of the road, taking a left on Strada Castelului. The next right is Strada Romer. Follow this until it ends and climb the stairs to the cable car. Just below the entrance are remains of the old city wall, which is being renovated lately.
At the foot of Tampa, along the SE side of the old fortress walls is a very romantic alley. Shaded by old trees, dotted with many benches it is one of the favorite strolling spots for Brasovians. You can ride your bicycle , or use your roller blades, as well. There are a few tennis and basketball grounds here, too. Kids can play on the playground.