Visit the Citadel of Rasnov in Romania
During my trip through Romania I had the opportunity to visit the Citadel of Rasnov, one of the most prominent tourist places in Transylvania. Halfway between Brasov and Bran, this medieval fortress is perhaps not as popular as the neighboring “Dracula’s Castle”, but it is certainly worth a stop to get to know it. Do you wanna know more?
Brief history of Rasnov
Râșnov is a small town in Brașov County (Transylvania) known for its medieval citadel. It is believed that the original fortress was built by the Knights of the Teutonic Order by 1225, although the first documented reference is from 1335 and is related to Tartar invasions. Due to its strategic location, on the pass between Valaquia and the heart of Transylvania, it was besieged numerous times, but was only conquered in 1612.
The weak point of the fortress was the lack of water and the enemy discovered the secret route by which the defenders managed to supply themselves, but that error was remedied with the construction in 1642 of a great well that can still be seen today. Thereafter, the citadel resisted the Ottoman siege in 1690, a fire in 1718, an earthquake in 1802 and a final site in 1848, after which it would be definitively abandoned. The communist government recovered it from the ruins in the middle of the 20th century and today its use is exclusively touristic.
Visit to Rasnov’s fortress
Rasnov is located about 20 km southwest of Brasov and your visit can easily be made on the road to Bran, where the so-called “Dracula’s Castle” is located. First we will give you four strokes on what can be seen in Rasnov so you know what to expect from this place. The first thing that attracts attention is its silhouette on a small promontory about 150m high.
From the city of Rasnov (west of the fortress) you can climb by funicular, although perhaps the most convenient entrance is the one on the east side, where there is a large free parking from which you can access the castle on foot. As for the interior of the fortress, it is composed of two walled enclosures. The first one is practically empty and is presided over to the east by the Torre de los Arqueros, which you can climb. Activities such as archery, etc. are usually offered in this area.
The second enclosure is the one of most interest, since there are the buildings that once served as houses, craft workshops, etc. Arriving from the east, a barbican is crossed first and passed under the Tower of Arms. This first part of the small enclosure is preserved in a dilapidated state, but it offers good views and a piece of wall can be explored. Surrounding the large rock that crowns this area of the fortress you will finally reach the most picturesque area of the Rasnov Citadel, where numerous stone houses with red-tiled roof are crowded that once served to protect the villagers. Today they are mainly used to house souvenir or craft stores. The remains of what used to be the school and a chapel are also preserved, in addition to the famous well of 1642, to which different legends are attributed.
At the west end (where the funicular arrives) you can see another barbican that served as the main entrance. The fortress of Rasnov is not especially great, but if you dedicate yourself to explore all its corners, look for the different viewpoints that its towers, walls and some houses, etc. offer, you can easily invest 1h 30′ in it. Anyway, an hour of visit it might be enough.