Don’t you just love when you can find yourself surrounded by a breath-taking landscape to your right and an architectural treasure to your left? I know that I do. Not far from the city of Brașov, the Hollywood of Eastern Europe and in the center of Romania, a fantastic Fagăraș Fortress, located in the city with the same name, awaits to be discovered. It is a place where nature, architecture, and history are perfectly intertwined.
There are a few forts in Romania that were never conquered, and Făgăraș Fortress is one of them. The story of this architectural gem begins in 1310 when the first stone for the new stronghold was placed in a strategic location on the southern Transylvanian border. Făgăraș Fortress was built in order to prevent the invaders like the Turks and Tatars from entering Transylvania. Another important moment was in the 16th century when the fort was transformed into a fortress city, and among other changes, the defense walls were doubled in thickness. During the reign of Mihai Viteazu (Michael the Brave), the stronghold became the capital of the Transylvanian regions.
Făgăraș Fortress has an irregular quadrangle form, received in the 17th century. It was in the same century that this marvelous defensive city came into possession of the Habsburgs and was transformed into a prison. Later on, in the Communist era, the fortification was also used as a political prison until 1960. The story of this amazing place had another turn, and after a diverse restoration process, it became what it is today: the Valer Literat Museum of the Land of Făgăraș. The fort also hosts the municipal library.
The fort gathers a series of rooms, towers, and halls under its roof, such as the Throne Hall and the Council Hall. A series of artifacts, like the Black Tower Religious Art Collection, the Red Tower Arms Collection and the Urban Furniture Collection of the Pestriț Tower, are housed here, and I am sure one can be fascinated by the great treasures hidden inside. My favorite hall is the Throne Hall. It was built in the 16th century, in a Renaissance Style, and it was the home of princes and rulers. It assembles 67 wooden armchairs, six mirrors with wooden frames, medieval armory and a marvelous throne with the heraldic sign of the Făgăraș area.
Not only is the fort surrounded by a defensive ditch filled with water, but it is also located near the base of the Fagăraș Mountains, where one can explore the highest peak in Romania - Moldoveanu Peak. Either you choose to go for a hike before visiting the fortress or after, this combo is surely one you will remember.
The fantastic Făgăraș Fortress was named "one of the largest and best preserved feudal fortresses in Eastern Europe" by Huffington Post, and if you haven’t visited it yet, you should definitely add this architectural gem to your to-do list.
Cover picture © Credit to: iStock/porojnicu
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