One of my favorite holiday activities is to visit historical monuments that are well-preserved and give me the feeling of what it was like to live hundreds of years ago. The Râșnov Citadel is one of those places where people can experience what was it like to be a knight in medieval times. It is one of the best preserved defensive structures from Romania mainly because of its location, on top of a huge hillside near the city of Brașov and surrounded by thick forests booming with wildlife.
The Râșnov Citadel is actually a medieval fortress built at the beginning of the 13th century by the Teutonic Knights, but there are the traces of structures that date from the prehistoric and Dacian period. The defenses evolved with the times as there where many invasions, so the people retreated into the citadel on top of the hill, and they could stay there for the extended periods of time.
The first incursion was during the Tatar invasion in the 14th century, where Râșnov and Brașov where the only cities that couldn’t be conquered. In 1600, the Turks defeated Mihai Viteazul (Michael the Brave), the ruler of Wallachia and Moldavia, but he retreated to the Râșnov Citadel because he knew they couldn’t conquer it. The only time this city was conquered was in 1612, by Gabriel Bathory the ruler of Transylvania, and this event only took place because he stopped the fresh water supply. A fire and an earthquake destroyed the parts of the citadel in the 18th century.
There are almost always a few legends behind every citadel and Râșnov is no exception. The 17th century was the time of the Turkish invasions, and the defense became more and more important. This is why large quantities of grain, gunpowder and weapons started being stored here. But there was another problem - the water. In order to ensure the survival during a siege, a huge well was built. Its construction took over 17 years, ending in 1640. The legend has it that the fountain was constructed by two Turkish prisoners, with the promise of being released after the well was built. But the promise wasn’t kept, and the two prisoners were thrown into the well. The prisoners managed to escape by digging a way out, and this is how the famous tunnel that led to the hill was excavated.
If you are passionate about medieval activities, there are a few to be done here. If you are eager to enjoy a walk in order to reach the citadel, a breath-taking landscape awaits you. But if you want to get to the citadel faster or are in a rush, you can opt for the panoramic elevator with a route 165 meters long and a one-and-a-half-minute ride. Being a true medieval enthusiast, you may try the archery or riding a horse, I think the landscape is just perfect for that. Paintball games, bungee jumping or a helicopter tour, are other activities one can enjoy here daily.
There is no doubt that one can enjoy being a knight at the Râșnov Citadel. The surroundings are also worth visiting, near the Râșnov Citadel are the famous Dino Park Râșnov, the Peleș Castel and the Bran Castel, where one can detect Dracula.
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