Brasov, Piata Sfatului © Constantin Barbu
Nestled at the foot of Mount Tâmpa, Brasov is a charming medieval town, and along with Sighisoara is one of the seven fortified towns settled by the Saxons, with a distinct Germanic flavour to its architecture. The Saxons built massive stone walls and seven bastions around the city that are still visible today, as well as ornate churches, elaborately trimmed buildings and a fine central square that is said to be the spot from where the legendary Pied Piper was to have led the children of Hamlin.
Lining the square are the red-roofed merchant's houses, now occupied by cafes and shops, and in the centre is the 15th-century Old Town Hall that is home to the History Museum. The town's landmark is the impressive Gothic structure known as the Black Church, so named because a fire blackened its outer walls in 1689. The interior is beautiful, with balconies, stained glass windows, an enormous organ, stone columns and walls adorned with fabulous Turkish carpets. Many people use Brasov as a base for visiting the nearby attractions of Dracula's Castle at Bran, as well as Râsnov Castle and the ski resorts of Sinaia and Poiana Brasov.