Brasov, Piata Sfatului © Constantin Barbu
Nestled at the foot of Mount Tâmpa, is the charming medieval town of Brasov, one of the seven fortified towns settled by the Saxons, with a distinct Germanic flavour to its history and culture. 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 where the legendary Pied Piper led the children of Hamlin.
Lining the square are the red-roofed merchant's houses, now occupied by cafes and shops surrounding the 15th-century Old Town Hall, 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 represents the quintessential East European church, 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.