We arrived in Braşov just in time for their “Days of Braşov” festival, which includes traditional music and dancing in the square, street vendors with wine and other foods, and a big event where horse riders come from surrounding villages and parade through town on their horses. Like the official looking banners say, Braşov is “Probably the best City in the World.” While we’re not going to argue about this designation since they have prefaced their argument with ‘probably’, we certainly enjoyed our time here.
Braşov is an interesting town in that the historical core of the city was built by Saxon’s (German colonists) in the 12th century and surrounded by a defensive wall. The various guilds within the Saxon settlement built guard towers around the perimeter wall, where they were responsible for defenses. This medieval core has some of the most interesting buildings and is a vibrant pedestrian friendly center. Braşov is also called Kronstadt, meaning something like ‘crown city’ in German, which is the symbol for the city.
The Days of Braşov festival included the impressive horses with riders in traditional garb tramping through the city, sometimes sending the onlookers scurrying when they got too excited. We had a good spot along a roadway and had a doorway to cower in when the massive horses got within trampling or kicking distance. We meet a fellow Californian, Peter, and sampled Romanian wines and watched some folk dancing.
Peter had been in Romania longer than we had and took us to a restaurant to introduce us to some tasty traditional Romanian food. Sarmalute Mămăligă translates into something like ‘forced pork meat in cabbage rolls’. I’m not sure exactly what ‘forced meat’ is, but the dish is very good. It consists of seasoned ground pork that is wrapped in cabbage leaves and cooked, and then served with polenta and a spicy, fresh pepper as a topping. Served with some great bread, butter and some more cooked pork pieces, it is delicious!
To work off all the pork, butter and wine we had indulged in, the next day we climbed a hill overlooking town with some great views of the valley below and mountains behind.
***click to enlarge photos below***