Location in Bra?ov County
|o Mayor (2020–2024)||Allen Coliban (USR PLUS)|
|o City||267.32 km2 (103.21 sq mi)|
|o Metro||1,368.5 km2 (528.4 sq mi)|
|Elevation||538 m (1,765 ft)|
| o Estimate |
|Population by ethnicity|
| o Germans |
|Time zone||UTC+2 (EET)|
|o Summer (DST)||UTC+3 (EEST)|
|Area code(s)||(+40) 268|
Bra?ov (, , Romanian: [bra'?ov] ; Latin: Corona; German: Kronstadt; Transylvanian Saxon: Kruhnen; Hungarian: Brassó) is a city in Transylvania, Romania and the administrative centre of Bra?ov County.
Bra?ov is located in the central part of the country, about 166 km (103 mi) north of Bucharest and 380 km (236 mi) from the Black Sea. It is surrounded by the Southern Carpathians and is part of the historical region of Transylvania.
The city is notable for being the regional capital of the Transylvanian Saxons of the Burzenland (Romanian: ?ara Bârsei) administrative area in the past, and a large commercial hub on the trade roads between East and West. It is also the birthplace of the national anthem of Romania.
According to Balázs Orbán, the name Corona - a Latin word meaning "crown" - is first mentioned in the Catalogus Ninivensis in 1235 AD, stating a monastic quarter existed in the territory of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Cumania (In Hungaria assignata est paternitas Dyocesis Cumanie: Corona). Pál Binder supposed it is a reference to the St. Catherine's Monastery. Others suggest the name derives from the old coat of arms of the city, as it is symbolized by the German name Kronstadt meaning "Crown City". The two names of the city, Kronstadt and Corona, were used simultaneously in the Middle Ages, along with the Medieval Latin Brassovia.
According to Drago? Moldovanu, the name of Bra?ov came from the name of local river named Bârsa (also pronounced as "B?rsa") that was adopted by Slavs and transformed to Barsa, and later to Barsov, finally to Brasov. According to Pál Binder, the current Romanian and the Hungarian name Brassó (['bro:]) are derived from the Turkic word barasu, meaning "white water" with a Slavic suffix -ov. Other linguists proposed various etymologies including an Old Slavic anthroponym Brasa. The first attested mention of this name is Terra Saxonum de Barasu ("Saxon Land of Baras") in a 1252 document issued by Béla IV of Hungary. According to some historians, Corona was name of the city-fortress while Brassó was referring to the county, while others consider both names may refer to the city and the county as well.
Another historical name used for Bra?ov is Stephanopolis, 'from "Stephanos", crown, and "polis", city.
From 1950 to 1960, during part of the Communist period in Romania, the city was called Ora?ul Stalin (Stalin City), lit. "Stalin City", after the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, and was the capital of Stalin Region. The name change occurred on 22 August 1950, when Constantin Ion Parhon, the nominal Head of State at the time, issued a decree whereby Bra?ov was renamed "in honor of the great genius of working humanity, the leader of the Soviet people, the liberator and beloved friend of our people, Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin".
The oldest traces of human activity and settlements in Bra?ov date back to the Neolithic age (about 9500 BCE). Archaeologists working from the last half of the 19th century discovered continuous traces of human settlements in areas situated in Bra?ov: Valea Cetii, Pietrele lui Solomon, ?prenghi, Tâmpa, Dealul Melcilor, and Noua. The first three locations show traces of Dacian citadels; ?prenghi Hill housed a Roman-style construction. The last two locations had their names applied to Bronze Age cultures -- Schneckenberg ("Hill of the Snails"; Early Bronze Age) and Noua ("The New"; Late Bronze Age).
Transylvanian Saxons played a decisive role in Bra?ov's development and were invited by Hungarian kings to develop towns, build mines, and cultivate the land of Transylvania at different stages between 1141 and 1300. The settlers came primarily from the Rhineland, Flanders, and the Moselle region, with others from Thuringia, Bavaria, Wallonia, and even France.
In 1211, by order of King Andrew II of Hungary, the Teutonic Knights fortified the Burzenland to defend the border of the Kingdom of Hungary. On the site of the village of Bra?ov, the Teutonic Knights built Kronstadt - 'the City of the Crown'. Although the crusaders were evicted by 1225, the colonists they brought in long ago remained, along with local population in three distinct settlements they founded on the site of Bra?ov:
Germans living in Bra?ov were mainly involved in trade and crafts. The location of the city at the intersection of trade routes linking the Ottoman Empire and Western Europe, together with certain tax exemptions, allowed Saxon merchants to obtain considerable wealth and exert a strong political influence. They contributed a great deal to the architectural flavor of the city. Fortifications around the city were erected and continually expanded, with several towers maintained by different craftsmen's guilds, according to the medieval custom. Part of the fortification ensemble was recently restored using UNESCO funds, and other projects are ongoing. At least two entrances to the city, Poarta Ecaterinei (or Katharinentor) and Poarta ?chei (or Waisenhausgässertor), are still in existence. The city center is marked by the mayor's former office building (Casa Sfatului) and the surrounding square (pia?a), which includes one of the oldest buildings in Bra?ov, the Hirscher Haus. Nearby is the "Black Church" (Biserica Neagr?), which some claim to be the largest Gothic style church in Southeastern Europe.
In 1689, a great fire destroyed the walled city almost entirely, and its rebuilding lasted several decades.
Besides the German (Saxon) population living in the walled city and in the northern suburbs, Bra?ov had also a significant Romanian and Bulgarian population (living in the ?chei district), and also some Hungarian population (living in the Blum?na district). The cultural and religious importance of the Romanian church and school in ?chei is underlined by the generous donations received from more than thirty hospodars of Moldavia and Wallachia, as well as that from Elizabeth of Russia. In the 17th and 19th centuries, the Romanians in ?chei campaigned for national, political, and cultural rights, and were supported in their efforts by Romanians from all other provinces, as well as by the local Greek merchant community. In 1838, they established the first Romanian language newspaper Gazeta Transilvaniei and the first Romanian institutions of higher education: ?colile Centrale Greco-Ortodoxe ("The Greek-Orthodox Central Schools", today named after Andrei ?aguna). The Holy Roman Emperor and sovereign of Transylvania Joseph II awarded Romanians citizenship rights for a brief period during the latter decades of the 18th century.
In 1850, the town had 21,782 inhabitants: 8,874 (40.7%) Germans, 8,727 (40%) Romanians, 2,939 (13.4%) Hungarians. In 1910 there were 41,056 inhabitants: 10,841 (26.4%) Germans, 11,786 (28.7%) Romanians, 17,831 (43.4%) Hungarians.
On 29 August 1916, during the First World War, the Romanian Army occupied Bra?ov. Romanian troops entered the city at around five o'clock p.m. and paraded towards the city square. Romanian rule over the city lasted until early October, when the area was retaken by the Central Powers in the Battle of Brassó (7-9 October 1916). The Romanian mayor installed during the brief Romanian occupation was Gheorghe Baiulescu. His term lasted from 29 August, when the city was occupied by the Romanian Army, until 8 October - the height of the Battle of Bra?ov. On 9 October, at the end of the battle, the previous mayor (Karl Ernst Schnell) was reinstated.
Following the collapse of Austria-Hungary, the 1 December 1918 Proclamation of the Union of Alba Iulia, adopted by deputies of the Romanians from Transylvania, Banat, Cri?ana and Maramure? declared the union of Transylvania into the Romanian state. Bra?ov was permanently occupied by Romanian forces on 7 December, as Hungarians gradually withdrew northwards. The King and some Transylvanians suggested that - because of Bra?ov's central geographical location in the new Romania - it should be considered as the new national capital. Though this did not happen - the inter-war period was a time of flourishing economy and cultural life in general, including the Saxons in Bra?ov. However, at the end of World War II many ethnic Germans were forcibly deported to the Soviet Union. A majority of them emigrated to West Germany after Romania had become a communist country.
The first Jewish community in Bra?ov was established in 1828, joining the Neolog association in 1868. Orthodox Jews founded their religious organization in 1877. The Neolog synagogue, seating 800, was built between 1899 and 1905. During the interwar period, the communities had separate institutions, but opened a jointly managed school in 1940. Zionist organizations appeared already in 1920. By 1930, Jews numbered 2594 individuals, or 4% of the total population. In autumn 1940, during the National Legionary State, the antisemitic Iron Guard nationalized all Jewish institutions and seized most shops owned by Jews. In 1941, Jews were drafted for service in forced labor battalions. Those from throughout southern Transylvania were concentrated in Bra?ov; a further 200 refugees came from Ploie?ti. In August 1942, 850 Jews between the ages of 18 and 50 were drafted into labor battalions and ordered to work in Bra?ov, while others were sent to Predeal and Bran. In spring 1943, 250 youths were sent to Suraia camp to build fortifications. By August 1944, the labor battalions were reduced to 250-300 while most of the Jews managed to obtain their freedom. In 1945-1946, the Jewish population increased to 3500.
Like many other cities in Transylvania, Bra?ov is also home to a significant ethnic Hungarian minority.
During the communist period, industrial development was vastly accelerated. Under Nicolae Ceau?escu's rule, the city was the site of the 1987 Bra?ov strike. This was brutally repressed by the authorities and resulted in numerous workers being imprisoned.
Industrial development in Bra?ov started in the inter-war period, with one of the largest factories being the airplane manufacturing plant (IAR Bra?ov), which produced the first Romanian fighter planes used during World War II. After signing the armistice with USSR on September 12, 1944, the factory started repairing trucks, and in October 1945 it began manufacturing agricultural tractors. IAR 22 was the first Romanian-made wheeled tractor. In 1948 the company was renamed "Uzina Tractorul Bra?ov" known internationally as Universal Tractor Bra?ov. A big part of the factory was demolished during 2013 and 2014 giving way to buildings, shopping mall and recreation parks. Aircraft manufacturing resumed in 1968 at first under the name ICA and then under its old name of IAR at a new location in nearby Ghimbav.
Industrialization was accelerated in the Communist era, with special emphasis being placed on heavy industry, attracting many workers from other parts of the country. Heavy industry is still abundant, including Roman, which manufactures MAN AG trucks as well as native-designed trucks and coaches. Although the industrial base has been in decline in recent years, Bra?ov is still a site for manufacturing hydraulic transmissions, auto parts, ball-bearings, construction materials, hand tools, furniture, textiles and shoe-wear. There is also a large brewery.
|Climate data for Bra?ov|
|Average high °C (°F)||-0.3
|Daily mean °C (°F)||-4.3
|Average low °C (°F)||-8.3
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||31
Bra?ov has a total population of 253,200 (2011 census). Its ethnic composition includes:
|Historical population of Bra?ov|
Bra?ov is administered by a Mayor and a Local Council. The current Mayor of Bra?ov (starting October 28, 2020) is Allen Coliban from the Save Romania Union (Uniunea Salva?i România).
The Bra?ov Local Council, elected at the 2020 Romanian local elections, is made up of 27 counselors, with the following party composition:
|Party||Seats||Current Local Council|
|National Liberal Party (PNL)||11|
|Social Democratic Party (PSD)||4|
The Bra?ov local transport network has 44 urban bus and trolleybus lines and 10 metropolitan bus lines. There is also a regular bus line serving Poiana Bra?ov, a nearby winter resort and part of the city of Bra?ov. All are operated by RAT Bra?ov. Because of its central location, the Bra?ov railway station is one of the busiest stations in Romania with trains to/from most destinations in the country served by rail.
The Bra?ov-Ghimbav International Airport is an airport development project located in nearby Ghimbav, right by the future A3 motorway. It is the first airport to be developed in post-communist Romania, and the 17th commercial airport in the country. The contract for the construction of the main terminal building, with a total area of 11,780 m2 (126,799 sq ft), was awarded to the Romanian contractor Bog'Art Bucharest and was signed on 21 August 2019. Construction works for the passenger terminal started on 17 March 2020 and are expected to be completed by 1 March 2021. The first commercial flight could take place in June 2021.
With its central location, Bra?ov is a suitable location from which to explore Romania, and the distances to several tourist destinations (including the Black Sea resorts, the monasteries in northern Moldavia, and the wooden churches of Maramure?) are similar. It is also the largest city in a mountain resorts area. The old city is very well preserved and is best seen by taking the cable-car to the top of Tâmpa Mountain.
Temperatures from May to September fluctuate around 23 °C (73 °F). Bra?ov benefits from a winter tourism season centered on winter sports and other activities. Poiana Bra?ov is the most popular Romanian ski resort and an important tourist center preferred by many tourists from other European states.
The city also has several restaurants that serve local as well as international cuisine (e.g. Hungarian and Chinese). Some of these are situated in the city center.
Bran Castle, situated in the immediate vicinity of Bra?ov
White Tower with Mount Tâmpa in the background
City center seen from Mount Tâmpa
Bra?ov is twinned with:
The city has a long tradition in sports, the first sport associations being established at the end of the 19th century (Target shooting Association, Gymnastics School). The Transylvanian Sports Museum is among the oldest in the country and presents the evolution of consecrated sports in the city. During the communist period, universiades and Daciads were held, where local sportsmen were obliged to participate. Nowadays, the infrastructure of the city allows other sports to be practiced, such as football, rugby, tennis, cycling, handball, gliding, skiing, skating, mountain climbing, paintball, bowling, swimming, target shooting, basketball, martial arts, equestrian, volleyball or gymnastics. Annually, at "Olimpia" sports ground, the "Bra?ov Challenge Cup" tennis competition is held.
Between 17 and 22 February 2013, the city hosted the 2013 European Youth Winter Olympic Festival.
As of 2012, Bra?ov is hosting two trail semi-marathons: the Semimaraton Intersport Bra?ov (held in April) and the Bra?ov International Marathon (held in April or May).
In November 2013, Bra?ov submitted their bid for the 2020 Winter Youth Olympics. They were up against Lausanne, Switzerland to be awarded the event. In December that year, the city was signed the Youth Olympic Game Candidature Procedure. The host city was to be announced in July 2015, in which Lausanne was selected.
The city of Bra?ov is home to several local media publications such as Transilvania Express, Monitorul Express, Bun? Ziua Bra?ov or Bra?ovul T?u. Also, several local television stations exist, such as RTT, MIX TV and Nova TV.