Travel story about Transylvania, Romania (Viscri + Brasov)
A travel story by Miruna Ilie
Can you imagine finding eternity and having the chance to experience it truly? But do you really know where to even look for it?
As a famous Romanian poet once said: “Eternity was born in the village,” which might be precisely the hint you were looking for.
Therefore, let me take you on your journey of eternity discovery. Every village has its beauty and eternal value, but Viscri is seen as beyond these attributes. Do you know why? It’s because the community involvement, local products, and local attractions are as authentic and traditional as possible.
What stands out in Viscri, besides its freshly painted traditional Saxon houses, its stunning nature, and its well-preserved rural value, is the fortified evangelic church which is part of the UNESCO World Heritage. It is incredible to discover how the church represents the clearest example of the essence of the fortified churches and, at the same time, displays its eternal value since 1400.
In addition, what strikes you, is the remarkable illustration of authentic items of clothing, rituals, traditions, which genuinely demonstrates the lifestyle of the villagers. This aspect has the power to engage you in unique time travel and give you a whole, authentic experience. Despite its value, some challenges might damage this fortified church, such as the destruction of the church itself, especially the chapel, which is 600 years old, but also too many tourists visiting the church at once. These challenges might bring some concerns to the community, which depends on the fortified church since it is the main attraction in Viscri.
Now let me tell you something even more eternal and authentic about Viscri. It is all about the traditional barn. Can you imagine having a fabulous folkloric Transylvanian feast in a wooden barn where you can admire the eco-friendly design but at the same time feeling the smell of slow-cooked food in your nose?
Well, Viscri is the place where this is not only imagination but reality. As a small community, most houses with a barn decided to take it all to the next level and transform their well-valued barns into unique traditional, small-scale restaurants, where every dish is produced locally from ingredients collected from farmers and prepared with kindness, care, and love.
What may be truly unique is how the barn, which was once used for animals, has been so valued and preserved that so many generations recognized its authentic character and used it to create what can be called the most real traditional experience. Besides this, the local community truly benefits; every employee is from Viscri, wise, skillful, involved locals prepare every home-baked bread in their small garden ovens, and all the used ingredients can be admired in the garden behind the barn. Everything is just as natural and authentic as possible. But everyone knows nothing in the world can be perfect, and unfortunately, Viscri cannot be perfect either. One problem that may be dangerous for the village is that they rely entirely on agriculture for their products, so due to climate change, this might cause some troubles. However, together with their traditions and authenticity, the local community is the glue that holds everything together, and this is something that cannot so quickly disappear or be forgotten.
So let me now tell you the correct answer to the question that was being asked in the beginning: Eternity can be found where authenticity and real value are present, and Viscri is the best example in this regard. By revealing to you about this magical place, I hope you will be able to experience and discover this eternity with your own eyes in this rare traditional village called Viscri.
Apart from this wonderful village and community in Viscri, lies in the heart of Transylvania, the mountain city Brasov. As a Romanian author once claimed: “Romania cannot be whole without Transylvania”. So that is the reason why Brasov had to be the second travel destination.
Surrounded by mountains, nature, and the impressive mount Tampa, Brasov is not only considered one of the most visited places in Romania but it has also been awarded the best region to visit in 2016 by Lonely Planet. Called the “The City of the Crown” Brasov has been under German colonist’s occupation hundreds of years ago, which had an impact on the architectural flavor of the city, the architecture being mostly gothic and baroque.
The Council Square, previously being a commercial area is the heart of the city, where you can discover the most traditional restaurants, shops, and cafes, where welcoming employees are more than happy to serve you. The square has the power to portrait the spirit of the city, where mount Tampa can be admired every season of the year since nature knows how to dress up the city in the most beautiful features.
The most emblematic attraction in Brasov and the most recognizable in Romania is the Black Church which started to be built in the fourteen century and has been only finished after 100 years. The fascinating aspect about this particular church is its organ which is the largest one in southeastern Europe.
While reading this you are probably wondering where its name comes from. Well, it is due to a massive fire that burned a large portion of the city including the Black Church in the 17th century. So, since the walls are made out of sandstone, these stones have been darkened by the fire and it has been kept like that so this particular event will be remembered forever.
Have you also wondered what more has Brasov to offer? Well, in Brasov you can find one of the narrowest streets in Europe called Rope Street. An interesting and rather unknown fact about this street is that it was designed to be a corridor for the firemen to get on the other side.
Above that Brasov has been surrounded by walls back in medieval times, but luckily these old walls fortifications have been kept, so on both sides of the old city, two long walls can be admired. On the opposite side of mount Tampa two towers can be discovered, the White Tower and the Black Tower, where the city views can be fully admired.
As a last mention-worthy attraction in Brasov is Poiana Brasov, the most important mountain resort in Romania, located at an altitude of 1,030 m at the foot of Mount Postavarul (1.799 m). It not only includes the most modern and densest mountain accommodation facilities, but it is also the largest ski area in the country. The resort is not only suitable for the winter season but also for the summer season thanks to the mountain climate and to the existence of a variety of hiking trails and leisure activities.
All in all, both Viscri and Brasov portrait the undeniable beauty of traditional Romania, where the atmosphere, the people, the food, the architecture, and the landscape contribute to a once-in-a-lifetime experience everyone should have.