Brasov has gained the name of “Fortress of the Seven Bastions” due to the walls and bastions which are spread throughout the city and which have been erected between the 14th and 15th century in response to the Turkish and Tatar invasions.
Unfortunately, the passage of time and the battles that took place in this region had left an imprint on the fortified city in as much that at present only about half of the original fortifications (walls, gates and bastions) are preserved. But taking into account that remnants of the past are scarce, we would accurately conclude that Brasov has an important legacy whose value is not easily equated.
The stronghold has maintained its design since the middle of the 16th century and this can actually be seen on the model found in the Weavers’ Bastion. Brasov had 32 towers, 7 bastions (which are much stronger and better armed fortifications), and 3 entrance gates: one situated at the end of Republic Street (the name given today to the specific street), one located at the bottom end of Muresenilor Street (Customs Gate) and Ecaterina (Catherine) Gate which is a link to the Schei neighborhood.
In terms of measurements, the original walls reached a total length of 3.000 m, a 12 m height and a 1.70 -2.20 m width. The bastions were situated at every 110 m and 28 defense towers shaped as squares were meant to secure protection for them.
The White Tower is strategically situated at a higher position and it is a part of the exterior fortification of Brasov. This tower had been constructed in the second half of the 15th century and it initially communicated with the Graft Bastion which provided a link to the internal fortifications. In 1689, the White Tower was exposed to terrible damages due to a huge fire that took hold of the edifice. The tower was left in ruin until 1723 when it was finally subjected to restoration works. The tower is in a great condition at present (the last restoration work occurred in 2005), so tourists will have something to gaze upon.
The Black Tower dates from the time the fortified city was ‘born’, being constructed concomitantly with the walls of the keep. The tower exceeds 11 m in height and the entrance door was situated 2 m above the base of the edifice. The name of the tower is explained through an unfortunate weather phenomenon which occurred twice: the tower was hit by lightning both in the 16th and in the 17th century.
At the end of the 18th century (1796) the tower was used as shelter during the plague, and afterwards it had been left to chance for a period of two centuries, time in which it had suffered immense deterioration. But after it had been restored, from 2001 onward, the Black Tower housed an armament exhibition (with pieces from the 17th century).
The Graft Bastion was erected in the mid-16th century with the purpose of defending the northern part of Brasov. At present, the bastion is home to a section of the county museum: ‘The Craftsmen of Brasov – defenders of the keep.’ During the last restoration work which occurred between 2003 and 2004, the path towards the White Tower had been retraced by means of steps that go up the Warthe Hill.
The Weavers’ Bastion has been erected in the 15th century, over a period of 15 years (1421-1436).
Due to the fact that it is located right under Tampa Mountain, in such a beautiful natural setting, the bastion is used at present for various cultural events. Inside the bastion one can find the Fortification Museum from Barsa County where the model of the city (which was mentioned previously) is located, together with medieval weapons and valuable information about the fortifications situated throughout Barsa County.
According to documentary evidence, the bastion was completed in 1668 for the same purpose as the others: defense. Whereas the scope of the bastion had shifted throughout time, from 1973 onward it was used for a single thing – to maintain all the records of the city of Brasov.
The Drapers’ Bastion was actually built by the goldsmiths, in mid-15th century, but it was given to the drapers a century later when the goldsmiths erect another bastion on the northern part of the keep. This fortification has an elliptical shape and reaches a 20 m height, while the thickness of the walls measure 2 m.
The Goldsmiths’ Bastion was hexagonally shaped and exceeded the Drapers’ Bastion in height by two meters. But the bastion is no longer part of the fortifications found today in Brasov as it was demolished near the end of the 19th century (1886). At present, on that specific site one can find one of the edifices of the Transylvanian University.
The Furriers’ Bastion, which was erected in 1452, is a semicircular tower which communicates with the Drapers’ Bastion by means of a gallery located alongside the exterior wall.
The Rope-Makers’ Bastion, the first one to be mentioned in documents, in 1416, is a hexagonal fortification with special embrasures for firing mobile weapons.