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Rasnov Fortress: Top Things to Know about this Medieval Gem in Romania

Situated near Brasov, atop a rocky hill, the enchanting Rasnov Fortress is one of the most visited medieval attractions in Romania.

Many tourists come here to discover the fortification’s tumultuous history which dates back to the thirteenth century and includes sieges, heroic confrontations, and medieval battles.

Also, the stocky-walled fortress is surrounded by a magnificent landscape – providing breathtaking views all around.

To learn more about the citadel and the many other reasons for which to include this beautiful attraction in your travel itinerary, keep on reading.

Rasnov Fortress: A Place Where Legend Meets History

The medieval fortification is thought to be built by Teutonic Knights with the purpose of defending the Transylvanian villages from Tatar and Turkish invasions.

Now a popular attraction, the citadel was then used to provide much-needed shelter. It was often the locals’ only hope to survive the invaders’ attacks which were known to destroy entire cities and villages.

Over the years, the inhabitants of the fortress used stones and bricks to fortify the walls and woods to make the gates and platforms inside the fortress, where they built a school and a chapel as well. The ruins of these establishments still stand today.

History aside, the fortress’ troubled past has inspired several myths, including the famous legend of the well.

According to the legend, the inhabitants of the citadel once captured two Turkish prisoners. Because of the lack of a source of water inside, they made the captives dig a well in the middle of the fortress in exchange for their freedom.

According to the myth, it took the prisoners no less than 17 years to finish the task.  In their efforts to gain freedom, the captives also wrote verses from the Quran on the walls of the well.

Legend says the quotes can still be seen today.

As far as the faith of the prisoners goes, some recounts say that they were released, while others depict a grim end for the two.

The well stopped being functional in 1850 due to a wheel in the well’s windlass breaking. Still, many of the elders from Rasnov believe that someone used the well as a hiding place for a precious treasure which remained deep in the well for hundreds of years.

What’s the Medieval Citadel like Today?

The fortification was built and rebuilt between the 14th and 17th centuries, as it passed between Hungarian and Saxon occupation. After the 18th century, the citadel no longer served any military or defense purposes.

However, the now restored Rasnov Fortress has kept his medieval charm, and visitors can stroll through the dramatic ruins and explore:

  • Different craft stalls where they can see metal craftsmen and artisans at work
  • The feudal art museum which gathers pieces and weapons from the inhabitants’ past, as well as tools, armors, and stamps
  • All the citadel’s knocks and corners which serve as testimonies of human defiance, sacrifice, and past glory
  • Lovely little gift shops packed with medieval-themed souvenirs

Also, if you’re passionate about photography, you’ll be happy to know you’ll find amazing opportunities for immortalizing the landscape.

Thanks to the citadel’s location, you will be able to climb up to the fortress’s highest point and be rewarded with breathtaking views of rolling hills.

Open Hours:

  • April – October:  every day, 9:00 AM – 7:00 PM
  • November – March:  every day, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Pair Rasnov Fortress with Other Top Nearby Attractions

The imposing fortress is located in the close vicinity of other amazing Romanian attractions. So, if you decide to come here, you’ll be able to make the most out of your time and check multiple historical markers off your travel list.

See our Transylvanian Tours from Bucharest.

As part of our Two Castles in one day tour, you will be able to combine a visit to the fortress with Bran Castle (Dracula’s Castle)

The offer is available on Mondays and Tuesdays during the winter seasons when the Peles Castle (typically included in the tour) is closed.

During summer, we offer visits to the Rasnov Fortress on Mondays (when Peles Castle is closed) as part of the same tour. This way, regardless of your travel dates, you will be able to make the most out of your time here.

Feel free to contact us for any additional information.