The historic center of Brasov can be visited within a day. An area many travelers forget to explore is the Prund-Schei district, a place with pointy churches, cobblestone streets and many escapes into nature. Schei is a place of bravery; Romanian by heart. And today I’m taking you there.
Kids playing on the streets together, hopping on the curb just in time to escape a city bus, passing by from time to time. A dog frying on the asphalt in front of one of the typical Schei houses. An old lady picks out her ice cream, trading it for 1 Leu she securely holds in her hand. There’s no way to imagine these people’s ancestors were trapped here a few ages ago.
During the time Transylvania was dominated by Hungarians and Germans, it were these Romanians that were not allowed to live in the orderly streets of the historic town center. And so they built their houses south of the gates of the fortress, creating the Schei district. In a beautiful valley where green gardens become rolling hills and where Russian soldiers get the trots from only thinking about entering this little piece of paradise. However, that happened much, much later.
The citizens of Schei, Romanians or Bulgarians becoming Romanian, could only enter Brasov through the Catherine’s gate, where they had to pay a toll when they wanted to sell their produce in the city. They were not allowed to use the other four entrances. They had to keep where they were, building a neighborhood Brasov can be proud of today.
Up to here, communism
From here on, the Schei
When communism hit, the Romanian inhabitants of the Schei district refused to take part in the celebrations. They resented the communists and barricaded the valley. At the barricade they put up a sign saying: ‘Up to here, communism. From here on, the Schei.’ The Russian soldiers didn’t think twice as they were afraid of the Schei people and so they never set foot in this suburb with its brave people.
Today the Schei district still exists as if time never went by. There are some hotels, yet the deeper you get into the valley, the more your surroundings remind you of the old days. Some of the houses still have the same original wooden doors, made hundreds of years ago. Cute little houses with green fields. A place where traditional skills are still worth something. Life seems different from the rest of Brasov, which residential areas mostly involve flats and square apartment buildings. In winter life here is slow paced. The area is covered deep in snow, which is removed just enough to go to church, shop or get to school.
What to do in the Schei district
Although I would advise just to get lost, there are some churches you can visit in this area. One of them is the Saint Nicholas church, which houses an incredible amount of painted icons. The first Romanian school is located right next to the church.
And when you do wander around this typical neighborhood, don’t forget to walk as far south as you can. When civilization stops, a gravel road to the amazing Solomon rocks begins. This forested area is home to some refreshing creeks and is perfect for late barbeques and soaking up nature. The Romanians of Schei proudly use this piece of nature on weekends or whenever they get the chance. Wouldn’t you?
The Schei area is one of the most beautiful neighborhoods of Brasov, but there’s more! If you’re curious about the secrets and insights of this beautiful city, read this post to learn more!
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