Whether you’re visiting Transylvania for the first time or when you’ve become a true fan (like me), there’s one thing we can all agree on: there is way too much to see and do in the mountainous region of Romania! Chances are you will overlook most of it, because of other, more famous, sights. That’s why today I’m talking about a less famous attraction: the Fagaras fortress.
The fortress is built in 1310 on the site of a former (wooden) fortress, that was burned by the Tartars in 1241. During the 16th and 17th century the fortress was enlarged and strengthened, which made it one of the strongest fortifications in Transylvania.
What once was a rich and beautifully decorated place, is now a museum. Although very interesting and well preserved on the outside, the inside has been completely changed because of the many purposes the fortress has had. In the 18th century the place was turned into a military garrison. Having it totally stripped of decorations, the place would serve its temporary purpose best. In 1948 the communists took over, making it function as a political prison.
Nowadays the Fagaras Fortress is a museum displaying medieval weapons, traditional folk crafts and a stunning collection of icons painted on glass (which were my personal favorite). The walls and towers are still intact, making a relaxing stroll possible. From the view on the church on one side or over the lake at the other, the fortress is perfect for seeing some of the, typically Transylvanian, surroundings, such as the church next to the complex. Trust me, you won’t miss it ;).
How to get there
The Fagaras fortress is located 44 miles west of Sibiu and 45 miles east of Brasov by car. The closest train station is Fagaras station itself. The fortress is open for guest on any day but Monday as museums in Romania usually close on this day. Expect admission charges (bring your student card if you have one!).
The fortress was probably named after the Fagaras mountains, where the best road in the world, the Transfagarasan, is located. My advice: Take a day or two off to do a day trip there.