Braşov City is located in the central part of the country, at about 170 km from Bucharest and surrounded by the Carpathian Mountains. It is part of the Transylvania region. The city of Braşov has a total population of aprox 284,596
The current Romanian and Hungarian names are derived from the Pecheneg word, "barasu", meaning fortress. On Tampa Mountain, located on the Southern side of the city, there was once a romanian citadel called "Brassovia", which gave the Romanian name of the town, which was also later on used by the Hungarians.
The first topological mention of Brasov is "Terra Saxonum de Barasu", in a 1252 document. The German name, Kronstadt, means "Crown City" and this is reflected in the city coat-of-arms, as well as in its Medieval Latin name, "Corona". These three names of the city (Brasov, Kronstadt, and Corona) are used simultaneously in the Middle Age. The city was named "Oraşul Stalin", after Joseph Stalin, from 1951 to 1961.
The oldest inhabitants resulted from the assimilation of the Dacian tribes by the Romans. After the 271 retreat of the Roman armies, in the tumultuous period of migrations (from the 4th to 9th centuries A.D.), the romanians continued living in these territories, especially in the areas protected by mountains and hills. They were organized in small independent counties. Among them Barsa County, with several Romanian villages.
In the area of Brasov, there was a Romanian village called Cotun, word similar to the old Dacian word designating a village. Its latest development led to today's neighborhood of Scheii Brasovului. The Brasovian population of that time were mainly shepherds, and they were Orthodox Christians. The Romanian settlement grew in population thanks to a latter diversification of their occupations. in the Middle Age, the Romanian Brasovians were well established merchants, craftsmen (butchers, weavers, carpenters, constructors), and clerical men. Close to the Orthodox Church in Schei, the Romanian Brasovians founded at the end of the 13th century the first Romanian school. As Brasov became a German colony, the Romanians living in Brasov were denied several privileges by the new German settlers. They would no longer be recognized as citizens of the city, hence they were unable to perform any longer their crafts and businesses; they religion was not officially recognized. Therefore they had to resume to being shepherds and smugglers, still making a hard time to the new rulers of Brasov. Their richness allowed them to build the first community stone church in Transylvania, the first Romanian print house in Transylvania (1558), and a library.
The German rulers of Brasov were still using the Romanians in negotiations with the voievods of Wallachia and Moldavia as well as with the Ottoman Emperors. The cultural and religious importance of the Romanian church and school from Schei are underlined by the fact that more than 30 voievods of Moldavia and Wallachia or Elisabeth Petrovna, the empress of Russia, made generous donations to them. In the 17th and 19th centuries the Romanians in Schei are fighting for their national, political, and cultural rights. They were supported in their efforts by Romanians from all the other provinces, as well as by the local Greek merchants community. They founded in 1838 the first Romanian newspaper (Gazeta Transilvaniei) and the first Romanian high school (Scolile Centrale Greco-Ortodoxe, today Andrei Saguna high-school). The Austrian emperor Joseph II (1780-1790) awarded the Romanians back their citizenship rights.
The German colonists coming to Brasov had a decisive role in the development of this city. They were coming from Saxony and Flanders. They came in Transylvania introduced by Hungarian king Geza II from 1141 to 1162. In 1211, by the order of Andrew II of Hungary, the Teutonic Knights colonized this area too. They founded in Brasov three distinct settlements: - Corona, around the Black Church(Biserica Neagra); - Martinsberg, West of Cetatuia Hill; - Bartholomew, on the Eastern side of Sprenghi hill. The Germans living in Brasov were maily involved in trade and agriculture. After 1918, when Transylvania became part of Romania, many of the German Brasovians left Brasov, moving to Germany. Even more of them left after 1945 when Romania became a communist country.
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