As I promised, my dear friends, I still have a few short stories about Brasov before we any further in the heart of Transylvania.
ROCKS OF SOLOMON
Known as the Rocks of Solomon, the Gorges of the evil Solomon in ___ of Brasov are very well known as a touristic objective in Romania. The legend says that Solomon was a Hungarian king who jumped over the chasm between the rocks that surround the clough. The ones who were following him (Ottomans or Huns) fell in the abyss and thus the kind escaped the enemies. The memory of this episode was kept in the verbal Romanian tradition.
THE HOUSE OF THE MERCHANTS
The wife of Valentin Hirscher, Apollonia Hirscher, raised a building in today’s Council Square specifically designed for commerce, called the House of the Merchants or “Podul (“bridge”) Batusilor”. The “Batusi” were small merchants who would retail goods. On the ground floor there were small lofts and booths where the skilled workers and the merchants displayed their products. The building was built as a promise made by Apollonia Hirscher as a thank you for the fact that her daughter’s life was saved. It seems that the little girl was clinically dead and came back to life after the funeral in the grave, being discovered by a poor grave digger trying to steal her jewelry. This event is illustrated in a mural on the building.
THE LAKE OF THE WITCHES
At the exit of the Brasov Citadel, through the gate from the end of the Gate’s Street (Republicii – Modarom) there was a lake where the witches or women thought to be witches were trialed by ordeals (calling the divine judgment). The unfortunates were thrown in the water having heavy weights tied to their feet and the crowd was waiting to see if they drowned or not. There is the mentality that witches, being servants of satan, can’t drown. Therefore, women who were witches would survive this experiment. We have no proof of a witch having survived. If they stood above the water they were taken and burned at the stake. Today, all that’s left is the legend. The lake where hundreds of women must have lost their lives no longer exists. It drained at the beginning of the 19th century and today it is crossed by an important artery of Brasov.
THE CATACOMBS IN THE COUNCIL SQUARE
The medieval catacombs, the secret tunnels, the food cells under the Council Square, the enormous lake under mountain Tampa and the treasure of Solomon are the most popular myths of Brasov. All the citizens of Brasov were talking about them, which made them be passed on from one generation to another, until they reached us.
One of the legends refers to the blazon of Brasov itself – the crown lying on top of a tree’s block. Some of the heraldry experts claim that the symbol of Brasov’s blazon represents the town’s abidance to Austrian crown and the steadiness on these lands (represented by the roots in the blazon).
There is an old legend regarding the custom of Brasov’s Young Men (Junii Brasoveni) which requires them to go around the citadel of Brasov 3 times on the Sunday of St. Toma. As it is known, in the Middle Ages the Romanians in Schei were not allowed to enter the Brasov medieval citadel, because it was believed that if one them went round the Council Square three times riding a horse, the city will be captured by them. It is unknown when exactly the Romanians in Schei entered the citadel and fulfilled the legend but ever since that moment every year the young men go around the Citadel Square three times in order to keep the old belief.
One of the legends that became reality however is connected to the cereal filled holes under the pavement of the Council Square. These were certified three times starting with the end of the ’50s and carrying on in 1967 and 1987, when three trucks fell in these holes with food filled with Dacian ceramic and more recent ceramic from the Middle Age.
It is known that there were food supplies buried in the medieval city for it to use in case of siege. The exact spot of each of these holes was only known by 3 men in town, who could find the exact place if they laid from three corners of the square, in a specific way a set of ropes with knots that corresponded to each hole.
THE LAKE UNDER MOUNTAIN TAMPA
Elders say that under Mountain Tampa there is a large cave inside of which there is a lake. Thoughts about the nature of this lake vary. Thus, some claim that it is a salt lake, while others say that it is a fresh water lake adding that Tampa had fresh water springs that ran dry in time.
And I couldn’t leave Brasov without visiting a street in Brasov that has a medium width of only 123 centimeters, being classified as the narrowest street in Europe. It is located in the Brasov citadel and ties the streets “Schei Gate” (Poarta Schei) and “Deer’s” (Cerbului). If you will wonder on one of the two mentioned above, only an arrow sign will indicate that you are going through an intersection. Otherwise, you will definitely not even notice it.
The history of the street is just as interesting. It was built in the 17th century, being initially designed to facilitate the firemen’s access in case it is needed. The street measures 111 centimeters in its narrowest point and 135 in its widest. One of the legends of this 80 meters long street is that young lovers would meet here.