Rasnov Fortress (Rosenau in German) is one of the most interesting landmarks of Romania located in Brashov county, on a rocky hilltop in the Carpathian Mountains, halfway between the Brashov and Bran, 200 meters above the town of Rasnov. The Rasnov fortress is the best preserved, biggest and the most complex fortress of the South and South East of Transylvania, also known as “Peasant Fortress”, situated on the trading route which was linking the provinces of Wallachia and Transylvania, 156 km from Bucharest and just 8 km from the resort of Poiana Brasov.

First mentioned in an official document in 1331, the Rasnov fortress has been possibly built by a group of knights from the Teutonic Order as to be a stopping point for European soldiers headed to or coming back from the Middle Eastern crusades and as protection against invading Tartars. Having an important location on the commercial road from Bran, Rasnov fort and settlement becomes very important in strategic terms because it could control the access from Transylvania in Rasnoavei Valley. This strategic position of Rasnov has attracted many military invasions, being one of the few fortresses in Romania which is nearly whole. The Rasnov fortification was later enlarged by the local Saxon population. Strategically located on the commercial route linking the provinces of Transylvania and Walachia, Rasnov stronghold differs from other Saxon fortresses in that it was designed as a place of refuge over extended periods of time. Rasnov fortress is built in a simple architectonic style, inspired by the old medieval settlements of 500 years ago. The Rasnov fortress consists of an outer and an inner courtyard. In the eastern part of the outer courtyard is located a fortified wall with a square tower. At the entrance of the Rasnov courtyard there is a building of stone in the shape of a circle with many holes of draw-down. Inside the Rasnov fortress you can see ruins of numerous medieval houses which provided shelter for local population during the invasions, along with those of the school and the chapel. As such, Rasnov had at least 30 houses, a school, a chapel and other buildings more commonly associated with a village. The Teutonic Kinghts were summarily kicked out of Transylvania a decade later, but the Rasnov Citadel has remained in good condition all the way to modern times.

The defensive system of the Rasnov Fortress included nine towers, two bastions and a drawbridge. Surrounded by 150 meters high slopes on the north, south and west sides, the fortress was forced to surrender only once, in the year 1612 when invaders managed to find the secret route that supplied the people inside the fortress with water. With the location of their water supply no longer a secret, the need for a well inside the fortress became a must. According to local legend, two Turkish prisoners were put to the task of digging a well through solid rock in the center of the Rasnov fortress. They were promised their freedom once the well was finished. Work on the 146 meters-deep well began in 1623 and took 17 years to complete. The well provided extra security as it meant the people didn’t have to go outside the fort gates at all during a siege. It was in use until 1850 when the wheel broke. The last siege of Rasnov Fortress took place in 1690 during the final Ottoman invasion of Transylvania. Damaged by fire in 1718, the Rasnov Fort was rebuilt the following year. The next major damage occurred as the result of an earthquake in 1802. The Rasnov fortress was last used as a place of refuge during the revolution of 1848 and was abandoned after that, to become nowadays a tourist attraction.

Archaeological research from 1970 and the latest at the Rasnov fort revealed a rectangular chapel with semicircular apse in the exterior fortress which is believed to be the chapel of Saint George mentioned in the documents and dating, by archaeological research, since the 14th century. Rasnov fortress keeps the majority of the guns and cannons that are due to different stages of medieval and modern of the fortress, being able over several centuries to survive numerous attacks, protecting for over 500 years the life and the wealth of the people from Rasnov and it surroundings.

Recently, the old Rasnov fortress has been restored to its former glory and today, you can visit its impressive remains. Another point of interest is found in the inner courtyard behind the ancient walls of Rasnov, namely the Feudal Art Museum, where there can be admired furniture, weapons, armors and interesting artifacts of the 13th century among which is the skeleton buried beneath a glass floor. The inner rooms of the Rasnov fort are maze-like, with several wooden ladders linking them and a few so-called secret passages which should keep you busy for quite a while. The superb panorama towards the Rasnov fortress which is the most beautiful medieval place dating from the time of Prince Michael the Brave (Mihai Viteazu) is not to be missed, as well as a ride on the narrow, steep streets of the city. Rasnov is attractive throughout the year, in winter because of skiing and winter sports along the wild Bucegi and Piatra Craiului ranges and in other seasons for numerous festivals and events. Rasnov fort was nominated by CN Traveler among the 10 most beautiful snow castles in the world.