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Location - Eastern Europe; Capital - Bucharest; Population - 20 million; Currency - Romanian Leu

From Bucharest it's a comfortable two hour train ride to Brasov, the heart of the tourist industry in both Transylvania and Romania - April 2012. MORE ROMANIA


Romanianote50 Lei (plural of Leu)









Mt Tampa rises above Brasov for a glorious view of the city, with the clouds settling in a Transylvanian valley beyond


romania262The Council House is at the centre of Piata Sfatului in Brasov


romania263On the hillside behind Piata Sfatului are the Black Tower (left) and White Tower (centre) - Brasov












romania287The Tampa Cable Car is the easiest way to get to the top of Mt Tampa - Brasov













romania270The massive Brasov sign on Mt Tampa that's pretty much visible from anywhere in town


romania289The snow covered mountains around Brasov


romania279A close up of St Nicholas' Cathedral and Piata Unirii - Brasov













romania179The 14th century St Nicholas' Cathedral - Brasov













romania173Strada Sforii is the narrowest street in Brasov


romania183A restaurant sign near Piata Sfatului - Brasov


romania201Climb the steps to the White Tower and check out the museum inside - Brasov













romania187The Black Church dominates the view from the White Tower - Brasov













romania192Looking past the White Tower to the Council House - Brasov


romania196The tower of the Council House (left) and a distant Piata Sfatuluio - Brasov


romania203 A memorial to victims of the 1989 revolution stands in front of the District Council building - Brasov













romania205The hilltop Citadel lies above the Central Park's orthodox church - Brasov














romania210The 15th century city walls are punctuated with towers and bastions - Brasov


romania216Colourful buildings behind the Black Church - Brasov


romania217The Black Church and Mt Tampa - Brasov












romania245The Black Church was built between 1384 and 1477 - Brasov













romania244Piata Sfatului has plenty of outdoor cafes and restaurants to keep you busy - Brasov


romania246The square is the hub of the city and lively all day - Brasov



romania237A decorative Easter sign opposite the Council House in Piata Sfatului - Brasov















romania243Go upstairs to the Casa Hirscher cafe for a ringside seat of Piata Sfatului - Brasov













romania249Branching off Piata Sfatului is Strada Republicii, a pedestrian shopping street - Brasov


romania206A local band play at the Irish bar on Strada Republicii. The guitarist was top banana - Brasov



romania257A quiet sidestreet in the old town - Brasov













romania293There's no escaping Dracula in Transylvania! Bran


romania29514th century Bran Castle is known as Dracula's castle, a 40 minute bus ride from Brasov - Bran


romania306Vlad Tepes was the Prince of Wallachia (an historic area of Romania) in the 15th century.
The bloodthirsty Vlad was given the name Tepes, meaning 'impaler' as he indulged in impaling his enemies with a wooden stake.
His real surname was Draculea - Bran













romania325Irish author Bram Stoker combined fact with fiction, drawing on Vlad Tepes for his world-famous novel Dracula - Bran


















romania314It's thought that Vlad Tepes only visited Bran Castle once, if at all - Bran


romania315The 'secret' staircase in Bran Castle - Bran


romania320Most of the castle exhibits belonged to Queen Marie, Queen consort of Romania between 1914 and 1927 (and born in England) - Bran













romania321The inner courtyard of Bran Castle - Bran















romania339It's a bit of a scrum squeezing past tour groups but understandably so - Bran



romania346Rainclouds descend on Bran. It rained virtually every day of my two weeks in Romania..


romania350Between Brasov and Bran is another castle town, Rasnov














romania352It's a steep walk up the hill (or take a car) to Rasnov Fortress - Rasnov













romania367The 13th century fortress is mostly in ruins but there's a few reconstructed buildings - Rasnov


romania358The main draw is the superb view across the plains below - Rasnov



romania356The Transylvanian town of Rasnov below















romania372A horse and cart trots through the streets - Rasnov













romania376The journey from Brasov to Sibiu passes the Fagaras Mountains


romania380Piata Mica is one of the central squares in the 2007 EU 'Capital of Culture' Sibiu












romania382aRestaurants at Piata Mica - Sibiu













romania379Eyelid windows look down on Piata Mica - Sibiu


romania378Walk through the Turnul Sfatului arch (Council Tower) to Piata Mare - Sibiu


romania399The Banca Agricola is the curved building in Piata Mare - Sibiu














romania392Bars, restaurants, a museum and a church make up Piata Mare - Sibiu














romania400The impressive Piata Mare - Sibiu


romania398Colourful buildings surrounding the Council Tower at Piata Mare - Sibiu


romania375aDracula welcomes you to a sports bar on Strada Nicolae Balcescu - Sibiu














romania410Fading grandeur on Strada Cetatii - Sibiu














romania413Sibiu's Evangelical Church contains the tomb of Vlad Tepes' son Mihnea Voda cel Rau (Prince Mihnea the Bad)


romania415Steps lead down from Piata Huet to cobbled pedestrian streets - Sibiu


romania417A quiet pedestrian street near Piata Huet - Sibiu














romania418More steps, this time at the Council Tower, afford views of Piata Mare - Sibiu














romania422Piata Mica is in the foreground with the Evangelical Church behind - Sibiu


romania424Any idea what this says? Graffiti on Strada Ocnei, Sibiu


romania426Between the train station and the old city is a Soviet war memorial - Sighisoara














romania429A minute's walk further on is Saint Treime Orthodox Church, on the banks of the Tarnava Mare River - Sighisoara













romania435The citadel of Sighisoara is centred on Piata Cetatii



romania433The citadel complex dates back to the 12th century - Sighisoara



romania436 A souvenir shop on Piata Cetatii - Sighisoara













romania440The square is busy during the day but dies down in the evening - Sighisoara













romania444The 14th century Church on the Hill - Sighisoara


romania446Reach the Church on the Hill via a covered stairway - Sighisoara



romania451A Lutheran cemetery lies next to the church, here with the Goldsmiths Tower behind - Sighisoara













romania453The Monastery Church spire stands to the left of a winding Tarnava Mare River - Sighisoara













romania457romania459A major attraction in Sighisoara is the birthplace of Vlad Tepes, Casa Vlad-Dracul, where he is said to have lived until he was four


romania460Welcome to Casa Vlad-Dracul - Sighisoara


romania462 A painting of Vlad Tepes aka Vlad the Impaler, Prince of Wallachia and inspiration for Dracula - Sighisoara













romania464Casa Vlad-Dracul has been converted into a restaurant - Sighisoara













romania463The restaurant menu includes Dracula pork medallion, Dracula spicy shrimp and of course a variety of Dracula cocktails - Sighisoara


romania467A cafe/shop selling Dracula spicy coffee uses the same entrance as Casa Vlad-Dracul - Sighisoara


romania469Casa Vlad-Dracul lies close to the 13th century Clock Tower - Sighisoara

















romania473aThe Clock Tower greets visitors walking up to the citadel - Sighisoara














romania474Walking beneath the Clock Tower - Sighisoara



romania499Take the stairs up the Clock Tower for views of Sighisoara



romania493Beyond the church is the Tarnava Mare River - Sighisoara















romania478If you're looking for tacky, kitsch souvenirs you've come to the right place. Did I buy a Dracula mug? Of course! Sighisoara















romania480aIn one of the corners of the citadel is a softly lit Shoemakers Tower - Sighisoara



romania484There's a mixture of renovated and crumbling buildings on the edge of the citadel - Sighisoara


romania482A colourful street in the citadel - Sighisoara














romania486Vlad Tepes is on show next to the 15th century Church of the Dominican Monastery - Sighisoara














romania490Sit in the small park next to the City Hall to take in views of the town below - Sighisoara



romania492Make time for a visit to this relaxed town - Sighisoara



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LINKS - Romanian train timetables; buy tickets - Search for buses in the country - Official website of the Romanian Tourist Board - Guide to Sibiu

Wasteels - Contact these guys for international train tickets from Romania


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