Râşnov Castle or Râşnov Citadel (Cetatea Râșnov)


Location: Râșnov, Braşov County Map

Constructed: 1215


Description of Rasnov Castle

Râșnov Castle is located 15 km from Braşov in the city of Râșnov, Braşov County in Romania. It sits on top of one of the peaks in the Carpathian mountains at an elevation of 650 feet above modern town of Rasnov or Rosenau in German. Rasnov Castle was established by the Teutonic knights in 1215. This castle was one of the long chain of fortifications that defended Transylvania from Ottomans from the South and Tatars from the East that attempted repeatedly to sweep through Wallachia and expand their empire to Europe. Unlike many other European castles, Rasnov fortress was designed to defend the population around it rather than secure possessions and life of any particular lord. Several houses, church and even small school was constructed to secure lives of people for weeks and even months at a time. With good location and awe inspiring walls this was a formidable citadel. In fact it was conquered only once in its history around a year of 1600 AD by Gabriel Bathory. Castle walls and nine towers were badly damaged by the earthquake of 1802, but it withstood even the force of nature. The last time the citadel was used for protection of the town below was during Revolution of 1848 that swept through much of Europe. Rasnov was largely abandoned since then. Today it is a national museum and it is open to the public.



The well

During sieges a supply of safe water was particularly important for defenders of the castle. Râşnov’s well is said to be dug by two Turkish prisoners of war who were promised freedom once the work was completed. Captured men nothing to do, by to stop digging through a solid rock of the mountain on which the citadel rests. After 16 or 32 years (depends on a version of a story) of constant digging and 143 meters or 470 feet down the water level was reached, but two men were executed anyway. The well was used until middle of the 19th century when the wheel, designed to pull a heavy bucket up and down a shaft broke. Some locals claim they saw two angry ghosts who walk toward the well and disappear here.