©Fagaras.Le château (copyright: creative commons)
Fagaras is located in Brasov County, on the shores of Olt River, one of the longest in Romania, which passes through the town before cutting its way through the nearby mountains on its way to the Danube.
Fagaras is a small city with a population of roughly 28,000 people, of which about 90 percent are Romanians, while the rest are ethnic Hungarians and Saxons (Germans).
Some linguists argue that the name “Fagaras” derives from a diminutive of the Romanian word for beech, “fag”, while others claim that the origin of the name is the Hungarian word for partridge, “fogor”. Most likely, the settlement was originally named after the nearby Fagaras River.
The Fagaras Fortress
Built in the 12th century, the fortress was extended in the 16th and 17th centuries, to protect the strategic area against the attacks of the Tatars and later the Turks. A massive moat surrounded the fortress in order to make it inexpugnable against attackers. Over the years, the fortress was the residence of Transylvanian nobility, such as the prince Gabriel Bethlen, who restored it in the 17th century. During Bethlen’s reign, the town developed economically, thanks to the location on the road to Wallachia.
Today, the old citadel houses the Fagaras County Museum, which showcases a beautiful collection of medieval weapons, Roman artifacts, and examples of folk craftsmanship.
Saint Nicholas Orthodox Church, the Evangelical Church, the Reformed Church
Lady Stanca’s statue
The sculpture was built in the honor of Lady Stanca, the wife of Michael the Brave (Mihai Viteazu), who achieved the first political unification of the Romanian principalities.
The nearby Fagaras Mountains offer some of the most beautiful alpine landscape in Romania.
The Balea Waterfall, one of the most impressive waterfalls in Romania, thunders down from a height of 68 meters.
The Balea Glacial Lake, located at an altitude of 2034 meters, is a crystal clear lake formed in the depression left by a melting glacier.
The Poenari Citadel, the onetime residence of Vlad the Impaler, the historic figure that inspired Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
A day trip to Brasov, located 54 kilometers from Fagaras, will reveal a host of remarkable historical monuments, charming castles, and beautiful churches.
The Transfagarasan Road
Some of the most dramatic and spectacular landscapes in Romania can be seen nearby Fagaras, and the best way to admire them is to travel on the famous Transfagarasan Road. Built between 1970 and 1974 as a strategic military route, the road is one of the highest paved roads in Romania, connecting Transylvania with Wallachia over a distance of over 90 kilometers.
Travelers from around the world come to tackle this alpine road, which reaches an altitude of 2042 meters at its highest point.
How to get there: The town is located approximately 60 kilometers from Brasov and is also accessible from Sibiu (from the east) and from Pitesti (south of the Carpathians, via the Transfagarasan).