Brasov

Schei & The Juni

more than a year ago
Sf. Nicolae Church
Sf. Nicolae Church
You shouldn’t leave Brasov without a stroll through Schei, the district where for centuries Romanians were forced to live, as only Saxons could live within the city walls. Walk up Strada Prundului to Piata Unirii and the beautiful Sf. Nicolae Church and wander around the small curving streets that gradually slope upwards against the hill. Note the many different iron door handles and knockers adorning the pretty houses.

The St. Nicholas church in Piata Unirii was originally built in 1521 in Romanian-Byzantine style and considerably expanded in the 18th century, the church with its slender tower and four corner towers now looks more like a Transylvanian German church. The building actually holds four churches, as the tower and the two wings each have a chapel inside. Behind the church you’ll find the grave of Nicolae Titulescu (1882-1941), finance minister, foreign minister and president of the League of Nations. He died in exile in Switzerland, was buried in Cannes and was only reburied in Romania in 1990. The monument near his grave quotes a line from his will: ‘I wish to be buried in Transylvania. My friends will know to find a place according to my wish.’

On the same site is the First Romanian School Museum, for centuries a centre for Romanian teaching and book printing. The small museum houses countless Romanian ‘firsts’: the oldest Romanian bible (printed on goats’ skin), the oldest letter written in Romanian using the Latin alphabet (previously, Romanian was written with Cyrillic letters), a page from an 11th century schoolbook and much more. The printing press itself printed only 39 books, taking 20 workers and eight translators months to finish just one book. No wonder a book was worth 12 oxen in those days. Also here is the tiny Museum of the Juni (Muzeul Junilor), showing the seven different traditional costumes the Schei men wore; Schei women had only one.

Each Spring the Junii hold a massive party up at Salomon Rocks (Pietrele lui Salomon, one hour’s walk from Piata Unirii). The party follows the Junii-procession through the centre of Brasov, which celebrates the one day a year that Romanians were allowed to enter the Saxon part of Brasov without paying.
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