historic monument and landmark in Romania. It is situated in Râşnov, Brașov County, in the immediate vicinity of Brașov.
The citadel was built as part of a defence system for the Transylvanian villages exposed to outside invasions. A decisive aspect for building the citadel on the actual location was the route of the invading armies which were coming from the Bran pass and were passing through Râșnov, on their way to Burzenland.
The only chance of survival for the inhabitants of the area, inclusively from Cristian and Ghimbav, was the refuge inside the citadel. Compelled to stay there for decades, the people of Râșnov and the nearby villages turned the fortification into a dwelling.
Archaeological research revealed the existence of fortification traces on the citadel hill since prehistoric and Dacian times. The medieval citadel of today is considered to be built between 1211 and 1225, during the rule of Teutonic Knights in Burzenland, although there is no evidence in this respect.
In 1335, during a Tatar incursion that ravaged Burzenland, Râșnov and Brașovia were the only citadels remaining unconquered. This is also the first documented attestation of the fortification.
In 1421 the first siege of an Ottoman army took place on the citadel.
In 1600, Michael the Brave along with his troops and his wife, Lady Stanca, retreated here after the defeat of Mirăslău.
The citadel was conquered only once, during the rule of Prince Gabriel Báthory, in 1612. The fall was caused by the lack of water due to the discovery of the path to a secret spring by the enemy troops.
Because of the lack of a source of water interior to the citadel,
between 1623 and 1642 a 146 metres (479 ft) deep well was excavated in
In 1718 the citadel was partially destroyed by a fire, and in 1802 it was damaged by an earthquake.
In 1821 refugees from Wallachia (the resurgent movement led by Tudor Vladimirescu) retreated to the citadel.Between 1848-1849, because the locality was being crossed by the Hungarian revolutionaries and the Austrian imperial troops, the villagers retreated to the citadel. This was the last mission of the citadel as a place of refugee and defence.In 1850, due to the political situation and the diminution of the citadel's defensive role, the fortification was abandoned, becoming a ruin. There was only one guard left who had to announce the outbreak of fires by tolling a bell.Because of the two world wars and the set up of the communist regime in Romania, the citadel was restored for the first time, barley, in the years 1955-1956.