Council House, the most visited building in Brasov
The Council Square (Piata Sfatului) is the heart of the old medieval Brasov. In the center of the square lies the Council House, built in 1420. The most visited and most controversial building in Brasov used to serve as Brasov’s city hall; today it houses Brasov’s Historical Museum.
Few know, however, that inside this building a torture and execution chamber has functioned in the sixteenth century. The first construction on the very place of the Council House dates back on December 23, 1420, when an agreement between the Furrier’s Guild and District Assembly of Barsa County was signed. The decision was made and the city was allowed to build a ‘justice room’ above the fur store, which supposed to host the city’s meetings.
The construction was completed and therefore you can observe today the different styles of architecture. On the ground we can observe Gothic and Renaissance and Baroque upstairs. In the sixteenth century the tower was guarded by four towers, a sign that the city had the right to issue death sentences, ‘Jus Gladii’, explained Radu Stefanescu, director of the History Museum for Adevarul.
New rooms were added along the way and the tower was equipped with a clock with scale disks on all four sides. From its tower, trumpeters announced the important events in the city, a tradition reproduced today. Tourists can see trumpeters every day at 18:00 and on weekends from 12.00.
The Council House has survived to earthquakes, lightning strikes and fires over time, but the most important thing, the building it survived demolition in the early twentieth century.
A tour of the building can provide a wider picture of the medieval city, including the medieval torture room.
The Council House also hosts the oldest bell in Brasov, which was brought back to life after a period of 50 years. The tower’s old bell, which dated from 1520, was destroyed in the fire of 1689; the current bell was made a year later. Initially, the clock was activated by two hammers by the tower’s mechanism and beat from quarter to quarter. In the 60s, the mechanism has been stopped, because the noise would have been considered too loud and so it was removed at the request of inhabitants in the Square who complained about the noise, especially at night, when it ‘stole’ their sleep.