The Tampa Mountain

The Tampa Mountain rises in the middle of Brasov City andit is 960 m high above sea level. Rising around 400 m above Brasov, the mountain brought the city the acknowledged name of “the city at Tampa’s foot”.   

The mountain is part of the Postavaru massif, massif located in the Curve Carpathians and it was formed through a process of pursing of the earth’s crust, being made mostly of chalk blocks.

The archeological digs proved the fact that this mountain was tightly connected to the history of the city since the oldest of times and its name was given by the populations that owned it. Here existed sacrifice altars built by our Dacian ancestors. Traces of the roman conquerors were also found; they supposedly named the mountain „Tempus/Temporis” referring to the sacrifices made by the Dacian in honor of the time God, Uranus. From here, the Latin name tempus/time, transformed into Tempea/Tampa. Closer to our time, the Tetons took the name and translated it in German, the citadel of time or of Kronos becoming Kronstadt, a name that is also barred by the city. The peak and the saddle of theTampa Mountain were the place where the Brasovia citadel was built; it was defended from three sides by the abrupt slopes and from the south side by the thick wall of the citadel. The citadel served as refuge of the population from the invaders and it was never conquered, but it was given to the winners following some treaties. In the 15th century, when the Turks were dominating the city from the citadel, the inhabitants of Brasov, with the help of Iancu of Hunedoara, redeem the citadel and tear it down and with the stones that came out of the process they strengthen the defense walls around the city.

One can reach theTampa Mountain on various roads, one of them being the one formed of the 25 serpentine that start from the old city and were built by the Forestry in 1837. Another route, the stairs of Gabony or the Knight’s Road  starts from Scheii Brasovului and it dates since the time of the old citadel of Brasovia, and there is one more road, the one called by the locals „la Iepure” (The Rabbit), that starts from Valea Cetatii  (Racadaului). For the ones who don’t like trips and walking through the woods, there is a rope way that can be ridden from the center of the city and it reaches the mountain top in three minutes.

From the plateau on the top of the mountain the viewer has a splendid panoramic view of the city and in clear days a unique view of Tara Barsei. Here also one can see a small cave in which ran, since 1890, a small restaurant-beer house called Grota lui Bethlen. Named then the Cabana-restaurant Tampa, it burned in 1977. Now, all that’s left of it are the terrace and some small stone tubs in which the beer was cooled in the old days. In its place, a modern panoramic restaurant was built which one can reach on foot or with the rope way. In this area were also set in 2004 huge letters, lit in the night, that form the name of the city: Brasov.   

At the foot of the mountain there were throughout time different objectives which attracted tourists but also locals. We are talking about the House of Shooting, built in 1865, destroyed in a fire and in whose place we find today the Forestry High school. Another resting place was the Ranger’s House, built at the beginning of the 20th century, restaurant that still exists nowadays, placed on the sidewalk, close to the rope way.

Mount Tampa is the place with the most legends in Brasov. The most famous are the ones talking about the existence of a great underground lake or about the existence of some tunnels that cross the mountain. If the existence of the lake has not been proved, the existence of 3-4 tunnels dug into the mountain is real. Nowadays only one of them is feasible and it connects Casa Sfatului to one of the towers of the old citadel.  The others undermined in time and they are all closed in order to avoid accidents. On the sidewalk we can still see a part of the construction of the aqueduct built between 1891 and 1892 and which supplied the city with the water brought from the springs from the other side of the mountain. The adduction system, destroyed by time, was disposed, the water from “the     spring under Tampa” being brought today from the city’s network.

But the most important event in the history of Mount Tampa is the name of natural reservation that a surface of around 150 ha received. Here live bears, lynxes and wolves, a great number of birds (ravens, eagles, etc) and also 35 % of the total of butterfly species of our country. The forested area makes way, on big areas of chalky and arid soil, to some enclaves of unique steppe vegetation. On the mountain slopes grow numerous tree species: the spruce, the oak, the hornbeam, the beech, etc and also numerous plants: the spotted tulip, the Sanger, the lady shoe. Here also there are a few species of endemic plants such as the red brome and the anemone, protected by law because they can be found only in Romania. Besides, the Tampa Natural Reservation is the only natural reservation in the world located in the middle of a city.   

There isn’t any visitor of Brasov city that is not tempted to climb the mountain and that is not charmed by the superb panoramic view that unfolds on the Tampa Mountain .

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Written by Paul

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