Approximately halfway between Brasov and Bran, the town of Rasnov was founded around 1225 by German Teutonic Knights. Rasnov’s impressive fortress – it really does look the part, although the kitsch, Hollywood-style Rasnov sign in front of it somewhat dampens its dramatic impact – was built in the 14th century to protect the people of Rasnov and surrounding villages from the numerous invasions happening at the time. During periods of war, the townsfolk would pick up their cattle and retreat into the fortress.
After two sieges ended in surrender because of a lack of water, a 174m deep well was dug by two Turkish prisoners: it took them 17 years and the pair were rewarded with their freedom on completion. In 1658, the Rosenauers had to retreat here for three years while war raged on the plains below. The last siege took place in 1690 (Turks again; they lost), after which the fortress was severely damaged by fire (1718), rebuilt (1719) and partially levelled by an earthquake (1802).
The legend of the well
The absence of an internal water source led to the limitation of long term resistance during sieges. Because of this lack, it was decided to start the digging of a well in the rockysoil, in 1623.
The legend says that during a siege, the inhabitants of the citadel made two Turkish prisoners dig a well in the middle of the citadel in order to regain their freedom. The captives dug for 17 years, during which time they wrote verses from Quran on the well walls which can be seen even today. The fate of the prisoners isn’t known, with some saying that they were released, and others that they were killed.
The well was used until 1850 when a broken wheel in the well windlass caused its abandonment.
The elders from Râșnov believe that deep in the well lies a treasure at least 300 years old. However, recently alpinists have closely explored the well, without finding any trace of it.