October 28, 2021
Cenk (Romanian: Tâmpa, German: Zinne, Saxon: Zänn) is a 960-meter-high mountain range, part of the north-eastern ridge separating from the main ridge of the Christian Snow in the Barca Mountains to Nagykrukk, southeast of the historical center of Brasov. It is a defining element of the cityscape of Brasov, and as it obscures the saddle behind it and the more distant ranges when viewed from the center, it rises above the city as a seemingly solitary block. Although in terms of height it could be called a hill, it is still considered a mountain, as it formed and developed together with the surrounding mountain blocks, and in its appearance it is closer to the mountains than to the hills. It is morphologically characterized by a uniform south-west-northeast main ridge, approximately 1000 m long and more than 850 m high, with smaller, rounded peaks along its length; the southwestern end is sloping and the northeastern end continues on a very steep slope. Most of its territory, 188.2 hectares, is under nature protection. The shady and wet side of the northwest, downtown side is covered with beech forest, in which maples and ash are mixed in the lower parts. The dry, sunny southeastern side was barren until the early 20th century, when they were planted with pine, but they could not take root everywhere on the calcareous soil, so in some parts the vegetation of the hillside is typical of the grassy steppe. The areas around the peak were afforested with forest and larch after a 20th-century fire. Its fauna is very rich, with 975 day and night butterfly species and more than 110 bird species identified. Thanks to the unparalleled view from the top, the Cenk was welcomed by people looking for relaxation in Brasov and visitors to the city even before the spread of hiking. The first tourist route, the so-called serpentine road, was built in 1837; nowadays there are several paths and a forest road to Cenk. Over the centuries, several facilities have been built on the mountain of strategic importance. In the Middle Ages, there was a large, impregnable castle on it, which some historians consider to be of ancient origin, and where the inhabitants of the area could linger in case of danger. Later, religious symbols stood on the ornament, and in the modern age it became the bearer of the symbols of the current power: here stood an Austro-Russian statue, a Hungarian millennium monument, a Stalin inscription, and nowadays a Romanian flag. With the rise of hiking, facilities for tourists also appeared: as early as the 19th century, a lookout terrace and restaurant were built near the summit, a lift and restaurant in the 1970s, and Hollywood-style letters in 2004.