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Catherine's Gate (poarta Ecaterinei)

Brasov, Romania

Catherine's Gate (or Poarta Ecaterinei as they call it in Romanian) is part of the old defensive complex. It was built in 1559 by the local Tailors’ Guild to replace the old gate which was destroyed by flooding in 1526. It is named after the St. Catherine's Monastery that stood here before. This is the only original city gate to have survived since the medieval period. An interesting fact is that during the Saxon rule - between the 13th and the 17th centuries - the Romanians were forbidden from owning property inside the fortress and could only enter the town at certain times. At entry, they were to pay a toll for the privilege of selling their goods inside the citadel. The four small corner turrets of the gate symbolize the town's judicial autonomy and in particular "the right of the sword" which is the right to execute. Above the gate is the city's coat of arms, featuring a crown on an oak tree trunk and roots.

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