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For other uses, see Zărnești (disambiguation).
Coat of arms of Zărnești
Coat of arms
Location of Zărnești
Zărnești is located in Romania
Location of Zărnești
Coordinates: 45°34′N 25°20′E / 45.567°N 25.333°E / 45.567; 25.333Coordinates: 45°34′N 25°20′E / 45.567°N 25.333°E / 45.567; 25.333
Country  Romania
County Braşov County
Status Town
 • Mayor Dorel Valeriu Bârladeanu (SDP)
 • Total 204.75 km2 (79.05 sq mi)
Population (2011)
 • Total 21,681
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 • Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Website Website

Zărnești (Romanian pronunciation: [zərˈneʃtʲ]; German: Molkendorf, Zernescht; Hungarian: Zernest) is a town in Braşov County, Transylvania, Romania, with a population of 21,681. It administers one village, Tohanu Nou (Neu-Tohan; Újtohán).

It is located near the Piatra Craiului Mountains, which are part of the Southern Carpathians mountains range. Its close proximity to the Piatra Craiului make it a common start point for tourists and hikers wishing to explore "The Piatra Craiului National Park".


Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1956 6,673 —    
1966 17,628 +164.2%
1977 23,288 +32.1%
1992 26,319 +13.0%
2002 26,520 +0.8%
2011 21,681 −18.2%
Source: Census data

During the Roman period, soldiers of the Legio XIII Gemina were buried in the territory that is modern day Zărnești. It is first mentioned in the year 1373 under the name Zârna and also referred to as "possessio regalis Zerne" in 1395. Other names that appeared after 1437 are Zerna, Villa Czerne, and Zernyest.

Modern day Zărnești developed in the same location as the historic one. The commune of Tohan, which is now part of the town, was first mentioned in the year 1294, and remains among the oldest settlements in Romanian which have kept their name and location unchanged.

In 1690 Battle of Zernest Ottoman ally Imre Thököly defeated Habsburg forces, which enabled him to become Prince of Transylvania for a short time.

In 1951, Zărnești was declared a town, of which Tohanul Vechi (Old Tohan) became a part of. In 1968, the commune of Tohanul Nou (New Tohan) was included in Zărnești proper.

Due to the topographical diversity of Zărneşti and surrounding area, agriculture became the primary occupation for its residents until not too long ago. Industrialization began sometime in the 1800s, with the construction of the paper manufacturing plant in 1852, then called Celuloza, now called Celohart - EcoPaper”[1]), and the weapons plant "6 Martie" in 1936. These projects turned Zărneşti from a predominantly rural to an urban town.

The town of Zărneşti developed largely in the communist era, bringing its population to 25,000 people, which contributed to the addition of a few neighborhoods of communist era blocs. After the [Romanian Revolution] of 1989, the plants closed, only to be sold piece by piece to private buyers.

Currently, Zărneşti has enjoyed a spike in tourism, relieving some of the pressure of unemployment which followed the revolution.


The Romanian name "Zărnești" is a derivation from zârnă (Black Nightshade[2]), a word of Slavic origin (from Old Church Slavonic зрьно, grain) and suffix -ești.

Notable people[edit]

Photo gallery[edit]


  1. ^ "Celohart Zarnesti". Celohart Zărneşti. Retrieved 24 August 2008. [dead link]
  2. ^ Dicţionarul explicativ al limbii române (DEX), Academia Română, Institutul de Lingvistică "Iorgu Iordan", Editura Univers Enciclopedic, 1998; entry: zârnă

External links[edit]