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Historic Sites
Bistrița is the capital city of Bistriţa-Năsăud County, in northern Transylvania, Romania. It is situated on the Bistriţa River. The city has a population of approximately 70,000 inhabitants, and it administers six villages: Ghinda, Sărata, Sigmir, Slătiniţa, Unirea and Viişoara .EtymologyThe town was named after the Bistriţa River, whose name comes from the Slavic word bystrica meaning "fast-moving water".HistoryThe earliest sign of settlement in the area of Bistriţa is in Neolithic remains. The Turkic Pechenegs settled the area in 12th century following attacks of the Cumans. Transylvanian Saxons settled the area in 1206 and called the region "Nösnerland". A large part of settlers were fugitives, convicts and poor people looking for lands and opportunities. The destruction of Markt Nosa ("Market Nösen") under the Mongols of central Europe is described in a document from 1241. Situated on several trade routes, Bistriţa became a flourishing medieval trading post.Bistriţa became a free royal town in 1330. In 1353 it gained the right to organize an annual 15-day fair, as well as a seal containing the coat of arms of an ostrich with a horseshoe in its beak. In 1465, the city's fortifications had 18 defensive towers and bastions defended by the local guilds. It was also defended by a Kirchenburg, or fortified church. The town was badly damaged by fire five times between 1836 and 1850. The church suffered from fire in 1857, when the tower's roof and the bells were destroyed. The roof was rebuilt after several years. Fires in the nineteenth century also destroyed much of the city's medieval citadel.
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