Bistrița is a town founded by settlers of German origin who came from Luxembourg and settled in the valleys of the Somes and Bistrita in the twelfth century. The settlement was documented under the name of Nosa Oppidum April 2, 1241 when the Tartar invasion destroys a large part of the settlements in the area. Following the tradition of older documents Bistrita is indirectly certificated as a city since 1222.
The curent name of Bistrita was documented on July 16, 1264 in a document issued by Pope Urban IV in Orvieto,Italy, and thereafter it gradually appears in all documents. In 1245 the Dominican monks come here, followed around 1268 by Franciscan monks, and in 1295 by the Hospitalits. The three monasteries from the city marked the limits of the old bourg where craftsmen and merchants had set up a large shopping center.
In 1330 Queen Elisabeth granted specific privileges and rights to the citizens and urban autonomy, and since 1353 in August, at St. Bartolomew, Bistrita Fair is organized confirming its great economic power. The King Louis of Anjou granted, during this period, the city seal and coats of arms composed of horizontal bands and lily flowers, symbols of the kingdom of the house of Anjou, and upon them the royal helmet adorned with an ostrich with a horseshoe in its beak. The legend of the ostrich with a horseshoe in its beak and the coats of arms of this family have been preserved throughout the tradition heraldry of Bistrita being included in the symbols of the city guilds.
The craftsmen and the merchants of the city had played an important role in strengthening the fortress town that was mentioned in a document dated 1438. The 22 local guilds built between 1464-1484 a full city fortification which was reinforced with ten towers ( The Coopers Tower, The Wheelwrights Tower, The Saddlery Tower, The Tailoring Tower, The Blacksmiths Tower, The Butchers Tower, The Goldsmiths Tower, The Carpenters Tower and The Funari Tower), two bastions and three main gates to the town. (The Wood Gate, Hospital and The Hungarian Gate). From this extensive fortification it preserves the south and east walls with The Coopers Tower. The pedestrian narrow streets, linking the long sides of the city, still retains the atmosphere of authentic medieval bourg.