Sibiu

Sibiu is the town in central Romania with the Medieval charm of Transylvania, situated about 280 km north-west of Bucharest, on the Cibin River, with population of about 155.000.

Sibiu is an important center of culture in Transylvania and its best destination, which was the former center of the Transylvanian Saxons. The town of Sibiu probably raised beside the Roman settlement, known in the Middle ages as Caedonia, which has already been abandoned in the time of the Saxons arrival. Sibiu (Hermannstadt in German) was the largest and wealthiest of the seven walled citadels built in the 12th century by German settlers known as Transylvanian Saxons. The Sibiu Fortress has been deserted after 11 April 1241, the Tatar invasion. During the next century it has been restored and strengthened, and after got the status of the town and the right of free trade and taxation. During the 14th century Sibiu was important trade center with already 19 guilds. In the 15th century the town of Sibiu was several times unsuccessfully attacked by the Turks (1437, 1438, 1442). Since it managed to resist the Turkish conquest, Sibiu became the most important German ethnic town in Transylvania – in epics and Hungarian annals Erdely, and the seat of the Universitas Saxorum. The riches amassed by its guilds paid for the construction of both impressive buildings and the fortifications required to protect them. The hero of the Serbian epic songs Sibinjanin Janko (historical Janosh Hunyadi) was the father of the King Matthias Corvinus (epic personality of King Matthias).

Sibiu’s Old Town retains the grandeur of its earlier days when rich and powerful guilds dominated regional trade. Like Sighisoara and Brasov, Sibiu features a distinctly Germanic feeling. Sections of the medieval wall still guard the historic core of the city, where narrow streets pass steep-roofed 17th century buildings with gable overhangs before opening into vast, church-dominated squares such as Great Square and Small Square. The Small Square  with the Council Tower bears its name as it used to defend the entrance gate into the second precinct, situated in the immediate vicinity of the building which once hosted the City Hall of Sibiu, mentioned in the documents for the first time in 1324. The Council Tower had various uses over time, from a granary to an observation deck for fires, a location for temporary arrest and even a museum of natural sciences at the middle of the 18th century. Visitors of Sibiu enjoy touring the Holy Trinity Orthodox Cathedral in the center of the city, built after the iconic Saint Sophia /Hagia Sophia/, the great cathedral of the Constantinople patriarchs and the symbol of the Orthodox faith in Romania. The spacious nave is with the beautiful iconostasis and stained-glass window is bordered by smaller spherical roofs and four towers: two smaller octagonal ones, and two larger ones near the entrance with a square base that becomes octagonal in the bell area. Visitors of Sibiu also should explore the famous Bridge of Lies – a true symbol of the city of Sibiu – a pedestrian bridge located in the historic center of the city, that connects the Lower Town to the Upper Town, featuring many legends. Sibiu is home to the first hospital in Romania (1292), the first pharmacy (1494) and the oldest museum in Romania, the Brukenthal Museum, opened in 1817. The first book in the Romanian language was printed in Sibiu in 1544. In 2007 Sibiu was the European Capital of Culture. Sibiu is very prosperous city but also regarded as one of the most Idyllic places to live.

The Open Air Ethnographic National Museum Astra in Sibiu is the most important ethno-museum institution in Romania, which spreads across a 96 ha area. The Astra Museum exhibition containing over 400 monuments of folk architecture and an extraordinary and highly appreciated collection of ethnographic heritage objects makes the largest open air ethnographic exhibition in Europe. The Astra Open air museum in Sibiu is host to numerous memorable cultural events, festivals, educational and culinary workshops throughout the year. The Astra open air museum in Sibiu, is recommended in 2019to tourists from around the world and rated three stars in the printed edition of the Michelin Guide.

 

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