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Sighisoara is Transylvania’s most renowned medieval town and tourist destination because of its vibrant cultural life, specific multi-ethnic character, beautiful sights and rich historical heritage.

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The Historic Center of Sighisoara, originally built and inhabited by Transylvanian Saxons, is a World Heritage Site since 1999.  It is regarded as one of the best preserved medieval towns in Europe, and truly gives a unique townscape, mostly because the fortress is actually still inhabited.

sighisoara_2It is an important and inhabited settlement since ancient times. Rome had a military outpost at this location during the Roman Empire, and after that it was inhabited by Bulgarian ethnic groups. Sighisoara was also one of the six Saxon seats after Geza II, the Transylvanian Monarch, ordered the Saxons to colonize the settlement in order to defend the border of the Carpathians from the steppe peoples. The walls of the fortress and its watch towers were built in 1241, following incursions by the Tatars, and later extended to cover the entire plateau. Ultimately, the walls of the fortress were heightened between 1421 and 1526 in response to Turk pressure.

The city and its surroundings have a lot to offer.  For example, tourists can visit Albesti (Feheregyhaza), the site of the Battle of Sighisoara fought in 1849; the battle was part of the Hungarian Revolution of 1848. It is generally believed that the Hungarian poet and revolutionary Petofi Sandor was lost in the battle, and there’s a local festivity in his honor held on every last Sunday of July. Another interesting sight near Sigisoara is the Breite Ancient Oak Tree Reserve located not far, only a few miles from the city. This is a pasture land surrounded by a forest, and also Central and EasternEurope’s largest and best preserved wooded habitat with centuries-old oak trees and hornbeam.

sighisoara_3Sighisoara is particularly famous for its vibrant cultural life, and its colorful, rich and multi-ethnic scenery. Local communities organize diverse cultural events throughout the year. Without any doubt, the Medieval Festival held on the last weekend of July is the most famous of all, but the Proetnica Festival held in August is also well known.

The city has two parts, the Lower Town – the part of the city outside the Citadel- and the City Hill, the actual fortress and historical center of the town. The lower town’s scenery is mixed due to the extensive transformations occurred throughout history.  Old buildings are surrounded with spaces and buildings structured /reorganized and renovated in a way that shows the lack of a well-structured urban planning. In the same time, tourists can observe the imprint of the different historical periods on both parts of the town, as well as the changes occurred during transitional periods.

The fortress can be reached on several routes, but if you want to go up with a car there’s an entrance fee. The small, well preserved medieval town has a lot of hotels and restaurants. The most popular of them is probably the Sighisoara hotel with its very pleasant terrace. Another favorite is the House with Stage as it hosts exhibitions, but the list could continue. The prices are generally higher in the City Hill than the lower town.

The Citadel originally had 14 towers and is joined by a 930 m wall surrounding the entire plateau of the City Hill. 9 of the watch towers are still standing, and they are named after the guilds assigned to build and defend them. What makes the towers particularly interesting is their shape and the activity of the craftsmen guilds after which they were named.

sighisoara-turnul-cu-ceasThe Clock Tower is Sighisoara’s renowned historical and architectural monument, and also the symbol of the city. Today, the tower hosts a museum, but once it was the main entrance of the fortress. Therefore, the Clock Tower is the highest of all, and has a small window incorporated next to the clock in line with the German customs of the 17 century.  Its structure is beautiful; seven sculpted wooden figures dance in a circle while the clock tells the time, and each figure represents a different day of the week.

The churches, cathedrals and the museums of the city are all part of Sighisoara’s historical and architectural heritage.  For example, the Hilly Church, the Cloister Church, or Lazar’s Church, etc., all have their fascinating historical background and story to tell; which is even more interesting as these buildings still play a significant role by preserving the national identity of the local communities.

The streets of the historical center present a spectacular scenery, and almost every corner of the town has a story to tell. Such tourist scenery is the Vlad Dracu house, today hotel and restaurant, where once supposedly lived Vlad Tepes, the ruler of Wallachia.

Notable among the monuments in the historic center of Sighisoara is the ramp staircase of 175 steps, known as the Student Stairs. It was built in 1642 and protected since by a wooden roof.

Finally, if we want to reach the highest point of the City Hill, that is the Vila Franka, with a beautiful view, especially at night.

Sighisoara, a city in the heart of Transylvania, developed on a plateau, build on a hill overlooking the river Tirnava, is an astonishing example of Romania’s cultural and historical heritage.

Location

Sighisoara is located 45 km from Targu Mures

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Photo sources:
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