Many people think of Romania as a Eastern-European country – as it was, once, part of the Soviet block. But Romania’s Transylvania is in Central Europe, and as such, you can expect many similarities with other Central European countries. In cities like Sibiu, Arad, Timisoara, Sighisoara the German influence is strong – and it can be observed in many elements of architecture. The influence of the Hungarian empire is evident in some of the royal palaces scattered across Transylvania like secret gems. Today, I’ll offer you a visual trip to Sighisoara – a World Heritage Site – the true cradle of Dracula (Vlad the Impaler, three-time Voivode of Wallachia).
Although its indigenous population is rather small (about 30,000 inhabitants), the city appears lively and crowded. It is one of the most popular travel destinations in Romania – part because of its medieval splendor, part because of its legendary son, but mostly because of the popular festivals organized here every year.
Aside the yearly Medieval Festival, Sighisoara offers a number of other treasures for the curious traveler:
The Clock Tower (“Turnul cu Ceas”) – Built in 1360 and standing at 60 meters tall atop the citadel hill. History museum inside, balcony with a great view on the top.
Monastery Church (“Biserica Mânăstirii”) – Lutheran church in late Gothic style, located next to the Clock Tower, built starting with 1291 by the Dominican Order
Weapon Museum – next to Vlad’s birthplace. Very small, but it contains an interesting selection of medieval weapons (swords, arrows, etc.).
Covered Staircase (“Scara Şcolarilor”) – an old stone staircase with a wooden roof along the whole span. This leads up to the Church on the Hill, the cemetery and the Joseph Haltrich High School (a.k.a. “School from the Hill”).
Church on the Hill (“Biserica din Deal”)– Lutheran church in late Gothic style, contains many frescoes and a crypt. Close to the cemetery on the side of the hill, which contains many German tombstones.
The fortified church of Biertan has been nominated World Heritage Site by the UNESCO. It is about 30 km away from Sighisoara.
Although all these images show you empty streets, remember that Sighisoara usually looks like this:
Sighisoara is a medieval citadel, still inhabited, populated with your, vibrant and bohemian travelers, who know good music and good fun.