Sibiu is an indisputable touristic location which is appreciated and which was awarded the maximum Michelin quotation – three stars. Because of its good quality cultural life, due to its functional infrastructure, its geographical position and the natural landscape it is situated in, due to the availability and efforts of the local administration, Sibiu is today an acknowledged touristic location which receives a growing number of tourists every year, a city having the resources to offer something to each of its guests, regardless of age or preferences. The cultural life of Sibiu has always been very rich, due to the creative spirit and the cultural effervescence which always defined the city. But starting in 2004, the cultural actors and local authorities have invested more in cultural events, creating an annual calendar of events which attract numerous tourists every year. [read more=”Read more” less=”Read less”] The Sibiu European Capital of Culture 2007 Program brought over 2,000 events and an exceptional cultural year, which led to an international fame which Sibiu well deserved. Hoever this was not the climax, but the impulse which the city needed to continue its development. The cultural and sport events calendar of the city contains a growing number of valuable events. Almost every weekend between April and December of each year, the public spaces and performance halls are animated by the most diverse events: from theatrical and musical performances, plastic art exhibitions, sports and events highlighting traditions to seminars and conferences. Transylvania is home to some of Europe’s best-preserved medieval towns, most notably Sibiu with its cobblestone streets and pastel-colorer houses; Brasov, featuring Old Saxon architecture and citadel ruins; and Sighisoara, adorned with a hilltop citadel, secret passageways and a 14th century clock tower. Tiny shops offer antiques and fine hand-made products by local artisans and artists. As a result of almost nine centuries of Saxon presence, Transylvania, located in central Romania, claims a cultural and architectural heritage unique in Europe. This region is home to nearly 200 Saxon villages, churches and fortifications built between the 13th and 15th centuries. Seven of the fortified Saxon churches (in Biertan, Calnic, Darjiu, Prejmer, Saschiz, Valea Viilor, and Viscri) were designated by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites. A visit to these quaint villages, placed amidst lush farmland and green rolling hills, will give you a taste of the long-gone medieval times. Romania’s collection of castles and fortresses perhaps best illustrates the rich medieval heritage of the country. While castles built from the 14th to the 18th centuries are strong and austere fortresses built mainly for defense against invaders, those erected beginning in the late 1800s are imposing and luxurious. The most popular include the 14th century Corvin Castle, built on the site of a former Roman camp, the elegant 19th century Peles Castle with its 160 rooms filled with priceless European art and, of course, the Bran Castle, built in the mid-1300s and legendary home to Bram Stoker’s Count Dracula.
The ASTRA Museum of Folkloric Traditional Civilization is situated in the Dumbrava Forest, at a distance of 4 kilometers from Sibiu. The museum functions since 1963 under the name of the Museum of Folkloric Technique and stretches over 96 hectares and an exhibition circuit of 10 kilometers in length. The museum hosts original monuments representative for the values of the Romanian village. Dwellings from various parts of the country, interior decorations preserved in the original form, peasant industrial installations, traditional means of transportation etc are displayed here. All the domains such as agriculture, rising animals, apiculture, fishing and hunting are illustrated by means of characteristic households such as sheepfolds, wine cellars, small factories, etc. The museum is structured in five large sectors including the related thematic groups. [read more=”Read more” less=”Read less”] Besides these sectors, there also exists a modern wood sculpture exhibition stretching over 3 hectares, comprising the works of renowned Romanian and foreign artists, inspired from the universe of the traditional village. Due to its new thematic concept, this museum in Sibiu became a true “museum of the traditional folkloric civilization in Romania”. The name “ASTRA” is due to the continuation, in all fields (heritage, exhibition, educational), of the valuable traditions of the first historical-ethnographic museum of Romanians in Transylvania, founded in Sibiu in 1905 and closed in 1950, because of “ideological” reasons.
The pedestrian bridge connecting the two parts of the Small square allows the link between the Lower Town and the Upper Town. The bridge is placed on a gate bridge belonging to the 2nd fortification wall. The initially vaulted passage used to be made through an conglomerate of buildings which had been demolished in 1851. The legend says that the bridge will collapse if someone will sit on it and tell a lie. In the local oral tradition circulates various legends about this bridge, legends about the lovers lies or those of the merchants that sold in the area
One next to another, the old stronghold towers gather round the heart of the city like a girdle of unflinching sentries. “The Red City” – that’s how they called Sibiu because of its red clay brick walls that kept the foes at bay. The fortifications watched over the whole history of Hermannstadt and these walls carry the city’s 823 years of attested history carved deep within them.
The Evangelic Church is one of the most impressive buildings in Sibiu. It was raised in the 14th century on the location of an old Roman church dating from the 12th century. The building is dominated by the seven level tower with the four towers on the corners, a mark showing that the city had the right of condemnation. With a height of 73.34 meters, the tower is the tallest in Transylvania.
Is one of the most famous monuments of Sibiu. It bears this name because 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.
Built by the Transylvanian Carpathian Society in 1894, Paltinis (German: Hohe Rinne) is the highest (4,724 ft.; 1,440 m altitude) and oldest tourist resort in Romania. A favorite for ski enthusiasts, Paltinis, with its beautiful location, fresh air, and numerous hiking opportunities, is also an attraction for summer hikers. Marked trails make it easy to reach the main points on the surrounding mountains. Most of the trails are suitable for mountain biking, as well.
After his return to Sibiu as the Governor of the Great Principality of Transylvania (1777-1787), the Baron Samuel von Brukenthal brought along his collections, and Hochmeister’s Calendar for the year 1790 mentions among the attractions of the city the painting collections including 800 paintings divided in 13 halls of the Brukenthal Palace. Over time the collections enriched both through acquisitions and donations. At the present, exhibits from the National Art Gallery can be found at the first and second floor of the Brukenthal Palace, which became a genuine Museum of Art.
The village of Biertan (German:Birthalm), first mentioned in an official document in 1283, is home to one of the largest and most impressive medieval strongholds in Transylvania. Surrounded by quaint streets and vineyards, the 15th century fortified church at Biertan is perched high on a hill in the middle of the village. Three tiers of 35-foot-high defensive walls, connected by towers and gates, encircled the complex, making the church impossible to conquer during medieval times. Featuring late-gothic architecture with heavy doors and double exterior walls, the church boasts the largest Transylvanian multi-paneled wooden altar and a remarkable wooden door which once protected the treasures in the sacristy. [read more=”Read more” less=”Read less”] The altar was built by artisans from Vienna (Austria) and Nurenberg (Germany) between 1483 and 1513. The door, a true marvel of engineering, has a particularly ingenious locking mechanism with 15 bolts that can be simultaneously activated by a key. The mechanism stirred quite an interest at the Paris World Expo in 1900. Couples seeking divorce were locked in the Prison Tower for two weeks. Sharing one set of cutlery and one bed, the couple had to make their final decision. In 400 years, only one couple decided afterwards to go through with the divorce!
Romania’s national roads network cannot rival the US Interstate Highway system but the Transfagarasan and TransAlpina, two unique thoroughfares over the southern Carpathian Mountains are part of any list of the world’s most amazing roads. Also labeled “the Road to the Sky”, “the Road to the Clouds”, “the Best Driving Road in the World” and even “A spectacular Monument to Earth-Moving Megalomania” the TransFagarasan climbs, twists and descends right through Moldoveanu and Negoiu – the highest peaks in Fagaras Mountains and in Romania. This is no pass through a gap but a frontal assault, a stark and spectacular reminder of unchecked power stamping itself on an obstreperous landscape. Also known as the “Transylvanian Alps”, the Fagaras Mountains are rich in unique wildlife and scenic hiking and biking trails. [read more=”Read more” less=”Read less”] Built for military purposes at the initiative of Romania’s last communist leader Nicolae Ceausescu, this dynamite-forged road connects two of Romania’s historic provinces Transylvania (the Center) and Walachia (the South) through a series of five tunnels, 27 viaducts and 831 small bridges. The TransFagarasan ranges in elevation from 1,630 feet at Cartisoara to almost 6,700 feet at Balea Lac. The road is below the tree line until about 5,000 ft. and then it opens up and reveals itself. Although it is the best-known scenic drive in Romania, because there are faster roadways that connect southern and central Romania, the Transfagarasan is still relatively unperturbed by the motoring masses.