About Sibiu

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 riches amassed by its guilds paid for the construction of both impressive buildings and the fortifications required to protect them.

Sibiu’s Old Town retains the grandeur of its earlier days when rich and powerful guilds dominated regional trade. Like Sighisoara and Brasov, it has a distinctly Germanic feeling. Sections of the medieval wall still guard the historic area, where narrow streets pass steep-roofed 17th century buildings with gable overhangs before opening into vast, church-dominated squares such as Great Square and Little Square.

Sibiu is a pedestrian-friendly city with two easily accessible levels: the Upper town, home to most of Sibiu’s historic sights, and the Lower town, lined with colorful houses on cobblestone streets and bounded by imposing city walls and defense towers overlooking the river Cibin.

A small selection of things to see in Sibiu:

Sibiu’s Towers (Turnurile Sibiului)

For hundreds of years, this walled town in the heart of Transylvania was one of the most powerful and prosperous strongholds in Europe. Surrounded by imposing walls, Sibiu’s original fortifications included 39 defensive towers, five bulwarks, four gates and five artillery batteries. Although the entire network is remarkably well-preserved, the best-maintained section is the southeastern side which has been reinforced several times throughout the centuries since attacks most often came from that direction.

Three 15th century towers have withstood the test of time: Harquebusiers’ Tower (Turnul Archebuzierilor)Carpenters’ Tower (Turnul Dulgherilor) and Potters’ Tower (Turnul Olarilor). The 16-th century Great Tower (Turnul Gros) was the site of Sibiu’s first theatrical performance, staged in 1778.

Brukenthal Museum (Muzeul Brukenthal)

Sibiu is home to Transylvania’s finest art museum, the Bruckenthal Museum. Founded in 1790 by Samuel Brukenthal, the governor of the province, the museum opened to the public in 1817. It is the oldest museum in Romania and one of the first museums in Europe. The art collection includes paintings by Rubens, Van Dyck and Teniers, as well as works of German, Austrian and Romanian masters. Additionally, it features a 16th century silverware collection, painted glass icons and 350 rare books, many dating to the days of the first printing press.

brukenthalmuseum.ro

Pharmacy Museum (Muzeul de Istorie a Farmaciei)

Housed in a 16-th century building where the oldest pharmacy in Romania, La Ursul Negru (The Black Bear), operated for over 150 years, this museum showcases some 6,000 pieces of medical equipment from the 16th to the 19th centuries, coming from chemist’s shops, medical institutions and individuals. It should be noted that Sibiu had more chemists than any other town in Transylvania. The collections of the museum cover the whole range of medical instruments, from surgical pouches, microscopes, different bowls made of wood, china, glass, bronze mortars, stands with balances and weights in the Viennese style to the oldest piece of the collection, a 1597 bronze mortar used for preparing medicines.

At the front, a reconstructed shop is decked out with wooden Viennese counters and stacks of glass jars creating the atmosphere of an 18-th century “apoteka” (German for “pharmacy”).

brukenthalmuseum.ro/farmacie

Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral (Catedrala Ortodoxa Mitropolitana)

Constructed between 1902–1906 on the site of a former Greek church, it shares a similar style with Saint Sofia Cathedral in Istanbul, Turkey.

The interior is dominated by a massive gold chandelier and features neo-Byzantine decorations. This is the second largest Orthodox cathedral in Romania (the biggest one is located in Iasi).

The original paintings of the church and those of the rood screen were made by Octavian Smigelschi. He was the promoter of the neo-Byzantine style in Sibiu, a synthesis between the Byzantine art and the Romanian folkloric art, inaugurating “the modern ecclesiastic art in Ardeal”.

catedralamitropolitanasibiu.ro

You can find more information about Sibiu on the website of the Romania Official Travel and Tourism Information Center.

 

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