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In the heart of Transylvania, surrounded by forested hills, is the beautiful city of Sighișoara. Colonized by the Saxons in the Middle Ages, the city shelters a mesmerizing medieval citadel built by German colonists. Attacked several times, the citadel managed to keep its fortifications and remains a unique place in Europe today. Added to this, Vlad the Impaler, who was the inspiration for the character Dracula, was born in Sighișoara. Here are 10 good reasons to visit this Transylvanian pearl.
Since its construction by the Saxon colonists in the thirteenth century, Sighișoara’s citadel has been incessantly inhabited even to this day. Included on the UNESCO Heritage List, the citadel is an outstanding illustration of a fortified medieval town, as well as a remarkable testimony of the Transylvanian Saxon’s culture, expressed through its superb architecture. You’ll love wandering through its small, cobbled streets, while admiring its centuries-old churches and towers.
Dressed in medieval clothes, beating his drum, Dorin Stanciu has become a true ambassador of Sighișoara’s citadel. He takes tourists through the citadel every day on a unique guided tour. The story of the site is told like a poem, in the rhythm of his drum. He is sometimes accompanied by one of the citadel’s guardians and one of its beautiful ladies. You might be surprised to hear a welcome word in your own language, as the Drummer of Sighișoara knows no less than 55. Visitors witness a re-enactment of the old times, as they become totally immersed in the story of Sighișoara.
Sighișoara has yet to see a visitor that hasn’t heard about the legends of Dracula and its bond with Transylvania. Associated with the cruel Wallachian ruler Vlad the Impaler, Dracula’s myth is given life by Vlad’s historic bloodthirst. In Sighișoara, you can visit the house where Vlad the Impaler, son of Vlad Dracul, was born. The name Dracul actually comes from the Order of the Dragon, of which Vlad’s father was a part of.
Sighișoara is not only famous for its medieval ambiance, but also for being the place where the film A Farewell to Fools was shot. During the Second World War, in Nazi-occupied Romania, a young boy, Alex (interpreted by Romanian actor Bogdan Iancu), and his fool friend, Ipu (interpreted by Gerard Depardieu), live a day and a night of amusing misadventures. In the movie you can spot the streets of Sighișoara Citadel, as well as the towers’ interiors.
Sighișoara is one of the most romantic cities in Romania, a charming place with heart melting settings and an ambiance that seduces every traveller. It is the perfect place to spend a romantic weekend and even a honeymoon, as it is filled with wonder and whimsy. Stroll along its cobbled streets, among its beautifully coloured houses and let yourself get carried away by the historic craftsmanship, the talented tradesmen and beautifully dressed ladies selling wares in the markets.
Once in Sighișoara, plenty of colours will appear before your eyes. From blue to green to orange, every house is painted in a different colour, creating a vivid mosaic. Beautifully decorated and very well preserved, the houses create a picturesque scene that delights photographers. Among these homes is a peculiar house known as Casa cu Cerb, which surprises passersby with a sculpted deer that seems to be trapped in the building’s walls.
One of the city’s symbols and an iconic building of Romania is the Clock Tower of Sighișoara’s citadel. This is a place of wonders. Housing the history museum, the Clock Tower becomes more and more interesting with each floor. The last one awaits with marvellous views that will steal your gaze and captivate your heart.
With a tradition in craft-making, the locals from Sighișoara are talented artisans and create wonderful homemade objects. From wood-carved cutlery and small statues to beautifully painted ceramics and traditional clothes, the little shops and workshops in the citadel are filled with wonderful handicraft products. Don’t miss the Traditional Art Gallery, a meeting place for local artisans and a fascinating exhibition of artworks.
In the last weekend of July, centuries-old tales are brought back to life in the citadel’s streets during the Sighișoara Medieval Festival. Each year comes with a new story written by brave knights, admirable ladies and storytellers. Local craftsmen show off their talents in pottery, carpentry and ironmongery workshops. Unafraid knights fight for recognition. Beautiful ladies dance for the crowd’s delight. Medieval music and poetry float through the citadel’s streets. This festival is a fairy tale event that lures travellers from all over the world to the last inhabited medieval citadel of Europe.
Book your accommodation in advance to make sure you don’t miss this magical event.
Sprinkled all over southern Transylvania, Saxon villages, adorned with magnificent fortified churches, fascinate with their exceptional patrimony and scenic landscapes. From Sighișoara, you can easily reach the village of Biertan by car.
Biertan is renowned for its UNESCO fortified church, which is among the most impressive and monumental of citadels. Inside, you will find a brilliant locking mechanism that closes the sacristy’s door. In the Prison Tower you’ll find a small room where couples were held if they had threatened to divorce, to prevent their split. For two weeks, they had to share one single bed, one set of cutlery and one plate.
In summer, Biertan becomes a gathering place for multiple events, including the Full Moon Horror Movie Festival.