Sighsoara is a small medieval town, a gem situated in Transylvania. The beauty of Sighisoara lies in the well preserved buildings, but mostly in the day to day life of its inhabitants. It is one of the few remaining inhabited citadels in Europe.
In Sighisoara it is not uncommon to see old ladies coming back from bakery with warm bread. Or to see children playing in the street. Or lovers hiding in the small streets of the citadel. Life in Sighisoara continues now as it was with hundreds of year ago. What is the difference? Now you have a lot of restaurants, shops, pensions, hotels and coffee shops all around the citadel.
It is one of the most interesting experiences to stay overnight in Sighisoara and feel the heart and soul of this wonderful citadel. Sighisoara is designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, due to the fact that is a very well preserved medieval town where you can see and feel how the people were living hundred of years ago.
Sighisoara – a short history
The town was founded by Transylvanian Saxons during the 12th century and its name was at the time Castrum Sex. It was further enlarged in 15th
century. The first appereance of its name was in 1367 when it was called Civitas de Seguswar. The final name of Schaesburg (Sighisoara) appears in a letter wrote by Vlad Dracul, Vlad the Impaler’s father, in 1431. (By the way, Vlad the Impaler – Dracula, was born in Sighisoara…)
In the 15th
century the system of different guilds of craftsmen and merchants was very strong due to the economic growth. They contributed to building of a strong defense system based on towers and bastions and that’s why each bastion and tower belonged to a guild, which was responsible for maintaining it in good shape. You can still see the Blacksmiths’ Tower, Butchers’ Tower, Cobblers’ Tower, Furriers’ Tower, Ropemakers’ Tower, Tailors’ Tower, Tanners’ Tower and Tinsmiths’ Tower. The ninth is the Clock Tower itself.
What to see in Sighisoara
Sighisoara is to be seen entirely. Every building, every street corner tells a different story and the more you wander, the more you will be mesmerized by this citadel.
But, to give you a few landarks, here they are:
The Citadel Square
– In other times it was the place that hosted street markets, craft fairs, public executions and witch trials. Now you can enjoy a lovely lunch or a coffee at the shadow of a secular tree.
The Clock Tower
– The main attraction of Sighisoara point of attraction is the Clock Tower, also known as the Council Tower, built in the second half of the 14th century and expanded in the 16th century.
“One of the features of the Clock Tower is the beautiful 17th century, a two-plate clock, with figurines carved from linden wood, with one dial looking over the Lower Town and the other facing the citadel. „The figurines, moved by the clock’s mechanism, each represent a different character. On the citadel side we see Peace holding an olive branch, accompanied by a drummer who is beating the hours on his bronze drum; above them are Justice, with a set of scales, and Law, wielding a sword, accompanied by two angels representing Day and Night. At 6 am, the angel symbolizing the day appears, marking the beginning of the working day and at 6 pm, the angel symbolizing the night comes out carrying two burning candles, marking the end of the working day.
The dial overlooking the Lower City features a set of seven figurines, each representing the pagan gods who personified the days of the week: Diane (Monday), Mars (Tuesday), Mercury (Wednesday), Jupiter (Thursday), Venus (Friday), Saturn (Saturday)and the Sun (Sunday).
The spire of the tower ends in a small golden sphere. At the top, there is a meteorological cock, which, turned around by air currents, forecasts the weather.
This intricate two-plate clock has been working continuously since the Middle Ages.”
Source: Romania Tourism
Now, in the tower is hosted a very interesting museum with items from medieval age.
The Church of the Dominican Monastery
– The building was a part of a bigger complex, a monastery. The monastery belonged at the beginning to Dominican monks, but afterwards became a Lutheran church. You can visit the church and admire some beautiful items as a collection of Oriental carpets, the organ and the stone door frame. Maybe you will be there in time for a classical or baroque concert.
The Church on the Hill
– Situated on the School Hill, Church on the Hill is a very valuable architectonical monument. It was built over a former Roman basilica, and it’s construction lasted almost 200 years.
The Scholars’ Stairs
– A long stair made out of wood ties the citadel center with the School Hill. You can still feel the children running to school or the parishioners climbing slowly to Mass. Here it’s also the Museum of Weapons.
The Stag House
– One of the most representative houses in the town square, with a stag skull set on one of the corners of its façade and external mural painting.
The Venetian House
– Built in the 16th century, the house was later restored in Venetian gothic style with the upper part of the windows forming a three-lobe arch.
The Citadel Towers
– The half-mile defense wall was initially provided with 14 towers, of which nine have been preserved to this day.
The Lower Town
– The Lower Town, less picturesque than the Citadel area, centers around Hermann Oberth Square and Strada 1 Decembrie. Here, you can admire 17th century houses.
The other Siebenbürgen citadels are:
- Bistrita (Bistritz)
- Brasov (Kronstadt)
- Cluj (Klausenburg)
- Medias (Mediasch)
- Sebes (Mühlbach)
- Sibiu (Hermannstadt)