What to see in Romania

Sibiu

Tourist attractions Sibiu

Sibiu is a picturesque city, situated in the Romanian region of Transylvania. Know for its charming Saxon-era architecture, dating back to the 12th-century, Sibiu sits in the shadow of the Cindrel and Lotru mountains, on the banks of the Cibin River.

A trip to Sibiu is a highlight of any tour of Romania, thanks to its significant role in the history of the country. Since medieval times, Sibiu has been a centre of Romania’s German population and has a distinctly Germanic feel to it, with its fairy-tale architecture. On the other hand, Sibiu also exudes a cosmopolitan atmosphere with a fusion of Romanian, German and Hungarian culture incorporated into one compact sightseeing destination.

Known as the ‘City of Eyes’ thanks to the eyelid-shaped windows of its traditional buildings, Sibiu has been an increasingly popular tourist destination since it was crowned European Capital of Culture in 2007. A visit to Sibiu reveals a city of sophisticated culture, architecture, gastronomy. Here you’ll find brilliant cafes, bars and restaurants, especially in the atmospheric Piata Mica, or Small Square, a favourite of the locals during the summer. 

A stroll through Sibiu’s charming old town reveals some of the best-preserved medieval architecture in Romania. Small cobblestone streets lead to spacious squares and narrow lanes are flanked by artisan shops and glamorous Baroque monuments. If you travel to Sibiu you’ll find that you can easily explore the sights on foot, although the locals enjoy cycling around the city. 

Things to see in Sibiu

Mosts sights to include on a tour of Sibiu are concentrated in the Old Town, which is roughly divided into the Upper and Lower Town. The Upper Town is where you’ll find most of the notable landmarks, whilst the Lower Tower is filled with charming architecture and quiet cobblestone streets. 

When it comes to notable buildings, the Lutheran Cathedral is one of the most interesting things to see in Sibiu. The most famous Gothic-style church in the city, it is known for its towering steeple and yellow brick facade. Having been a part of the city’s skyline since the 14th-century, the Lutheran Cathedral can reveal much about the history of Sibiu. Not only was it used as the burial place for mayors and nobility, including the former governor of Transylvania, Baron Samuel von Brukenthal, but it’s also home to the largest organ in Southeastern Europe. An interesting fact about this cathedral is to do with its four turrets, which surround the steeple on top of the church. These four small turrets once acted as a signal to foreigners that the city imposed the death penalty!

Named after the Transylvanian governor buried at the Lutheran Cathedral, the Brukenthal Museum is a highlight of any trip to Sibiu. Housed in a beautiful Baroque-era palace, Brukenthal Museum is considered the best museum in the country after the National Art Museum of Bucharest. Inside, you can enjoy more than 1000 works of art, from various artistic lineages from across Europe. It also houses a rich array of period furnishings and beautiful antique jewellery, curated into interesting and easy-on-the-eye exhibits. 

Also nestled within the Old Town is the Council Tower, a symbol of the city. Known locally as Turnul Sfatuli, this white stone tower was constructed in the 12th-century and has kept watch over the city ever since. The Council Tower is a highlight of any tour of Sibiu Old Town, located between two squares: Piata Mare and Piata Mica. Complete with a clock face and a black domed rooftop, if you visit Sibiu you can climb to the top of the tower for panoramic views of the city.

Finally, a trip to Sibiu is incomplete without visiting the biggest open-air museum in Europe at the ASTRA Museum Complex, just 3-kilometres south of Sibiu. Located in the beautiful Dumbrava Forest, this ethnographic museum is home to over 300 buildings, showcasing Romanian culture, public life and farming history. Its watermills and windmills are considered the most impressive attractions. 

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