Nestled in the Carpathian Mountains, in the heart of Transylvania, Sighisoara is a medieval treasure and one of the most popular places to visit in Romania. One of Transylvania’s seven fortified Saxon cities, Sighisoara’s walled old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, filled with pastel-coloured merchant houses, decorative towers and centuries-old cobblestoned lanes.
Within historic Transylvania, a trip to Sighisoara is a journey through the stories of legendary counts, ancient trade routes, reformations and sieges that characterise this part of Romania. Furthermore, the faded elegance of the city’s facades makes the perfect, eerie backdrop to discover the legend of Vlad the Impaler, born in the city and later the inspiration for the story of Dracula!
If you visit Sighisoara, you’ll find surprises around every corner. From ancient guild signs, harking back to the city’s craft guilds of medieval times, to quirky murals, decorative clock towers and fairy-tale merchants houses. Sighisoara embraces its heritage of arts and crafts and is still one of the best places in Transylvania to discover local folk arts. You’ll find countless folk shops that keep these traditional arts alive and ancient merchants houses creatively transformed into cafes.
The walled city is small and easily walkable, made of up just three major streets. Therefore, a city break to Sighisoara is a great choice. Alternatively, many travellers visit Sighisoara as part of a larger tour of Romania.
A day spent exploring the colourful, cobblestone streets and cafe-hopping through the city is a day well spent, but there are a few must-see things to see if you take a tour of Sighisoara.
A symbol of the city, the Sighisoara Clock Tower can be seen from everywhere within the walled old town, standing guard over Sighisoara since medieval times. Built at the end of the 13th-century, but rebuilt and embellished over the centuries, the Clock Tower originally served as the entrance to the city but later became the Town Hall. Today, this beautiful, decorative tower houses the Sighisoara History Museum where you can trace the history of the city before heading to the viewing balcony to enjoy captivating views across the walled city and beyond.
One of the most popular things to see in Sighisoara is Dracula’s House, the birthplace of Vlad Tepes, more commonly known as Vlad the Impaler, one of the most important rulers in Wallachian history and a hero of Romania. Born in 1431, Vlad Tepes is said to have inspired Bram Stoker’s infamous Dracula character, an icon of Gothic fiction. If you travel to Sighisoara you can’t ignore the bright-yellow facade of Dracula’s House, which now houses a restaurant in its interior. Visitors can stop for a bite to eat and see the young Vlad’s childhood bedroom for an extra fee.
Another of the must-see attractions in Sighisoara is the Church on the Hill, known locally as Biscerica din Deal. Climb the 172 wooden stairs from Piata Cetatil to arrive at the imposing Church on the Hill, a Gothic structure dating back to the 14th-century. In the interior, visitors can admire pre-Reformation era murals, a Gothic altarpiece and Renaissance-era furniture. Outside, the atmospheric graveyard is the final resting place of numerous Saxon settlers.
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