Sibiu, Romania

Introducing one of the most wonderful cities from my home country, the spell-binding Sibiu (Romanian),or Nagyszeben (Hungarian)! The city is situated”in the heart of the country”, almost in the geographical center of Romania. It is known for being the capital of Transylvania between 1692 and 1791 . It was also the cultural and commercial center of Transylvanian Saxons . In 2007 Sibiu was proclaimed European Capital of Culture, together with Luxemburg and was entitled “Europe’s 8th most idyllic place to live” by Forbes Magazine. The city’s symbol is the more than ravishing Sibiu Fortress, dated from the early 12th century. The fortress fits in perfectly with the Historical Center and gives a medieval vibe to the city.

Situated in the Cibin Depression, it lies at a 20 kilometers distance from the Făgăras Mountains (the mountain in which sets the highest peak in the country, Peak Moldoveanu at 2544 meters) and 12 kilometers from the Cibin Mountains, so the city is basically surrounded by mountains, offering tourists and inhabitants a breathtaking view every day. Sibiu is crossed by the Cibin river, and its eastern limit consists of  Küküllő (Târnavelor) Plateau.

View from the tower, Sibiu

View from the tower, Sibiu

I know that Romania lies in the Eastern Part of Europe, and some of you think that it is hard to reach-but you’re wrong! Sibiu even has its International Airport, so whether you’re flying in from a long distance, or you are a neighbor-country, you can easily fly in, even with some low-cost jets, with prices that might surprise you. If you prefer luxury, the flights won’t disappoint you! You will find something for your taste and preferences. For all you train-lovers out there-don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about you! Luckily for you, Romania has a very developed railway system, so you can get from Sibiu to practically every city in the country. A lot of people travel by train, but I warn you-hygiene is not exactly thought of in some trains. However, I hope you can find a clean one, based on your travel intentions. If you’d like to travel by bus, that is also possible (from other cities or from other countries as well). Larger companies which have international routes from and to Sibiu, among others are Atlassib and Eurolines, both very popular in European travel choices. But of all the means of transportation that exist, I would strongly advise a road trip by car. Otherwise, you won’t drive through the breathtaking mountains or see traditional (and, may I mention,  beautiful) Saxon houses and buildings-which means you won’t experience Sibiu on the whole. Even if fuel is a little bit expensive, the roads are great and you’ll always remember the enchanting sights you have seen.

If you’re wondering about accommodation, you have nothing to worry about! Sibiu is home to three world-famous luxury hotel chains, the Hilton, the Ramada and the Astoria. These illustrious hotels will surely live up to their reputation and standards and will offer you the perfect stay (for that price, they should!). Don’t worry if you don’t have tones of money to spend on accommodation only, because there are loads of other Villas, Pensions, Bed&BreakfastsGuest-houses and cheaper Hotels in which you can have the perfect stay. This said and done, I hope that from all the choices above you will opt for the best!

streets of Sibiu

streets of Sibiu

What do people eat here? There is quite an amount of Romanian specialties that I’d advise you to try. First off, almost every meal starts with a sip of pálinka, a traditional drink that is rumored to give you appetite before dining. It’s quite a strong little thing, so you have to be careful and don’t drink a bottle of it. Another “rule” is to drink it as a shot, all of it abruptly, because that’s the way it has effect. The best-known dish is sarmale, often served with mămăligă, which can be used either as a main or a side dish. Among soups, the number one is ciorbă de burtă, and the other favorite is ciorbă de pui. Mititei is very famous main course, next to tocăniţă de legume and salata de Boeuf. Among popular Romanian desserts lies cozonaci cu nucă (delicious walnut panetone). Traditional Romanian drinks are: beer, wine, visinată and vodcă.

If you’ve had your dinner, and you’d like to head out in the town for a little fun, Sibiu won’t disappoint! The nightlife is pretty active, loads of youngsters head out in the night in search of fun and distraction. The city is filled with pubs, cafe’s, bars and clubs, with a wide range of music and drinks, so everyone can find the one fit to their tastes.

Speaking of the main tourist attractions in Sibiu, I would like to start with a walk in the Old Town. The Historical Center has a very rich medieval heritage, which can take you back to a time when the main purpose of the day was to survive between the brick walls of the city. The ruins are more than beautiful and impressive, it’s definitely worth a walk! If oyu like museums, then you’ve come to the right place. Sibiu is home to the Bruckenthal National Museum, a museum of natural history, contemporary, European and Romanian art. Also, it contains the Museum of Pharmacy, because the first hospital built in Romania was right here in Sibiu, in the late 13th century. Another interesting one is the ASTRA National Museum Complex, a total of four ethnographic museums in Sibiu, containing one of the biggest Open-Air Museums (Museum of Traditional Folk Civilization) in the world. If you like mechanics and means of transportation, you should visit the Museum of  Steam Locomotives. If you’re more religious at heart, the German Lutheran Church Museum is the wise choice for you. Let’s stick to religion-Sibiu has a great number of churches and cathedrals, of different religions, and architectural styles, all worth visiting: the Catholic Church, the Evangelic Church, the Reformed Church, the Synagogue, the Ursuline Church and St.John’s Church. Most of the towers are also open to the public, and it’s worth the climb because the sights you see once you’re up there are bewitching.You can also walk over the Bridge of Lies, Romania’s oldest cast-iron bridge. If you like outdoor activities (and let’s face it, who doesn’t?), there’s a Zoo you can visit, admiring the beauty of the park and the mightiness of the animals. Sibiu is also home to one of the oldest parks in Romania, Sub-Arini Park (Under the Alder-trees), being founded in 1856. Nagyszeben also is the owner of the highest (1440 m) and the oldest ski resort in Romania, Păltinis. So if you’re a winter sports lover, you should definitely have a slide here! As you can see, Nagyszeben is full of life, so try to enjoy it and to gather as much memories of it as you can! If you’re in a situation where you don’t have the possibility to visit this wonderful city, you can take the Virtual Tour, so you won’t be left out!

Sibiu Main Square

Sibiu Main Square

Nagyszeben is a city with multiculturalism. The city is made up of different people: Romanians, Hungarians and Saxons all contribute to Sibiu’s greatness and delight. The people are very kind and helpful, so don’t be ashamed to ask any concerns that are on your mind.

Last but not least come entertainment and events in the city. Nagyszeben organizes plenty of events during the year. The most notable is probably the Sibiu Jazz Festival. Among others are the Sibiu International Theatre Festival, the Carl Filtsch International Piano Competition and Festival, the National Festival of Folk Traditions, the Craftsmen’s Fair and the Annual Pottery Fair. A lot of these traditions are based on traditional Romanian, Hungarian and Saxon customs, in which you can take place, so you wouldn’t want to miss it! Enjoy the city!

Fagaras Mountains in the Background!

Fagaras Mountains in the Background!

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