Sibiu, Capital of Culture in Romania
During my trip to Romania, my second destination after Brasov was Sibiu. It was selected as European Cultural Capital in 2007. It is one of the best-preserved Middle Age cities in Europe. Despite it is thought that the first settlement in Sibiu was BC, the name of the city exists on written agreements in AC 1191. After its establishment, the city was attacked many times. Therefore the city was built just like a defensive castle.
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There are many first of Romania in the city. First hospital, first museum, first pharmacy and first paper mill of Romania were established here. First rocket experiments in the world were done here. First book in Romanian language was published in Sibiu in 1544. The city was also the capital city during the period when Ardeal Principality ruled.
The city is not very big. But it is a city to visit. If you come to Romania, do not return without visiting Sibiu. You can tour the whole city in 4 or 5 hours.
Places To Visit In Sibiu:
- Big Square (Piata Mare)
- Brukenthal National Museum
- Council Tower
- Biserica Roman Catholic Church
- Lutheran Cathedral
- Potters Tower
- Pharmacy Museum
- Liars Bridge
- Sibiu Streets
1.Big Square (Piata Mare)
As it is evident from its name, the biggest square in the city is Piata Mare. The square is listed on UNESCO’s “World Culturel Heritage List”. The celebrations, festivals, even volleyball games occurs here. It is also a meeting spot for many people. It is a nice place to begin your city tour. The places to visit are very close to here anyway.
2. Brukenthal National Museum
This museum in Piata Mare was built by Transilvania governor Baron Samuel Brukenthal in between 1778 and 1788. Baroque collection in the museum is one of the biggest one in Middle and Eastern Europe. You can see 1090 artifacts of that period by the famous Dutch, Flaman, German and Italian artists in the museum. Another interesting part in the museum are the books. Thousands of hand writings and ancient Romania and Transilvania books are shown in the museum. There is also the first press machine of Romania.
Visiting Hours: Wednesday – Sunday 9.00 – 17.00 ( Winter 10.00 – 16.00)
Entrance Fee: 25 Lei ( 1 Euro = 4,5 Lei )
3. Council Tower
It is thought that the tower was built in between 1224 and 1241. You can enter the tower through a small door. It originally reached to the upper floors of the tower but only the first floor remains today.
Upper floors of the tower collapsed in 1586. The tower then was rebuilt and used for different purposes. Throughout the history, the tower was used as granary, fire watch tower or temporary arresting spot. It was also used as natural science museum in the midlle of 18th century.
On the top floor, you can see the mechanism of tower’s clock The tower is now open for visitors and any artist can show his/her works here for free. The tower is a great spot to take pictures of Sibiu streets and the square.
Visiting Hours: 10:00 – 20:00
Entrance Fee: 5 Lei
4. Biserica Roman Catholic Church
Another place to visit in the square is the church in Baroque style which was built in 17th century. When you enter inside the church, you will see wonderful frescos and colored paintings on the walls and the roof. The church is decorated with colorful marbles and stone carvings. Inside the chucrh, there is a tomb of a soldier who was a commander in Transilvania.
5. Lutheran Cathedral
It is one of the buildings which became the symbol of the city. This church was build in 14th century and has a gothic style. It has a 73 meter high tower. The cathedral was renovated and changed many times until the year 1520.
There are tombs on the walls inside the cathedral. In 16th century, the tombs on the walls were renewed and blood red and grey marbles were placed.. These add a different ambience to the church.
Visiting Hours: 09:00 – 17:00, Sunday 11:00 – 17 :00
Entrance Fee: Free
6. Coopers and Potters Towers
There are many towers and walls in different parts of the city. But the most important ones which remained until now are Coopers and Potters towers. It is thought that the towers were probably built for defending the city in 15th or 16th century. The top of the towers are in an octagon shape. It is designed suitable for firearms. There are connecting lines between the towers in order to ease the transpassing.
7. Pharmacy Museum
It is one of the most interesting places to visit in the city. I had the chance to visit museums like this in other countries too. Even in Amasya, there is a museum in which we can see the method of producing surgical instruments and their using techniques in Ottoman period.
The Pharmacy Museum in Sibiu is the oldest pharmacy in the city and it is active for 150 years. It is in a building which was built in 16th century. In the showcawses of the museum, there is a collection consisted of more than 6600 parts. There are everything you can imagine: Microscopes, mortars, flasks, bowls, medical instruments and 300 years old writing which tells about the production of medicines.
Visiting Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 10:00 – 18.00, Winter Wednesday-Sunday 10:00 – 18.00
Entrance Fee: 15 Lei ( 1 Euro = 4,5 Lei )
8. Liars Bridge
You can find the oldest cast iron bridge of Romania in Sibiu. There was once a wooden bridge in where this iron bridge stands now. In 1859, that wooden bridge was replaced by this iron bridge. In the past, tradesmen were coming here and doing their bargains. Now it has become a meeting spot for the lovers.
How To Go To Sibiu?
You have to take the train in Bucharest in order to go to Sibiu. Another option is the bus. But since the train is more comfortable, I recommend you to prefer it. The train journey between Bucharest and Sibiu takes about 7 hours. When you arrive to the train station, you can go to the city center after a 10-15 minutes long walk.
Where Is Sibiu?
When you look at the Romania map, you can see that Sibiu is just in the middle, in a region called Transilvania. The city is 215 km away from Bucharest. It has a population of 150 thousands people.