Sibiu, The Wonder Of Transylvania
I never quite understood why travelers overlook Eastern European countries. Having lived in Lithuania for 5 months, I realised how much beauty was hidden between colorful narrow streets, gorgeous old towns, green parks and blocks with very old buildings. Eastern Europe rises from the ashes of its recent history, combining modern elements with urban architecture, unique cultures and unspoiled beauty.
Romania is a big country with lush forests, grandiose mountains, spooky castles, picturesque routes and friendly people. When I decided to travel to Romania, I wanted to see as much as possible. I have never heard of the city of Sibiu, so when I checked it after an online suggestion, I knew I had to visit it!
Sibiu lies in the centre of the country, in the heart of Transylvania. It is almost 300km away from Bucharest and around 150km from Brasov. We reached Sibiu by minibus from Brasov paying a little less than 5€ each. Little is known that Sibiu was originally built by Germans in the 12th century. (Originally named Hermannstadt).
What to see in Sibiu
Sibiu can be easily explored on foot; on the Upper town visitors will find the majority of historic sights, while on the Lower town you’ll get a chance to have a glimpse in the past with the impressive towers and city walls.
The historical centre includes the Great Square, Huet Square, the Stairs Passage which connects the upper town to the lower town, the romantic Bridge of Lies, the Goldsmiths’ Square and the Small Square. On our first day, we strolled around the Old town, only to experience its mystic atmosphere.
Piata Mare (Great Square)
The Great Square of Sibiu is the definite starting point of adventures. Surrounded by beautiful buildings (hotels, restaurants, museums), it is a great place to either relax, or start exploring around.
The Great Square in Sibiu.
Piata Mica (Small Square)
Connected with the Great Square via the The Tower of the Council, this picturesque spot is a great place to unload and rest your feet while on the quest to the city’s most known museums.
Turnul Sfatului (The Tower of the Council)
For the greatest city views, this is the place! The ascent might be a bit tiring, but the view is totally worth it. The entrance admission is only 2 lei= 0.4€. To my surprise, the artistic element was not missing, as beautiful artwork can be found on the last floors of the tower.
Nightview of The Tower of the Council.
Bridge of lies
The ultimate selfie spot that can’t be missed. The myth has it that the bridge was a meeting point of German soldiers and their Romanian girlfriends, promising them eternal love while heading back to their country. You get the point; they never returned, thus the name.
Couldn’t resist to a Bridge of Lies Photo!
Piata Heute & Lutheran Evangelical Cathedral
Reachable through Piata Mica, this small Square is a place with vivid life, while it hosts the majestic Lutheran Evangelical Cathedral & Tower. The cathedral that is as impressive on the inside, is home to a big organ. Additionally, you can visit the Cathedral Tower to enjoy more incredible city views.
Pasajul Scarilor (The Stairs Passage)
The Stairs Passage is undoubtedly one of the most picturesque places in the city. Built in the 13th cent, it consists of staircases & archways that connect the Upper to the Lower town. A place highly recommended for an afternoon walk.
The passage from the Upper to the Lower part of Sibiu.
Museums in Sibiu
Although there is a number of interesting small museums throughout the city, the two most known are the Brukenthal National Museum & Astra National Museum. Unfortunately, during my visit in Sibiu the Brukenthal National Museum was closed (apparently it doesn’t operate on Mondays & Tuesdays), so instead we visited one of the largest outdoor museums in Europe, the Astra Museum.
Windmills at Astra Open Air Museum.
Astra Open Air Museum
The museum is located about 3 km away from the city of Sibiu, but it is easily reachable by a local bus. The admission fee is free for students. The museum depicts the Traditional Folk Civilization of Romania. It contains houses and several buildings built as of the pre-industrial era. It expands in a picturesque area with two artificial lakes and over 10 km of walkways between them. A must see in Sibiu for nature & history lovers.
Autumn Colors in Astra Museum, Sibiu.
Travel Tip (1): For Romanian culinary experiences I recommend a walk to Strada Nicolae Balcescu, where you will find a variety of gastronomy: from fancy restaurants to fast food chains. Don’t forget to try plăcintă cu visine (sour cherry pie) from the local bakeries!
Travel Tip (2): For pub crawling lovers, great pubs are located around The Great Square. Make sure to try the local beers; you will be amazed!
St. Andrews Scottish Pub in Iancu Str. with Haloween decorations & some delicious Romanian beers!
Have you been to Romania? What are your suggestions? I hope this post inspired you to visit Sibiu. There shall be more posts about Romania. Till then,
No one can build you the bridge on which you, and only you, must cross the river of life.