Sibiu Romania

Intro

Sibiu, home to 170000 people and known in German as Hermannstadt, is the capital of Sibiu county and one of the most important Romanian cities.

Sibiu has always been known as being one of the centers of the German minority in Romania. Even today there’s a German minority present and the mayor of the city is of Germen descent despite 95% of the population being ethnic Romanians.

It could be argued that Sibiu is Romania’s cultural capital, attracting tourists as a result of it’s charm, landscapes, medieval landmarks and fine cuisine.

The city was European Capital of Culture in 2007.

Sibiu is doing a stunning job economically as well, being one of the cities with the highest economic growth in Romania during the past couple of years.

Location

Sibiu is situated in Sibiu county, Transylvania, central Romania, a couple of hundred of kilometres northwest of the capital, Bucharest.

The city is located on the banks of the Cibin river, a tributary of the Olt river.

Getting to & around

It is quite a challenge to reach Sibiu, despite its central location. This is due to Sibiu being situated outside of the railway line linking Bucharest with Budapest through Brasov and Cluj-Napoca. Train still trumps other transportation method in comfort and accessibility when it comes to getting to Sibiu though.

There are merely two trains from Bucharest to Sibiu on a daily basis and unfortunately Sibiu is not served by the fast and modern InterCity network of trains. This has to do with the above stated fact of Sibiu not being on the train path from Bucharest to Budapest.

It is much better to access Sibiu through Cluj-Napoca. The city is linked with Cluj with by two daily trains, one very early in the morning (05:41) and another one in the afternoon (14:57). The trip usually takes 3 hours and 30 minutes until completion.

Sibiu has its own international airport and this is a much better way to reach the city straight from abroad rather than landing in Bucharest and taking the train. As with many other Romanian cities, the Sibiu international airport is heavily linked with southern European and German destinations as well as Vienna in Austria. The main air carriers using the airport are TAROM and Carpatair.

When it comes to inner city transportation methods, walking seems to be a good option. Not only this will improve your health, but it’ll let you experience much of the city and even stumble over some unknown gems you may want to write us about to include on TravelguideEurope.eu

The public transportation system operator is called TurSib and it has under administration 5 trolley lines, 20 bus lines as well as a tram line to Rasinari.

The biggest passenger transporter is also based in Sibiu, Atlassib, and it offers bus links to major European destinations.

Attractions

The old city

The main attraction of Sibiu is the old medieval city which lies on a hill on the right bank of the Cibin River, 200 m away from it. Most of the buildings in it were built by German merchants in the Middle Ages. The buildings are in good shape nowaday and your experience will be enhanced with small coffeeshops and beautiful churches.

The old city contains two distinct parts: the Upper City and the Lower City. The former used to serve as a commercial center while the latter was more of a manufacturing zone.

The Lower City

The Lower City (“Orasul de Jos” in Romanian) is situated in the area located between the Cibin River and the hill. It is characterized by long wide streets, small squares and rustic architecture.

Due to the advent of industrialism most of the fortifications were destroyed in the second half of the 19th century, the only remnants that can be experienced nowadays being two towers.

The oldest church in the city, built in 1386, is located in this area.

The Upper City

The Upper City (“Orasul de Sus” in Romanian) is designed around three city squares and a couple of streets. It is situated on the previously mentioned hill. 

There are many more landmarks in it than in the Lower City due to the fact that it used to be an area for the upper class.

Sibiu’s Citadel

The Citadel of Sibiu was the best fortified citadel in Europe during the Middle Ages. It has been well preserved throughout history and you can enjoy it in all its splendor.

The Citadel hosts the oldest restaurant in Romania, the Golden Barrel (“Butoiul de Aur”) located at the and of the Stairs Passage.

Huet Square

Huet Square is the third in importance amongst the squares of Sibiu. The square is overwhelmed by the Lutheran Cathedral standing in its center. The buildings surrounding the squares are were built in Gothic style.

The Brukenthal Museum

Arguably the best museum outside Bucharest, the Brukenthal is home to almost 1100 paintings. The museum resides inside the Brukenthal Palace, an important Baroque building built at the end of the 18th century to serve as residence for Transylvania’s Governor, Samuel von Brukenthal.

The museum itself opened in 1817.

It hosts paintings from Italian, Dutch, Flemish, German, Austrian and Romanians painters as well as Governor Bruchental’s own collection.

The Large Square

The Large Square (“Piata Mare” in Romanian) is the largest square in Sibiu and serves as the center of the city since the 16th century. Almost 150 m long and 100 m wide, it is considered to be one of the largest in Transylvania.

The Small Square

The Small Square (or “Piata Mica” in Romanian) is, as the name implies, smaller than the Large Square (duh!) but it has a longish shape.

The square is linked with other squares by streets and passages.

The Fortifications

Sibiu used to be one of the most important fortified cities in Eastern Europe.

The city was subject to multiple rings being built around it. The best preserved fortification lie in the south east of the city.

All the structures are linked through several passages and tunnels used to serve as safe transportation ways through the city. Back in the 16th century the fortifications were enhanced with more modern elements such as bastions. One of them stands even today and is known as the Haller bastion.

Passage of the Stairs

The Passage of the Stairs links to Sibiu’s Lower City. It goes down near the fortifications, under their support arches.

There are several passages linking the two parts of the city but this one is the most beautiful of them all.

Outer city attractions

You can use Sibiu as a hub to explore the fortified churches of Transylvania erected by the Saxon communities living in the area. 

The city is also close to Fagaras Mountains – good for hiking – and the Paltinis ski resort.

Amongst other attractions, we have to mention:

  • The House of the Arts – an arched building who used to belong to the Butchers’ Guild;
  • The Luxembourg House – built in Baroque style, four stories high, used to serve as seat of the Goldsmiths’ Guild;
  • The Jesuit Church – former residence of the Jesuits in Sibiu;
  • The Council Tower – one of the symbols of the city; dates back to the 14th century and has been rebuilt several times over the years.

Accommodation

Please visit our page of Sibiu hotels to get further information on Sibiu accommodation or to comment or rate a specific hotel.

Sports

Sibiu is home of a football team named FC Sibiu currently playin in the second division. Unfortunately, more than a decade has passed since Sibiu had a team in the top Romanian football division, despite FC Sibiu being very close to promotion a few years back.

Another very important sports team from Sibiu is CSU Sibiu, one of the best Romanian male basketball teams.