marți, 9 octombrie 2012

Must see in Romania: Sibiu

Maybe not the biggest, but one of the nicest and most important cities not only in Romania, but in the all Europe, Sibiu was elected 2007 (together with Luxemburg) the European Cultural Capital, thus becoming even more popular as a tourist destination
Panoramic view of Downtown Sibiu; far behind, the peak Moldoveanu, Romanian highest, a favorite target for the trekkers

Sibiu has a rich history. It lies on Cibin River, and the Roman fortress in the area was called Castrum Cibinensis, but the first human settlements go back to the Halstatt age. In the XIIth century Sibiu (German Hermannstadt, Hungarian Nagyszeben) appears for the first time in a written document. After a massive German colonisation promoted by the Hungarians, Sibiu became a flourishing city, with 19 guilds, everyone of it having its own tower (not all preserved up to today). The German architecture is still present in the Downtown (divided in Upper Town and the literally Downtown), you will feel transported in Middle Age, somewhere in Germania or Austria!
The City Hall of Sibiu and the Bruckental Museum

The numerous German population was a majority, observed already to the first census after Reunification with Romania, from 1918. But during the WWII the German population decreased, and nowadays only counts 3 % of the total population. In the Ceausescu time, the communist regime promoted the Emmigration, the Germans were the best ware for Ceausescu export. Today, the Romanian population deeply regrets the lacking of germans and warmly welcomes they back. Amazingly, the Mayor of Sibiu is the repesentative of this minority ( Klaus Johannis is very beloved, competent, and was reelected more times).
Group of Norwegian tourists and guide Kjell Hagbarts in Downtown Sibiu

Due to its status as European Capital of Culture, Sibiu experienced a boom in building sector. Toghether with the German investments, results in a very prosperous city. Really a place to visit, and even one to live (according Forbes!). Don't miss Sibiu while in Romania!
Crama Sibiul vechi offers traditional Romanian meals

There is no time to boring in Sibiu, there are so many things to do. Walk in the Centre, from Piata Mica through Piata Huet to Piata Mare, observe the wonderful City Hall, fresh redecorated, of course. If you are an art  and culture freak, don't miss the Bruckenthal Museum, near City Hall. Walk further, near Hotel Imparatul Romanilor, the city's most atractive place to spend the night(s). Further, on Nicolae Balcescu Street, you find a lot of cafes and fancy boutiques, it is the city's most chic and expensive one. And if you are tired, I can recommend a Romanian restaurant checked by myself, with a group of Norwegian tourists, Crama Sibiul Vechi, offering traditional menu, while the waiters wear traditional suit!

If you have more time to spend in Sibiu, visit also the Museum Astra of rural civilization. If you are lucky enough, you will meet couples wedding in the church, or other folkloric festivals.

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