Come and discover Transylvania! This article will guide you in Sighisoara: what to explore, where to relax, what to visit.
Sighișoara / Segesvár / Schäßburg / Schäsbrich
Sighișoara (Segesvár) is the centre and jewel of the Saxon seat, with must-see attractions!
What is a seat? A seat is a historical administrative area of Szeklerland and the Saxon region, referred to in Latin as sedes. It was used between ca 1224 and 1876. Interesting fact that these Saxon chairs were first mentioned in 1224 in King Andrew the 2nd’s letter of privilege the Andreanum.
There were 7 main Szekler chairs and later on 5 additional sedes filialis, and 8 Saxon seats.
In the case of the Szekler seats this is visible from the names of the sedes as well. The word ’szék’ in Hungarian means ‘chair/seat’: UdvarhelySZÉK (the region around Odorheiu-Secuiesc), BorSZÉK (the region around Borsec), HáromSZÉK (the region around), MarosSZÉK (the region around Covasna), just to mention a few.
Let’s get back to the Sighișoara / Segesvár / Schäßburg / Schäsbrich
Why so many names?
In 2011, out of its 28,102 inhabitants: 20,874 were Romanians, 4,782 were Hungarians, 374 were Saxons, 128 were Gypsys, 52 others, and 1,892 people did not declare their affiliation.
The Saxon architectural style, which can be seen here, is quite unique, it is worth paying attention to the high gates that are integrated with the house and have a closed courtyard. No outsider can see through that gate, it gives a high level of privacy for those living behind it. This gives us a glimpse into the social structure and customs of a closed society.
The centre of Sighișoara is surrounded by a 930-meter-long castle wall with 9 original towers, this is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here you will find fortified churches, a museum in the Clock tower, pedestrian streets and handicrafts.
Castle wall and towers
The 930-meter-long castle wall had seen massive battles, fires, plague, and several princes of the Transylvanian Principality were elected here.
Of its 14 former towers 9 still stand in their original glory. Each tower bears the name of a guild designated for its defence:
- Tinsmiths’ Tower (Turnul Cositorarilor)
- Butchers’ Tower (Turnul Măcelarilor)
- Bootmakers’ Tower
- Tailors’ Tower (Turnul Croitorilor)
- Furriers’ Tower (Turnul Cojocarilor)
- Ironsmiths’ Tower (Turnul Fierarilor)
- Ropemakers’ Tower (Turnul Frânghierilor)
- Tanners’ Tower (Turnul Tăbăcarilor)
The castle church dedicated to St. Nicholas stands on the hilltop and was built by the Dominicans in the 13th century. In 1350 a new Gothic Saxon church was erected to replace the old Romanesque church, rebuilt between 1422 and 1488. Its tower was attached in 1463.
The Clock Tower of Sighișoara was built in the 14th century. Until 1556 it also served as the town hall. Every hour silver statues of 12 apostles walk around the clock, the original ones were abducted in 1601 and later replaced in 1648. Today it has also a museum that can be visited. The landmark of the city is 64 m-high, the view from the tower is spectacular.
There are several smaller museums to visit. The Clock Tower and its museum is definitely worth seeing, as well as the torture museum, just nearby it. You can find information about museums from Tripadvisor.
Vlad Țepeș – the myth of Dracula
If we are talking about Sighișoara we have to mention Vlad Țepeș, yes, that one, who is called Dracula, tourist publications are filled with him, as He inspired Bram Stoker’s novel: Dracula, the Vampire Count.
Vlad Țepeș was born in 1431, Vlad Tepes, he was the son of Vlad Dracul. ‘Dracul’ means devil in Romanian. He was Voivode of Wallachia from 1448 until his death, and his rule was characterised with cruelty, constant clashes with the Saxons and true bloodbaths. Most probably for his torture techniques stories started to gain roots among his subjects.
If you wish to explore more in this subject alternatively, you can visit the area of Brasov and Bran (where the famous Dracula’s Castle is).
Depending on the season, it is worth stopping at Chibed (Kibéd) to buy onion and garlic wreath that are sold on the road. Not because the garlic will save you from vampires, but because this region is famous for their good quality, locally grown, bio onion and garlic.
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