Visit Sibiu: The Old Capital of the Transylvanian Saxons

Diana Condrea
Diana Condrea
Diana is a tourism consultant, tour guide, travel writer and amateur photographer. You can find Diana on LinkedIn

If you’re planning to visit Sibiu, you’re in for one of the best travel experiences in Romania. For many, this small city is the most beautiful in Transylvania and a great starting point for taking day trips to fortified churches, castles, and hiking destinations.

If you’re planning a longer trip, Fagaras Mountains are only a few kilometers away and so are many villages where you can enjoy typical rural life.

Visit Sibiu if you want to experience the magic of Transylvania and a great destination no matter the season.

Discover also our Sibiu Walking Tour

Best things to do in Sibiu

Couple kissing in Huet Square

Before you visit Sibiu, don’t forget to check our guide to the best things to do and places to see.

Sibiu back in the day of the German colonists

The city was founded around 1150 under the Latin name ‘Villa Hermani’, in the area of today’s Lower Town. It extended gradually to the Upper Town once the construction of the Evangelical Church began. The German colonists who settled in the southeast of Transylvania starting in the 12th century had a key role in developing the city, making it one of the richest in the region.

Commerce and craftsmen guilds flourished and the wealth of the city was soon protected by four layers of fortifications built between the 13th and 15th centuries.

Visit Sibiu

The Evangelical Church, Huet Square

Sibiu was also a powerful political center as it subordinated all the lands inhabited by the colonists. It was the headquarters of the Evangelical Church and of the Saxon University, the central institution of the Saxons of Transylvania.

The 16th century marked a temporary downfall of the city because of prolonged conflicts for power and control of the region between the Hungarian Kingdom and the Ottoman Empire. Sibiu only recovered its status at the end of the following century when Transylvania became an imperial province of the Habsburg Empire. The German affinity and loyalty of the city were key to obtaining new privileges. The governor, the highest representative of the Empire, was based in Sibiu as well as the treasury and the general commander.

visit Sibiu

The Large Square

During the Habsburg domination, the Catholic Church made quite a comeback in the city. The authorities even built a tall Catholic Church to purposely block the view from the Large Square of the Evangelical Church. Even so, the German community who represented the majority remained Evangelical.

The 20th century marked the city’s history

At the end of the First World War, Transylvania united with Romania, back then a kingdom. But, overall, the 20th century remained a darker chapter in the history of the local German community. The communists sent many to forced labor camps in Siberia and confiscated their goods and properties. In the end, the descendants of the colonists migrated massively abroad in the last decades of the past century.


The Small Square

Where to stay in Sibiu

Be sure to book your accommodation in advance. We warmly recommend the guest houses Rosen Villa Sibiu, Maison Elysee, Cetatea Medievala, or Casa Timpuri Vechi. If you prefer to rent an apartment, try Casa Hermani, Apartament Piata Mica, Hermannstadt House, or Central Parc Studios.

Travel tips

Step inside the former Jesuit college to see the statue of Saint Nepomuk.

Don’t forget to take photos on Aurarilor Stairs that start from the Small Square. The colorful and decrepit facades make dazzling backgrounds.

The souvenir shop from the House of Arts has reasonably priced authentic hand-made objects.

Alba Iulia Citadel is just a short drive away. Visit also the fortified churches of Calnic and Cisnadioara and the ruins of the Cistercian Abbey from Carta.


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