Sighisoara is one of the seven Saxon citadels that were developed in Tara Barsei (Burzenland). Even if its history starts more than 1000 years before the Saxons, the place looks like it has frozen in time in the 16th century. Because of this unique aspect this medieval city has been named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
This rich, fertile land was inhabited since prehistoric times, but the first archaeological discovery of a defended settlement places it in Ancient Dacia. The records state the name of the settlement as Sandava (dava in Dacian language means city).
After the Romans came, the defenses of the city were converted into a Castrum; the name was adapted into Latin as Stenarum. This adaptation of the name was kept when the Transylvanian Saxon settled these lands – Schassburg (burg, in German means city). Nowadays, the name of the city is Sighisoara; one of the last medieval cities still inhabited in Europe.
Guilds and myths
The old city still has 9 towers, from the original 13, named after various trades which were kept in the city. The old cobblestone roads and the bourgeois houses give a medieval feeling to the city; each street and house with its own story. Many of them were lost, but we still have the one that connects Dracula’s father to this city. His name was Vlad the Dragon (or Draco) – father of Vlad the Impaler (Stoker’s Dracula) – and this is the city young Dracula saw in his early years. This is actually one of the few connections between the historical figure of Vlad and Transylviania – the rest is just fantasy.
Apart from the houses, the towers, like we were saying, make the beauty of the city. There is a tower for each craft: ropers, tailors, butchers, tinners, tanners, smiths, skinners and the shoemakers; but the most impressive tower is The Clock Tower.
Some places you must see
There are many areas to visit: the eery cemetery on top of the hill, the Church on the Hill and the Scholar’s Stairway – each time we visited this place, there was a violinist playing. But our favourite place is the Old Square – every time we went, there was a festive feel belonging to it.
This city is rather small, but full of energy. It gives the traveler a feel of Old Prague or Vienna, a Saxon feel. Nowadays the German population in the city is less than 3%, but their heritage remains.
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