Sibiu is the residence town of the Sibiu county and lies in the Southern part of the Transylvanian plateau, on the main road that links Romania with Western Europe – the international highway E15. It is situated on both banks of the Cibin river, in a depression, having an altitude of 415 m. Here you may find a temperate climate with yearly temperatures of 8.9°C (-3.8°C in January and 19.6°C in July) in average. People living in the villages nearby still preserve their national traditional costumes and old customs. You will be delighted to enter in their amazing houses, to taste their food and to remain there a few hours.
Location map Sibiu
A brief history of Sibiu
The entire Sibiu area represented an important region for the Dacian-Roman living together because here it was considered to be the present Romanian nation’s foundation. Significantly archaeological finds of modern age established the continuously presence of the Dacian and Roman-Dacian people in several places of this county, such as: Sura Mica, Biertan and Rasinari.
The town was created on the fireplace of a very old human settlement (6000-1800 B.C.) and then there were found vestiges of a Roman center called Cedonia. Sibiu was documentary certified in the 12th century under the name of Hermannsdorf, then Cybinium and from the beginning of its existence was an important citadel. In 1292 it has been set up the first hospital from Romania. There were found documents dated 1376 that mentioned Sibiu as a very important economic town in Transylvania; there were 19 guilds, including 25 handicrafts : tailor, painter, leather, merchant, carpenter, wheelman, furrier, shoemaker, cooper, baker. That development of the Sibiu was a result of its geographical position near Turnu Rosu pass (which facilitated the trades with Wallachia).
1526 was the year of the foundation of the first Superior School called “Studium Generale Cibinese”. You must know that in 1528 in Sibiu was set up the first printing press of Transylvania. The intense cultural activity never stopped here. The building of the first theatre was initiated in 1778 in the Thick Tower. At the end of the 18th century, Sibiu had modern streets covered with asphalt. Sibiu was the second town in Europe – after Vienna – which had electric trams. It was a powerful city because clothes, linen, leather, weapons, luxury articles made from precious metals were produced here. Between 1703-1790 and 1849-1867 Sibiu was the seat of Transylvanian Princes. In 1844 it has been set up the Law Academy. In 1817 was founded the Brukenthal Museum, one of the oldest and most valuable museums in Europe. Towards the end of the 19th century, in 1875, Andreas Rieger opened in Sibiu the first machine plant in Transylvania. In 1921, it has set up the first footwear factory in Sibiu.
There are mentioned only a few important decades of its development through ages only to get up your interest for visiting this beautiful city. Today Sibiu is an important industrial and cultural centre, preserving an impressive medieval aspect which attracts a great number of tourists. Also the Dumbrava park (3 km away from Sibiu) invited foreign visitors to come and spend here a few pleasant hours.
People of Sibiu will welcome you by the rules of the traditional Romanian hospitality !
Sibiu has several famous museums that can be visited by the tourists :
- The Brukenthal museum
- The Museum of Folk Technology
- The Museum of History
- The Museum of the Natural History
- The Museum of the History of Pharmacy
- The Exhibition of Hunting Trophies
We will try to make a short presentation of each one of them, in order to show that it is worth your attention when you will be in the area.
The Brukenthal Museum
The construction of the Palace began in 1778. It took the name of Samuel Brukenthal, the governor of Transylvania between 1777-1787. He founded the basis of the present Art Gallery which is considered to be one of the richest collections of Baroque paintings in Europe. The old Western painting collection was brought together at Vienna, in the second part of the 18th century, already opened at Sibiu in 1790 as Samuel Brukenthal’s private exhibition and contained about 1,050 paintings. Under the terms of Samuel Brukenthal’s will, the Palace was turned into a public museum in 1817.
At the time when Samuel Brukenthal died, its collections contained 1,200 paintings, 900 engravings, 16,000 books, 17,500 coins, minerals and antiquities. Now the museum includes 1,617,176 pieces grouped together in several sections:
- The Art Gallery (with paintings from the most famous painting schools of Europe, such as: Flemish and Dutch, German and Austrian, Italian, Spanish and French, as well as Romanian painting )
- The Graphic Art collection
- History and archaeology
- Ethnography and folk art, folk costume
- Painting on glass
- The Brukenthal library
The Museum of Folk Technology
The Museum was opened in 1963 and occupies more than 400.000 square meters in a unique landscape in “Dumbrava Sibiului”. Here is shown the folk technical civilization of Romania. It is the epitome of the ethnic and cultural specific of the Romanian people and the co-habitant nationalities. Visiting this Museum you can find valuable constructions, installations, tools, equipment and traditional techniques which were used to accomplish several purposes :
- assuring the basic resources of nourishment (sheep folds, wine cellars, water or wind mills for making the flour)
- transportation (floating bridge on boats)
- creation of tools necessary for the wood working, stone carving, clay making pottery or special equipment for gold mines extraction or smith’s trade
- processing leathers and animal or vegetable fibers for household fabrics and clothes (furrier’s household-workshop)
The Museum of the Natural History
The Museum was founded due to the research activity made at the middle of the 19th century by certain scientists and nature lovers, grouped around the “Transylvanian Natural History Society” of Sibiu. You may admire here one of the richest scientific collection of the country, representing approximately one third of all collections of natural history found in the entire country, over one million of exhibits, forming several collections: botany, zoology, mineralogy, petrography and paleontology. The museum also houses an astronomical observation point.
The Museum of the History of Pharmacy
Sibiu had the first documented pharmacy in our country in the year 1494 and a rich pharmaceutical tradition. On this basis, in 1972 was opened an exhibition of the history of pharmacy, having 6,600 exhibits, which showed the development of the Romanian pharmaceutical technique. The Museum is placed in a building dating from 1568 and situated in the oldest part of the town. The building has Gothic and Renaissance traits. Around the year 1600 it housed “The Black Bear” pharmacy, one of the oldest in the country. The exhibition follows the lay-out of a classic pharmacy, that is officinal and a laboratory, to which were added a sector of homeopathy and one of documentation. It contains many utensils, instruments, vessels, preparations and substances, illustrating the evolution of pharmaceutical science and technology in Romania. The equipment and laboratory utensils, as well as the homeopathic preparations came from a homeopathic pharmacy, that was still in business at the beginning of the 20th century.
The Exhibition of Hunting Trophies
The exhibition illustrates the evolution of weapons and hunting tools throughout time and it emphasizes the rich game and valuable trophies found in Romania. You may find here a collection of exotic trophies: antelopes, gazelles, zebras, rhinos, as well as African weapons. You will never forget the impressive view of the beautiful trophies of bear, deer, chamois that can be found in the mountains of our country.
Other interesting places in Sibiu
1. The Universal Ethnography Museum “Franz Binder”
This Museum was inaugurated in 1993 and presents pieces of African and Oriental cultures. The permanent collection “From the culture and art of the world’s people” has exhibits such as : wood, stone and ivory statues, African masks, straw objects, clothes pieces, jewels and weapons.
2. The Tower of the City Council.
It is itself a monument of Medieval architecture and it was the entry gate of the second belt of fortifications of the city. Partially collapsed in 1586, it was rebuilt later in 1588. In 1826 another floor was added and the roof was changed to the form that it still has today. You will be delighted to admire the panorama of the Sibiu from the top level of the Tower.
3. The Old Churches
One of the most interesting objectives that worth to be visited are the old churches. The most representative of them are :
- Biertan Fortified Church
It is one of the most imposing medieval defense buildings in Transylvania, built in Gothic style. The architectural ensemble is constituted of three walls strengthened by towers and bastions which shelter the church, build between 1550-1552.
- The Church of Cisnadioara
Built in 1223 it is one of the oldest ecclesiastic buildings in Transylvania.
- The Evangelic Church
It was built in the 14th century on the place of an old Roman church and owns an old organ dated 1672. On the north wall of the choir, you may admire a fresco painted by Johannes Rosenau which was renovated in 1650 by Georg Herman.
Famous health resorts
The Sibiu county has some beautiful resorts too. Here there are a few details about them. But you must see them with your own eyes!!!!
The “Ocna Sibiului” resort
It is situated at 14 km away from Sibiu in a picturesque hillock landscape. It has a 410 m in altitude and a mild temperate climate. The lakes have been formed by the flooding of six old salt mines. First documentary mention of this town was in 1309. At the beginning of 1820, there have been done researches concerning the properties of the salty lakes that you can find here. The resort was officially opened in 1858. The “Ocna Sibiului” spa has one of the saltiest lakes in Europe. The salt water and the medicinal mud are used for internal and external treatment. For internal treatment there are special areas for warm bathes, mud packing, and aerosols.
The “Paltinis” resort
Paltinis is a permanent resort placed at 1,442 m in altitude having a diverse mountainous landscape. It is considered to be the highest resort of Romania. You may enjoy the time spent on the skiing paths, or the view seen from the telechair and teleski. The very strong ozone air is recommended for lung diseases and states of stress.
The “Bazna” resort
This is a permanent resort at 72 km of Sibiu. The curative value of the mineral springs were well-known since the 18th century. The first watering establishment was built in 1814 by the Evangelic Church. Here can be treated several diseases such as rheumatism in a balneary settlement and a balneary polyclinic.