Sighisoara UNESCO Citadel
Sighisoara Citadel (latin, Castrum Sax) is the historical centre of Sighisoara city (German, Schäßburg - Schassburg or Schäsbrich), located 90 km away from Sibiu city. It was build in the 12th century by Saxon colonists and has maintained its original structure almost unchanged until today. It is part of UNESCO heritage since 1999, encompassing a rich history which illustrates the dominance of Saxon and Szekel colonies in the area.
This is why we included Sighisoara on our list of Transylvania must see sights - check the full list!
While its first written documentation dates back to 1298, its existence goes far beyond this date. More specific, the historian Georgius Kraus places the beginnings of Sighisoara citadel around 1191, being tightly bound to the presence of a royal “castrum”, served by Szekel military. After this date, the Saxons established a seat here and started building the medieval city - the current name of Sighisoara comes from a Romanian adjustment of the Hungarian "Segesvár".
The oldest preserved constructions are: The church of the old Dominican Monastery (13th-15th century) and the Hill Church (13th-16th century). Most of the houses within the citadel date back since the 17th-19th century, having suffered some changes since their original establishment. The fortifications were build around the 14th-17th century.
The citadel is surrounded by a 930m wall, build initially to serve as protection against Turkish attacks - the initial defence wall had 14 towers and 4 ramparts, out of which 9 towers and 3 ramparts were maintained until today. The towers had served as residences for various craftsmanship’s, evidence by the name of the towers - Clock tower, Butcher Tower, Skinners Tower.
The most important and imposing tower, the Clock Tower, was preserved in a very good shape and serves today as Sighisoara’s history museum.
An important part of Sighisoara’s history is tightly bound to the connection with the Draculesti family and the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler who is undoubtedly one of the most famous Romanians.
Born around 1431, Vlad, the future famous Vlad Tepes, the Romanian prince which inspired Bram Stoker for his famous novel Dracula. But, beware, as there is a lot of confusion and falsehood about Dracula legends.
Vlad spends his childhood and begins his education in the cosmopolite Sighisoara - the house where he was born can still be seen today and a very well maintained fresco on the building stands as clear proof that the building once belonged to the Draculesti family.
The citadel is also home to popular Romanian festivals such as International Blues Festival in March, the International Arts and Film Festival having as theme the vampires in May, the famous Sighisoara Medieval Festival end of July and german-inspired Lanternennacht (Night of Lights) in November and December.
Location: Central Romania (Mures county)
Nearest airports: Sibiu, Targu Mures, Cluj-Napoca
Places to visit
Start from: Brasov
Start from: Cluj-Napoca
Start from: Sibiu
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