Most beautiful Saxon Cities in Romania

During the 12th century, following an order of the Hungarian Empire, Transylvania began to be colonized by a Germanic population, subsequently known as Transylvanian Saxons. Their aim was to defend the Hungarian borders in Transylvania. As they settled in, the Saxons influenced to a great extent the manner of living and the organizational structures within the Romanian principality. As such, there are now almost 250 fortifications and churches built by the Saxons from the 14th until the 18th century. The main cities inhabited by the Saxons, which also originated Transylvania’s Germanic name “Siebenburgen”, are: Bistri?a, Media?, Or??tie, Cluj, Bra?ov, Sibiu and Sighi?oara. The last four cities are rightfully considered the most beautiful Saxon Cities in Romania.

 

Bra?ov (Kronstadt)

This city looks as if the Saxons never moved out of it. A great part of its fortifications are still intact and are a solid proof of the way people used to live here. You should know that when Saxons inhabited Brasov, the Romanians were forced to live outside the fortified area. This contrast between the town’s two parts still lingers today: while in the fortified centre, you can admire great, massive constructions, in the neighborhood outside it, known as ?cheii Bra?ovului, you can see mostly simple, rural houses. One of the most impressive squares in Romania is the Council Square, surrounded by beautiful Saxon buildings, all differently painted. Next to this square, you can visit the Black Church, a Gothic monument, among the most important Lutheran worship places in the region. What I would strongly recommend, if you ever visit Brasov, is to climb on the Tampa Mountain (there is a cable car you can use but you can also climb on foot) from where you can admire a breath-taking view of the entire city. You would not forget this image too soon!

Sibiu (Hermannstadt)

The European Capital of Culture (elected in 2007) seems to have accumulated a great number of superlatives: the most beautiful & important city in Transylvania, the most impressive, the most “European” city in Romania and so on and so forth. Indeed, Sibiu is a place you would want to come back to over and over again. There are so many sights that you should visit that I cannot decide what to write of: The Grand and Small Square, The Liars’ Bridge, The Council Tower, The ASTRA National Open Air Museum Complex, The National Brukenthal Museum, The Lutheran Cathedral St. Mary, The Orthodox Cathedral, The City Hall…and the list could go on.  People look different in Sibiu, more calm and serene than the average Romanian man or woman.  And when you walk within its medieval, narrow streets you start merging with this city’s great history and traditions. A wonderful feeling!

Although Cluj and Sighisoara (whose centre is part of the Unesco World Heritage) also stand amongst the most beautiful Saxon Cities in Romania, I would recommend you to first visit either Brasov or Sibiu and then the other two. Whatever you choose, the beauty of these places will not disappoint you.

 

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