Often referred to as The Museum City, Sighișoara’s central Citadel remains a walled and elevated fortification that gave me the feeling of stepping back into medieval times. The streets remain cobbled with arched city gates. Towers than once served as lookouts now peer down over forested mountainsides. During medieval times, the towers were run by guilds, and thus the names Tailors’, Butchers’, Spinners and Blacksmiths’ Towers, to name four of the seven.
The central Clock Tower, with its pointed central spire and four smaller ones, was once the City Hall but is now home to a history museum. At the top and exposed through an opening in the wall, 15 figurines can be seen as part of the old medieval clock. Opposite the tower, a building with a golden yellow façade is on the site of where Vlad the Impaler was born and lived for four years. And at the top of the Citadel – which I reached by grunting up the 175 steps within a 400-year-old covered stairwell – sits the so-called Church on the Hill, a 14th century gothic structure.
“The Citadel is alive because 200 people still live in the Citadel,” says Transylvania tour guide Peter Suciu. “It’s not just commercial. People have houses here and maybe a garden. It’s a medieval place but it’s still inhabited until today.” Most of the buildings’ stone walls survived a massive fire in 1676, and the town buildings were eventually restored through the years – thus the town keeping its medieval character.
While in Sighisoara, I was a guest at this wonderful seven-room inn dating back to 1609 with medieval stone walls in the heart of the Citadel, right next to the covered stairwell leading up to the Church on the Hill. In particular, the curved stone ceiling over the bar and lounge area caught my eye – like that within an old medieval beer cellar. My room was in a separate part of this hotel reached by walking through a small flowered courtyard. Another interesting highlight is the old water well, also from medieval times, in the reception area and next to the bar. The building housing the inn was one of many stone structures to survive the devastating 1676 fire. www.fronius-residence.ro
Transylvania Tour Guide Peter Suciu
A shout out to the excellent tour guide Peter Suciu. I had the pleasure of meeting Peter in Sighișoara after one of his tours and chatted with him for an hour or so about history and traditions of the region. Peter is available as a private guide covering cultural tours and history, events, hiking and biking, and traditional villages, crafts and cuisine.
Because train connections are spread out throughout the day and my time was limited, I hired Adrian Stretea’s taxi service for the hour-plus drive from Sighișoara to Sibiu. His fare was reasonable and he speaks fluent English. +40 0740 688 312