- PRICES LIST
- HOTELS (BEST RATED)
- HOTELS (BEST VALUE)
- SIGHTS & LANDMARKS
- THINGS TO DO
- STAY SAFE
Sibiu is a city in Transylvania, Romania, with a population of 147,245. Located some 215 km (134 mi) north-west of Bucharest, the city straddles the Cibin River, a tributary of the river Olt. Now the capital of Sibiu County, between 1692 and 1791 and 1849-1865 Sibiu was the capital of the Principality of Transylvania.
Sibiu is one of the most important cultural centres of Romania and was designated the European Capital of Culture for the year 2007, along with the city of Luxembourg. Formerly the centre of the Transylvanian Saxons, the old city of Sibiu was ranked as "Europe's 8th most idyllic place to live" by Forbes in 2008.
The city administers the Păltiniș ski resort.
|FOUNDED :||1191 (first official record)|
|TIME ZONE :||Time zone EET (UTC+2)|
Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
|LANGUAGE :||Romanian (official)|
|RELIGION :||Eastern Orthodox (including all sub-denominations) 86.8%, Protestant (various denominations including Reformate and Pentecostal) 7.5%, Roman Catholic 4.7%, other (mostly Muslim) and unspecified 0.9%, none 0.1%|
|AREA :||121 km2 (47 sq mi)|
|ELEVATION :||415 m (1,362 ft)|
|COORDINATES :||45°47′34″N 24°09′07″E|
|SEX RATIO :||• Male: 48.8%|
• Female: 51.2%
|AREA CODE :||269/369|
|POSTAL CODE :||55xxxx|
|DIALING CODE :||+40 269/369|
Known in German as Hermannstadt and in Hungarian as Nagyszeben, Sibiu has always been the centre of Romania's German minority since medieval times. Even today, it contains Romania's largest German community, and due to initiatives by the local government, the Germanic feel of the area has been maintained. Sibiu also has a significant Hungarian minority, remnants of Transylvania's past as part of the Hungarian Empire and, later, Austria-Hungary. Despite this, Sibiu is also distinctly Romanian (95% of the population today are ethnic Romanians) and manages to fuse these three cultures, as well as smaller minorities of Roma, Slovaks and Ukrainians into a city that is as wonderful as it is vibrant.
Today, Sibiu is one of Romania's cultural and tourism landmarks, attracting tourists due to its wonderful medieval charm, excellent views of the surrounding landscapes, great food, and stunning parkland. Sibiu today is also doing excellently economically, having an income per capita higher than the Romanian average.
Much of the city was reconstructed due to it being the European Capital of Culture in 2007. The people in Sibiu are much more relaxed and friendly than in Bucharest, and much of the city is pedestrian-friendly. There are even bicycling facilities (a rarity in car-obsessed Romania)
The city of Sibiu and its surroundings are one of the most visited areas in Romania. It holds one of the best preserved historical sites in the country, many of its medieval fortifications having been kept in excellent state. Its old center has begun the process for becoming a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004. Sibiu and its surrounding area have many significant museums, with 12 institutions housing art collections, paintings, and exhibits in decorative arts, archeology, anthropology, history, industrial archeology and history of technology and natural sciences.
The city also lies close to the Făgăraș Mountains - a very popular trekking destination, close to the Păltiniș and Arena Platos ski resorts - popular winter holiday destinations, and it is at the heart of the former Saxon communities in Transylvania renowned for its fortified churches.
Much of the city's aspect is due to its position, easily defensible, but allowing horizontal development. The old city of Sibiu lies on the right bank of the Cibin River, on a hill situated at about 200 m from the river. It consists of two distinct entities: the Upper Town and the Lower Town. Traditionally, the Upper Town was the wealthier part and commercial outlet, while the Lower Town served as the manufacturing area.
The Lower Town (German: Unterstadt, Romanian: Orașul de jos) comprises the area between the river and the hill, and it developed around the earliest fortifications. The streets are long and quite wide for medieval city standards, with small city squares at places. The architecture is rather rustic: typically two-storey houses with tall roofs and gates opening passages to inner courts.
Most of the exterior fortifications were lost to industrial development and modern urban planning in the mid-late 19th century; only four towers still exist. A building associated with newer urbanism of the period is the Independența Highschool.
This area has the oldest church in the city, dating back to 1292.
The Upper Town (German: Oberstadt, Romanian: Orașul de sus) is organised around three city squares and a set of streets along the line of the hill. As the main area for burgher activities, the area contains most points of interest in the city.
Grand Square (German: Großer Ring, Romanian: Piața Mare ) is, as its name suggests, the largest square of the city, and has been the center of the city since the 15th century. 142 m long and 93 m wide, it is one of the largest ones in Transylvania.
Brukenthal Palace, one of the most important Baroque monuments in Romania, lies on the north-western corner of the square. It was erected between 1777 and 1787 as the main residence for the Governor of Transylvania Samuel von Brukenthal. It houses the main part of the National Brukenthal Museum, opened in 1817, making it one of the oldest museums in the world. Next to the palace is theBlue House or Moringer House, an 18th-century Baroque house bearing the old coat of arms of Sibiu on its façade.
On the north side is the Jesuit Church, along with its dependencies, the former residence of the Jesuits in Sibiu. Also on the north side, at the beginning of the 20th century an Art Nouveau building was constructed on the west part, now it houses the mayor's office.
Next to the Jesuit Church on the north side is the Council Tower, one of the city's symbols. This former fortification tower from the 13th century has been successively rebuilt over the years. The building nearby used to be the City Council's meetingplace; beneath it lies an access way between the Grand Squareand the Lesser Square.
On the south and east sides are two- or three-storey houses, having tall attics with small windows known as the city's eyes. Most of these houses are dated 15th to 19th centuries, and most of them are Renaissance or Baroque in style.
Lesser Square (Small Square, German: Kleiner Ring) as its name implies, is a smaller square situated in the northern part of the Upper Town. After the 2007 rehabilitation there has been an increase in the number of small businesses such as pubs and restaurants in this area.
The square is connected to the other two squares and to other streets by small, narrow passages. The main access from the Lower City is through Ocnei Street, which divides the square in two. The street passes under the Liar's Bridge - the first bridge in Romania to have been cast in iron (1859).
To the right of the bridge is another symbol of the city, The House of the Arts, an 14th-century arched building formerly belonging to the Butchers' Guild. On the left side of the bridge is the Luxemburg House, a Baroque four-storey building.
Huet Square is the third of the three main squares of Sibiu. Its most notable feature is the Evangelical Lutheran Cathedral in its center. It is the place where the earliest fortifications have been built in the late 12th century or early 13th century. The buildings around this square are mainly Gothic. On the west side lies the Brukenthal Highschool, in place of a former 14th-century school.
The Fortifications of Sibiu made the city one of the most important fortified cities in Central Europe. Multiple rings were built around the city, most of them out of clay bricks. The south-eastern fortifications are the best kept, and all three parallel lines are still visible. The first is an exterior earth mound, the second is a 10-meter-tall red brick wall, and the third line comprises towers linked by another 10-meter-tall wall. All structures are connected via a labyrinth of tunnels and passageways, designed to ensure transport between the city and lines of defense.
In the 16th century more modern elements were added to the fortifications, mainly leaf-shaped bastions. Two of these survived to this day, as the Haller Bastion (all the way down Coposu Boulevard) and "Soldisch Bastion".
The Passage of the Stairs, leads down to the lower section of Sibiu. It descends along some fortifications under the support arches. It is the most picturesque of the several passages linking the two sides of the city.
The first official record referring to the Sibiu area comes from 1191, when Pope Celestine III confirmed the existence of the free prepositure of the German settlers in Transylvania, the prepositure having its headquarters in Sibiu, named Cibiniumat that time.
In the 14th century, it was already an important trade centre. In 1376, the craftsmen were divided in 19 guilds. Sibiu became the most important ethnic German city among the seven cities that gave Transylvania its German nameSiebenbürgen (literally seven citadels). It was home to the Universitas Saxorum(Community of the Saxons), a network of pedagogues, ministers, intellectuals, city officials, and councilmen of the German community forging an ordered legal corpus and political system in Transylvania since the 1400s. During the 18th and 19th centuries, the city became the second and later the first most important centre of Transylvanian Romanian ethnics. The first Romanian-owned bank had its headquarters here (The Albina Bank), as did the ASTRA (Transylvanian Association for Romanian Literature and Romanian's People Culture). After the Romanian Orthodox Church was granted status in the Habsburg Empire from the 1860s onwards, Sibiu became the Metropolitan seat, and the city is still regarded as the third most important centre of the Romanian Orthodox Church. Between the Hungarian Revolution of 1848 and 1867 (the year of the Ausgleich), Sibiu was the meeting-place of the Transylvanian Diet, which had taken its most representative form after the Empire agreed to extend voting rights in the region.
After World War I, when Austria-Hungary was dissolved, Sibiu became part of Romania; the majority of its population was still ethnic German (until 1941) and counted a large Romanian community, as well as a smaller Hungarian one. Starting from the 1950s and until after 1990, most of the city's ethnic Germans emigrated to Germany and Austria. Among the roughly 2,000 who have remained is Klaus Johannis, the current President of Romania.
Sibiu's climate is temperate-continental with average temperatures of 8 to 9 °C (46 to 48 °F). The average rainfall is 662 l/m2, and there are about 120 days of hard frost annually.
Climate data for Sibiu
|Record high °C (°F)||15.6|
|Average high °C (°F)||0.9|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||−4.0|
|Average low °C (°F)||−8.3|
|Record low °C (°F)||−31.8|
|Source #1: NOAA|
|Source #2: Romanian National Statistic Institute|
Sibiu is situated near the geographical center of Romania at . Set in the Cibin Depression, the city is about 20 km from the Făgăraș Mountains, 12 km from the Cibin Mountains, and about 15 km from the Lotrului Mountains, which border the depression in its southwestern section. The northern and eastern limits of Sibiu are formed by the Târnavelor Plateau, which descends to the Cibin Valley through Gușteriței Hill.
The Cibin river as well as some smaller streams runs through Sibiu. The geographical position of Sibiu makes it one of the most important transportation hubs in Romania with important roads and railway lines passing through it.
Sibiu is an important economic hub for Romania, with a high rate of foreign investments. It is also an important hub for the manufacturing of automotive components and houses factories belonging to ThyssenKrupp Bilstein-Compa, Takata, Continental, and NTN-SNR ball bearings. Other local industries are machine components, textiles, agro-industry, and electrical components (Siemens).
The city also contains Romania's second largest stock exchange, the Sibiu Stock Exchange.
The main industrial activities of Sibiu take place in two industrial zones located on the outskirts of the city:
- East industrial zone, alongside the railway to Brașov and Râmnicu Vâlcea
- West industrial zone, near the exit to Sebeș, close to the Airport
A commercial zone located in the Șelimbăr commune plays an important role in the economy of Sibiu. It houses a mall and other large retailers.
Another factor that plays an important role in the economy of the city is tourism, which has been increasing at a steady rate since 2007.
The following districts are part of Sibiu. Some were villages annexed by the city but most were built as the city developed and increased its surface.
- Historic Center - Divided into the Upper Town and Lower Town
- Centru (Centre)
- Trei Stejari
- Vasile Aaron
- Hipodrom I, II, III, IV
- Valea Aurie (Golden Valley)
- Turnișor (Little Tower; German: Neppendorf)
- Piața Cluj
- Gușterița (German: Hammersdorf)
- Viile Sibiului
- Veteranilor de Război
The Southern part, including the ASTRA National Museum Complex and the Zoo, also falls within the city limits.
Prices in Sibiu
MARKET / SUPERMARKET
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||€0.65|
|Bottle of Wine||1 bottle||€3.50|
|Dinner (Low-range)||for 2||€12.00|
|Dinner (Mid-range)||for 2||€24.00|
|Dinner (High-range)||for 2||€|
|Mac Meal or similar||1 meal||€4.30|
|Beer (Imported)||0.33 l||€1.60|
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||€1.20|
|Coctail drink||1 drink||€3.80|
|Men’s Haircut||1 haircut||€4.60|
|Mobile (prepaid)||1 min.||€0.19|
|Pack of Marlboro||1 pack||€3.00|
|Toilet paper||4 rolls||€1.30|
CLOTHES / SHOES
|Jeans (Levis 501 or similar)||1||€60.00|
|Dress summer (Zara, H&M)||1||€47.00|
|Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas)||1||€65.00|
|Local Transport||1 ticket||€0.35|
39 € per day
Estimated cost per 1 day including:
- meals in cheap restaurant
- public transport
- cheap hotel
81 € per day
Estimated cost per 1 day including:
- mid-range meals and drinks
Transportation - Get In
If you're not coming to Sibiu from another Romanian town, plane is an excellent option, as there are direct connections to Sibiu International Airport [www] from many European cities, especially those in Germany and Italy.
Carpatair [www], Transylvania's largest airline, offers daily connections to Munich, Bergamo and Treviso, and connections three times a week to Bologna, Verona, Rome and Stuttgart.
TAROM [www], Romania's national carrier, as well as LUFTHANSA [www] flies five times a week from Sibiu to Munich and also five times a week to Vienna. For those with money to splurge, there are also flights three times a week to Bucharest, even though you're better off taking the train if you're coming from inside Romania. There are frequent specials, though, so look at the TAROM website before deciding one way or the other.
Blue Air [www], direct low cost flights to Cologne, Stuttgart and Madrid.
- Sibiu Central (Gara Mare).
Despite Sibiu's location in the center of the Romania, it is quite a lot harder to get here than to other cities like Brașov and Cluj-Napoca, mainly due to Sibiu's location outside the main railway line which joins Bucharest to Hungary and beyond. However, train remains the easiest, cheapest and most comfortable way to get here. Remember, though, that from Bucharest, there are just two direct trains daily to Sibiu (one in the morning, one in the afternoon), but it is possible to make a connection in Brașov, as there are five Regio (local) train to/from Brașov (approx. 3h). Coming from Cluj-Napoca is much more convenient. The train schedule changes every summer and winter so it is better to check it online.
Sibiu is well connected to Bucharest and Cluj Napoca. From Cluj Napoca there are buses almost every hour, provided by Dacos, Fany and Transmixt, taking around 3.5 h. The buses are smooth-running, very comfortable and cheap.
Transportation - Get Around
Sibiu, a city of 170,000 people, seems quite large for its population, even though most tourists won't have to venture outside the conveniently-walkable city central area. In fact, try to walk as much as you can, as only in this way can you sample Sibiu's more remote gems, hidden behind lanes in the middle of the city and crooked, cobbled alleys taking you a step back in history.
If you need a guide to take you on a private and personalized tour of the city and the surroundings ask at Casa Luxembourg and they will recommend reliable people. Bike rentals are available also from the info centre at Casa Luxembourg.
By Public Transport
If you do need to venture outside the medieval city limits, the local public transport operator TurSib offers reliable services. These services may be useful if you're staying in hotels, pensions or homestays outside the city centre or would like to visit some of the wonderful villages surrounding Sibiu, for a taste of Romanian country life and stunning Transylvanian scenery.
Consider enquiring beforehand on the price of the journey from the taxi driver.
Cars can be rented from various operators:
- Auto Partner Sibiu, Str. Gheorghe Dima nr. 8, +40 369 80 10 60, [www].
- 321 rentacar, Str. 9 Mai Nr. 31, [www].
- GoodTime Rent a Car, sos. Alba Iulia nr.59, (+4) 0729106906; (+4) 0751514774, [www].
- Rent a car Sibiu, Str. Soseaua Alba Iulia, nr 10, [www].
- Raider, Calarasilor Alee, (+4) 0742 059550, [www].
- Tassid Rent a Car, str. Baii, nr 15 A, 0369566170.
Many small tourism agencies also intermediate for renting cars. You can find such agencies scattered throughout the city centre.
Bike rentals are available also from the info centre at Casa Luxembourg on Piața Mică. Guides bike tours are offered to explore the surrounding area by mountain bike, but the prices are too high compared to other places. You can also rent yellow city bikes for 15 LEI at the ivelo office, tucked away behind a parking lot on Piața Unirii. Ideal to venture outside the city centre to visit Cisnădie or enjoy the Natural park Dumbrava Sibiului.
- BEST RATED -
- BEST VALUE -
T-shirts and other souvenirs from Casa Luxemburg located in the Piata Mica.
In addition, there are tons of great souvenir shops around the old town if you wander around. There is a House of the Arts in the Piata Mica. It is a huge building right beside the Liar's Bridge and it has all of the traditional Romanian crafts you could want.
In the old town there are many restaurants, fast foods and cafes where tourists and locals can enjoy not only good food from the local and international cuisine but also good music and cosy atmosphere. The Small Square (Piata Mica) became in the last few years the best place to go out in Sibiu because of the big range of restaurants, cafes and pubs which also have terraces during the summer. The quality of restaurants and the service delivered is also generally higher in the Small Square as it is more for the locals.
When staying in Sibiu you should try the local dish "Ciorbă", a sour soup which has different variants with meatballs and/or vegetables.
The food and drink available in Sibiu is of a higher standard generally than the equivalent restaurant in Bucharest and is cheap by Western European standards, though prices are comparable to Bucharest. You could expect to have a good meal for two people with drinks and 2 courses for around €25 total.
- Crama Sibiul Vechi (The Old Sibiu Restaurant), .A.Papiu Ilarian nr.3. Celler/basement restaurant offering traditional Romanian cuisine at reasonable prices.
- La Cuptor.
If you want to splurge, dine at the Golden Barrel (Butoiul de Aur), the oldest restaurant in Romania, which sits at the end of the Stairs Passage.
Sights & Landmarks
- The Old Town The old medieval town is perhaps Sibiu's main attraction, and it is indeed very beautiful. Most of the buildings in the old town were built by German settlers and merchants who came to Sibiu in the late Middle Ages. Today, the buildings remain in very good conditions, and the streets are peppered with small, secluded lanes, corner cafes and wonderful churches. The old town is divided into two parts: theUpper Town, which contains most of the city's historic sights, and theLower Town, which is home to many charming buildings and cobbled squares.
- Turnul Sfatului. Climb the tower and get a panoramic view of Sibiu.
- The Citadel of Sibiu was, in the Middle Ages, one of the best fortified in Europe and today remains very well preserved. The towers and bastions of the area are well worth a visit.
- Stairs Passage (Pasajul Scărilor). The wonderfully charming passage connects the lower part of the citadel with the upper part.
- The Great Square (Piața Mare).
- Huet Square (Piața Huet). Home to a jumble of Gothic buildings and is dominated by the Evangelical Cathedral, one of the most beautiful in Sibiu. Here, you can also find the city's only fully-German school, theSamuel von Brukenthal Gymnasium, which shows the city's proud German heritage. In fact, Huet Square stands to be the most German of all places in this city which is as much German as Romanian, and, all the same, 100% Transylvanian.
- Brukenthal National Museum (Muzeul Național Brukenthal). Said by many to be the second-best museum in Romania (after the National Art Museum in the capital, Bucharest), the Brukenthal is a must see in Sibiu, containing 1090 paintings. The museum is named after Samuel Brukenthal, the governor of Transylvania. There are paintings from the Dutch and Flemish schools, Italian schools and, of course, German, Austrian and Romanian collections. The museum also displays Governor Brukenthal's own collection dating from the 15th-18th centuries.
- "ASTRA" Museum of Traditional Folk Civilization (Muzeul Civilizației Populare Tradiționale "ASTRA"). Is part of ASTRA National Museum Complex and with over 300 buildings in an area of about one square kilometer the biggest open air museum in Europe. Not only does it have interesting and very picturesque exhibits but it also lies in a very beautiful area with a nice view of the mountains. The museum is located about 3 kilometers south of Sibiu, reachable by bus.
- "Franz Binder" World Ethnography Museum (Muzeul de Etnografie Universala "Franz Binder").
- "ASTRA" Museum of Transylvanian Civilisation (Muzeul Civilizației Transilvane "ASTRA").
- "Emil Sigerus" Museum of Saxon Ethnography and Folk Art(Muzeul de Etnografie și Artă Populară Săsească "Emil Sigerus").
- Steam Locomotives Museum (Muzeul locomotivelor cu abur).
- Holy Trinity Cathedral (Catedrala Ortodoxă Sfânta Treime).
Things to do
- Explore Sibiu and the surroundings of Sibiu. For example the bathing resort Ocna Sibiului which is about 15 kilometers from Sibiu.
- Hike Fagaras Mountains and Cindrel Mountains.
- Guided bike tours around Sibiu.
- Guided enduro trips in the mountains, riding levels from tourist to hard.
- Go on the Transfagarasan road, that crosses the Fagaras mountains with dramatic views.
A local speciality is a "meter" of beer served in pubs.
- Club Liquid (Somesului str.) is a night club which plays mainstream music and was renovated in 2012. The audience is about 50 % tourists/locals.
- Undercover Society.