Transylvania. Foresty hills, colored by autumn. A red roofed city spread against the hills and four towers that are peaking above the other buildings. I am talking about Sighisoara here. The small city, named Schäßburg in German and Segesvár in Hungarian, is a beautiful pictoresque town in Transylvania, Romania. Culturally, it is quite Romanian, but visually it just feels like you would be walking in some cute little town in Germany.
I am fast forwarding to Romania right now, instead of talking about Belgrade, where I ended up after my train ride. I didn’t make a lot of interesting pictures in the city and was there for just a day. Although it was very nice and should go back to explore some more (especially the night life). To mention Belgrade in just a couple of words: Hedonist hostel (that was a great one!), the castle, dinosaurs, Nicola Tesla, hunting for a winter coat (it’s nice to have one in november) and just generally being too tired to do anything else. Too bad, but better luck next time. Lot’s of stuff to do over there!
The day after that I had a four hour busride to Timisoara and a six hour trainride to Cluj-Napoca in the north of Romania an ended up there in the middle of the night. Cluj-Napoca is known for its night life, so because I missed a it in Belgrade, I had to explore Cluj at night. I went with a couple of guys from the hostel and had a really nice night actually. Didn’t make a lot of pictures as well, so I just leave it like this. (:
Sighisoara then. My original plan was to go to Maramures after Cluj, in the upper part of the country, but I had the idea there wouldn’t be a lot of people around, so I went to Sighisoara first as it was my birthday weekend. The city was on my list as one of the main attractions of Romania and as soon as I arrived I knew why. Such a lovely city! As I am very fond of German cities like Rothenburg ob der Tauber, I immediately fell in love with this city as well. The cute coloured houses, the red roofs, the small cobbled streets…I felt like I just walked around some town in Germany indeed.
So, as for architecture the German influences are quite big here. Together with three other cities in Transylvania, Brasov, Cluj-Napoca and Sibiu, is is a part of the Siebenburgen. Everywhere you go in these cities you hear about the German influences. Thruth is that not only the German influences are important, but also the Austro-Hungarian period and culture played a big part in this region. Somehow there is not much information given about that while you are there in my experience. If you are interested, on Britanicca (I love that website!) there is some information about the history of the town.
There are a couple of interesting things to see in the citadel:
1. Of course, the walled city iself. It’s very nice to just wander around the cobbled streets of the city.
2. Climb the clock tower. On top there is a beautiful view over the city. And there are some creepy looking dolls as well (see pictures).
3. Visit the birthplace of Vlad Tepes (also known as Vlad Dracul or Dracula of course). It is very cheesy actually. That’s why it was fun to visit I guess. (: And no, I am not going to tell what’s happening there. Personally I don’t think it is his actual birthhouse, though. It has a nice looking restaurant as well.
4. Walk the Schoolboy’s Stairs (see pic), a covered stairway to the church on the hill.
5. Up on the hill you can visit the church (with some pretty murals inside), but also the beautiful German graveyard. Especially in Autumn very nice!
6. Look for the statue of Vlad Tepes. Not the most special statue in the world, but I noticed someone put on dried roses on there (see pic). Very perculiar. Who did this? And why? Are they proud that he was born there? Is he still seen as a hero? Tried to ask some locals about it, but didn’t get a clear answer unfortunately.
On top of the hill, you can find a church with next to it a big German graveyard. It looked very nice in autumn so I had to take a couple of pictures of it. Graveyards and autumn. They go so well together.
Sighisoara by night
Somehow I love taking nightly walks in the dark. Everything is so peaceful and it just feels like you have the place to yourself. In Sighisoara I just had to fullfill a travel dream for my former goth self, so on november 6th I made a nice long walk through Sighisoara at night. It was the evening before my birthday, it was full moon and nobody was around. I treated myself on a meal in the Dracula restaurant (which looks very nice by the way!) beforehand, so after that I was in the mood to do some Strigoi huntin’. The city looked beautiful with all the street lights.
I wanted to try to get to the graveyard, but all the gates were closed unfortunately. When I did find some kind of entrance where I could squeeze myself in, I heard a strange noise at the same time. It was some sort of hammering sound and a couple of seconds later I heard somebody laughing in the background. It was a bit scary and must admit that I gave up at that second and walked back to the church on the hill as fast as possible. So much for that idea. But the rest of my stroll through the city was very nice.
Who else likes to wander at midnight? (:
As it was very peaceful in Sighisoara, I decided to go to Brasov on my birthday next morning. That ended up in being a very memorable day! So the next part of my trip will be about that.