Sibiu is located in the heart of Transylvania. The city of was founded by the first wave of German settlers in the 12th century, on the ruins of an old Roman fort. The city lived through dramatic moments during the Tartar invasion of 1242, when only 100 inhabitants remained alive. The centuries that followed were filled with Ottoman attacks and with rebellions against the empire. Nevertheless, the city went through a long period of economic prosperity and cultural development. Most historical buildings, dating from the 14th and the 16th century, are located in the Grand Square. Now are creating the atmosphere of a medieval German burg.
This is the location of the Brukenthal Palace, home to a vast collection of art and rare books. The city has a distinctive charm, lent to it by the numerous cultural events organized here. The best known of them is the International Theatre Festival. In 2007, Sibiu was named European Cultural Capital. This means that anyone who visits Romania must visit Sibiu as well.
A must-see place is the famous Bridge of Lies with its intriguing legends. Because the bridge wasn’t built on stilts, it was named in German Liegenbrücke, meaning ”the lying bridge”. This name was homophonic with Lügenbrücke. This was the reason why locals started calling it ”the bridge of lies” and that’s how the legends justify its name.
The most famous legend that goes around is the one where the bridge is considered of having ears. It is been said that when it hears a lie it starts to moan. After that, with an unimaginable force, it collapses and brings the liar with his feet on the ground.
What you can visit outside Sibiu:
ASTRA Museum: The visitors may explore the nearby villages, with well preserved medieval German fortresses. Also the breathtaking landscape. You can explore the places where the mountains touch the skies and the air is so fresh that nearly hurts those used with the everyday pollution of the modern cities.
CISNADIE (Heltau): Saxon market town with an attractive elongated town square dominated by a massive fortress church;
CISNADIOARA (Michelsberg): one of the prettiest villages in Romania. This small Saxon settlement has a steeply sloping square and is clustered around a steep, wooded hill topped by a small, Romanesque church. Local tradition states that any man wishing to marry a girl from the village had to prove his strength by carrying a huge rock from the river bed to the top the hill. There is also a museum here dedicated to the Saxon Transylvanians.
RASINARI: a pretty, shepherds village in the foothills of the Cindrel Mountains, reached by a curious roadside tram running through the Dumbrava Forest.
CRISTIAN (Grossau): picturesque Saxon village to the west of Sibiu, with an impressive fortress church overlooking the river.
SIBIEL: traditional Romanian shepherds village in the Cindrel foothills, known for its beliefs in witchcraft and an excellent museum of icons painted on glass.
SALISTE and TILISCA: traditional agricultural settlements known for their costumes and folk songs.
OCNA SIBIULUI (SALZBURG): small spa town offering salt baths and treatments, set amidst old salt workings, There is a very nice fin de siecle spa building which has been carefully restored for Sibiu 2007, and Saxon fortified church.
AVRIG: former Bruckenthal Palace/ manor with an interesting secret landscape garden.