Sibiu (German Hermannstadt, Magyar Nagyszeben, Latin Cibinium) is a county capital and the biggest city in Sibiu County. Sibiu is an important cultural and economic center in southern Transylvania.

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.

Novelties on Sibiu

Astra Museum in Sibiu is the second largest open air museum in the world. It has over 300 constructions, among which are windmills, fountains, traditional houses and many others.

In the collection of the “Franz Binder” Universal Ethnography Museum, situated in the Small Square of the city, there is an over 2,000 year old sarcophagus mummy. This astonishing exhibit was donated by Consul Hermann von Hannenheim in 1907.

Sibiu was the third electricity powered city in Europe, after Vienna and Timișoara.

The first official record referring to the Sibiu area comes from 1191, named Cibinium at that time.

The Journeymen House – unique in Romania; in August lots of journeymen wearing traditional costumes take part in a demonstration of crafts.

The Natural History Museum – second largest collection of exhibits in Romania.

Liars’ Bridge – connects The Small Square to the Huett Square; it was initially a wooden bridge, but the German name got transformed from the Long Bridge to the Liars’ Bridge; it is the first suspended wrought iron bridge in Romania.

The Evangelic Church – shelters the largest organ in Romania and it is the tallest building in Sibiu, with a tower that has a lot of city panoramas to show.

The Liar’s Bridge was the first bridge in Romania to have been cast in iron (1859).

Sibiu – European Capital of Culture

In 2007, under the care of the Sibiu – European Capital of Culture 2007 Program, Sibiu hosted 337 projects summing up 2,062 events – a kaleidoscope of artistic genres and directions for all kinds of public: from theatre and painting, music, film, dance, literature and architecture to contemporary art and gastronomy. The Sibiu 2007 Program events reflected the multicultural and multilingual characteristic of the city and gave birth to the slogan: “A city of culture – a city of cultures”. The cultural partnership with the Grand Duchy of Luxemburg meant staging 40 joint projects Sibiu-Luxemburg, proof to the European character of the Program.


The Council Tower Situated between the two most important squares of the city, more precisely at the south-eastern corner of the Large Square, the Council Tower has always been a symbol of the city of Sibiu. The name comes from its defense role within the ensemble of the entry gate of the second row of fortifications, situated nearby the building that used to host the City Hall (Mayor’s Hall), and attested in 1324.

Brukenthal Museum. After coming back to Sibiu as a Governor of the Great Principality of Transylvania (1777-1787), Baron Samuel von Brukenthal brought along his personal collections, and Hochmeister’s Calendar makes mentions, in 1790, that among the city attractions was the collection of paintings – 800 pieces displayed in the 13 halls of the Brukenthal Palace. In time the collections became larges by means of acquisitions as well as donations. Currently the first and second floor of the Brukenthal Palace host one of the most important European art galleries in Romania.

Grand Square is, as its name suggests, the largest square of the city, and has been the center of the city since the 15th century.

The Evangelic Church was attributed many features as time passed: in a journey note from the 18th century, it is described as “the most remarkable construction in Sibiu”, and the Sibiu native historian Emil Sigerius named it “a true memorial house for Saxons in Transylvania”. Today, The CA Evangelic Church is a symbol of the city of Sibiu.

Liars’ Bridge is one of the most important symbols of the city. Rebuilt in 1859 by Friedrich Hütte Company on the site of a former wooden bridge, Liars’ Bridge is the first cast iron bridge in Romania.

The Holy Trinity Orthodox Cathedral was built in 1902-1906 by architects Virgil Nagy and Iosif Kamner from Budapest. It displays the features of a byzantine basilica and smaller scale copy of the Saint Sofia church in Constantinople.

The defense towers and walls Fortification works in Sibiu had started in late 12th century. The first fortification was built around the current Huet Square. The fast development of the city and the increasing dangers of Ottoman attacks required the construction of the second, third and fourth fortification, which encompass the entire city. Later, these fortifications were reinforced by adding strongholds, and Sibiu became the most powerful medieval citadel in this part of Europe.

Astra Museum. The open-air museum in Dumbrava Sibiului exhibits the synthesis of the traditional folk civilization on Romania’s territory, making it one of the most important institutions of its kind in Europa due to the cultural heritage exhibited as well as the cultural and educational programs it promotes.

History, culture and architecture

In the area occupied by the current Gușterița district supposedly had been the Roman camp of Cedonia.

The first settlements in Sibiu area are believed to have been the Roman camp in the Gușterița district and a Slavic settlement. The town was colonized after mid-12th century by Saxons of Transylvania original from the Rin-Mosela territory. The first mention of the citadel was made on December 20th 1191 under the name Cibinium in a religious document issued by Pope Celestine III, who acknowledged, at the request of King Béla III, the existence of a provostry (provost court) of Sibiu (praepositura Cibiniensis).

In the 14th century, Sibiu became an important trading center and for centuries it was the most important German citadel in Transylvania. The craftsmen in the town were organized in guilds, and in 1376 there were 19 known guilds.

In 1366 Sibiu was declared “a city”.

The first book in Romanian was published here, in 1544.

Starting 1692, once the Austrian influence started increasing, Sibiu has become the capital of Transylvania. That was a prosperous period for the city, and the most representatives executed buildings were The Brukenthal Palace and the Holy Trinity Roman-Catholic Church.

The first newspaper edition (in German) in Transylvania, called Theatral Wochenblatt, was published in Sibiu, in 1788.

In 1872 the first railroad was built, and in 1897 Sibiu has electric power. Also in this period, Sibiu becomes the headquarters for the ASTRA association and an important city for the Romanian community. In 1905, the first tramcar was introduced.

Sibiu and its surroundings are one of the most visited areas in Romania. The historical center is one of the best preserved historical locations in the country. Many of the defense walls and fortifications are very well kept. The historical center is undergoing the process to become a UNESCO heritage.

Sibiu was designated the European Capital of Culture for the year 2007, along with the city of Luxembourg.

The Council Tower. Situated between the two most important squares of the city, more precisely at the south-eastern corner of the Large Square, the Council Tower has always been a symbol of the city of Sibiu. The name comes from its defense role within the ensemble of the entry gate of the second row of fortifications, situated nearby the building that used to host the City Hall (Mayor’s Hall), and attested in 1324. It initially had the role of a fortification tower in defense, as part of the second fortifications ensemble, but it collapsed partially in 1585, after an earthquake hit. The ground floor and the first two levels are part of the original 13th century erection.

In 1588 the tower was rebuilt with the support of the town citizens. In 1720, the tower guards are ordered by the magistrate to play the drums every half hour according to watch time. The roof changed its appearance along time, from a short, pyramid one, to the octagonal pyramid tall one, flanked by four small tower that signaled here was a judge’s court too.

The Brukental National Museum is the largest museum in South-eastern Europe, firstly because of its large collections that belong to the institutions. Located in the historical center of the city of Sibiu, the Brukenthal national complex comprises the Brukenthal Palace, The National History Museum, The History Museum, The Pharmacy History Museum, and the Arms and Hunting Trophies Museum. The Brukenthal Museum was officially opened in Romania in 1817, when it had in possession 1,090 paintings from the collection of Baron Samuel Brukenthal.

The building of the Brukenthal Palace, situated in the historical center of the city, specifically in the Large Square, is one of the most important baroque monuments in Romania. It was built in several stages, between 1778 and 1788, and it was initially purposed to be the residence of Baron Brukenthal and also an exhibition place for his collections. Brukenthal Palace is the most visited museum in the city, maybe because it is the largest of its kind and also because of its central location. The front of the palace building still keeps the Brukenthal family coat of arms (frequently seen on Sibiu postcards).

The baroque halls, rooms hosting receptions and musical soirees, still keep the original items of the Palace: rococo and neo-classical stoves, red silk and oriental style painted paper tapestries, Murano glass chandeliers and 18th century Transylvanian furniture items, all are original items that can be seen inside the museum in the Large Square. The Palace hosts the Art Gallery and the Brukenthal Library. The Art Gallery has permanent exhibitions: The National Art Gallery, the Prints and Drawings Cabinet, the Decorative Art Collection and the Brukenthal Painting Collection. Little details are known about how the collections belonging to the museum were acquired, and the first recordings of purchased items show up only after 1770. The old stock of the collection includes European engravings dating back to 16th-18th century.

The Evangelical Church is one of the most impressive gothic buildings in Transylvania. It was built in the 14th century on the site of a former 12th century church. The building is overseen by the seven level tower with four small towers in each corner, a sign that the city had the right to issue the death sentence (Latin ius gladii, literally “the right of the sword”).

192 steps, which end at the four small towers, take you to the tower top from where you have and overview of the city. The observation point is 55 meters high. There are 3 bells in the towers. For many centuries, this was the surveillance point for the fire guard. The church tower is 73.34 meters high, making it the tallest construction in Sibiu. It is the second oldest clock tower in Romania. The actual clock dates back to 1881.

The tower of the Evangelical Church was for many centuries the surveillance point for the fire guard.

Astra Museum is one of the largest open-air museums in Romania and in south-eastern Europe – the ASTRA Traditional Folk Civilization Museum. It is located in the Dumbrava Forest, 4 km away from the city of Sibiu. The impressive location in Dumbrava shows, in harmoniously marked areas, the wonderful world of the Romanian village life. The open-air museum was established in 1963 by a team lead by Cornel Irimie under the name Folk Technique Museum.

Crossed by 10 km of alleys which lead to 300 buildings, the museum area is a pleasant place to spend free time in, and it illustrates original monuments representative for the system of values and principles in the Romanian village life. The museum in the Dumbrava Forest manages to bring forward to the tourists the ethnographical and monumental heritage as living pieces of the folk civilization. The open-air museum was organized on a theme basis, thus five large sectors are available. Along with the households the museum also exhibits wood workshops, stone workshops and metal workshops, but also clothing and household items workshops, leather and fur workshops etc. In addition, all fields are represented: agriculture, animal husbandry, beekeeping, fishing and hunting in traditional households like sheepfolds, wineries, fisheries etc.

Liars’ Bridge is one of the most important simbols of the city. Reconstructed in 1859 by Friedrich Hütte Company on the site of a wooden bridge, the Liars’ bridge was the first cast iron bridge in Romania. Because it was also the first that hadn’t been built on pylons, it was called the “Lain Bridge”. In German the word “lain” (lugenmarchen) was homonymous to the word “lie” and this is how locals started calling it “liars’ bridge” and giving birth to folk legends that envelop the bridge identity in a tale structure.

Of the numerous legends connected to this bridge the most popular of them is the one saying that whoever tells a lie while standing on the bridge will make it crumble.
The Sibiu coat of arms is engraved on the southern part of the bridge, and on the northern side you can see the inscriptions “1859” and “Friedrich Hütte”. The four pedestals at the end of the bridge, more robust, made from stone, support cast iron lamps. The metallic handrail of the bridge has eight panels with circles decorated radially in a gothic style.