Brukenthal National Museum is the largest museum in southeast Europe, primarily due to vast patrimony collections. Located in the historic center of Sibiu, Brukenthal complex consists of the Brukenthal Palace, the Natural History Museum, the Museum of History, the History of Pharmacy Museum, and the Museum of Arms and Hunting Trophies. Brukenthal Museum is the first museum which officially opened in Romania in 1817, and at that time had 1,090 paintings from the collection of Baron Samuel Brukenthal.
Brukenthal Palace building, located in the historic center of the city, specifically in the Market Square, is one of the most important baroque monuments in Romania. It was built in several stages between the years 1778-1788, and its original destination was as the residence of Baron Brukenthal, and as a space dedicated to his collections. Brukenthal Palace is the most visited museum in the city, perhaps because it is the largest of its kind, and because of its central location. The façade of the palace still keeps the emblem of family Brukenthal (emblem often encountered on Sibiu postal cards).
Baroque salons, spaces of receptions and musical evenings keep the original parts of the Palace. Some of the most important pieces are: stoves of rococo and neoclassical style, red silk wallpaper and oriental style painted wall paper, Murano glass chandeliers and furniture pieces from Transylvania. The Palace houses the Art Gallery and the Brukenthal Library. The Art Gallery is made up of permanent exhibitions: the National Art Gallery, the Cabinet of Prints, the Decorative art collection and the Brukenthal Pinacotheca. We don’t know much about the formation of the existing collections in the museum’s heritage, the first purchasing records appearing only after 1770. The old Fund’s collection includes European engravings from the XVI-XVIII centuries.