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St. Mary Evangelical / Lutheran gothic style church in Sibiu, Romania

The Lutheran Cathedral of Saint Mary(GermanEvangelische Stadtpfarrkirche in HermannstadtRomanianBiserica Evanghelică din Sibiu) is the most famous Gothic-style church in SibiuTransylvania,Romania. Its massive 73.34 m high steeple is a landmark of the city. The four turrets situated on top of the steeple were a sign to let foreigners know that the town had the right to sentence to death.

History

The Sibiu Lutheran Cathedral was built in the 14th century on the location of another 12th-century church. For three centuries it served as a burial place for the mayors, earls and other personalities from Sibiu. This practice was banned in 1796 but one exception was made in 1803 when baron Samuel von Brukenthal was laid to rest in the crypt.

In 1671 a Slovakian craftsman built an organ to replace the previous one that was built in 1585. Today the newer organ is the largest in the southeastern region of Europe. During the summer, there are concerts every Wednesday night. (Source: Wikipedia)

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Ground view of the Evangelical Cathedral

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View of the Cathedral from the Councils Tower

The Evangelic Church is one of the most impressive buildings in Sibiu. It was raised in the 14th century on the location of an old Roman church dating from the 12th century. The building is dominated by the seven level tower with the four towers on the corners, a mark showing that the city had the right of condemnation. With a height of 73.34 meters, the tower is the tallest in Transylvania.

The cathedral’s tower is situated at the balcony on the southern wing and includes a Baroque style organ made by a Slovak craftsman in 1671 which replaced the first organ brought in Sibiu in 1585. The new organ was built by the Wilhelm Sauer Company (Frankfurt/Oder) and installed in this church in Sibiu in 1915. At the present there exist two other organs made by this company (in Berlin – Tempelhof and in Talin – Dom). In 1997 the organ undergoes complex renovation works, nowadays being the largest in the South-Eastern Europe.

The mobile inventory of the Evangelic Church in Sibiu, one of the most impressive gothic halidoms in Romania, is particularly valuable. Even though a series of cult pots, made in gilded silver by famous craftsmen in Sibiu such as Sebastian Hann, are not accessible to the public, other valuable pieces can be admired by the visitors inside the church. In the choir, in the church axis, one can find one of the most beautiful bronze fonts existing in our country. It has the shape of a calyx with a sole, foot, knot and basin, being decorated with a series of gothic inscriptions. Also, 228 booklets in relief adorn its surface, most of them being figurative representations of Byzantine influence. The font dates back from 1438 being the work of master Leonhardus. It is supposed that it was cast in the bronze resulting from the Turkish cannons captured by the inhabitants of Sibiu in 1437.
    
Starting with 1496, for a period of 300 years, the Church served as a burial place for mayors, county administrative leaders or other personalities in Sibiu. In 1796 burials in the church are prohibited, but an exception was made in 1803, when baron Samuel von Brukenthal’s body will be laid for eternal sleep in the vault built near the pulpit. The tombstones that covered the graves were dismantled from the church nave in 1853 and incorporated in the walls of the church ferula, thus obtaining a gallery of 67 tombstones, unique in Romania. 

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The bells in the tower

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View over Sibiu and the Councils tower from the Evangelical Tower

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View over Sibiu

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The inside of the tallest tower of Sibiu

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The inside of the Cathedral at sunset

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Sighisoara – travel back in time using a private car and driver in Romania

Located in the historic region of Transylvania, Sighișoara has a population of 26,370 according to the 2011 census.

The city administers seven villages: Angofa, Aurel Vlaicu, Hetiur, Rora, Șoromiclea, Venchi and Viilor.

During the 12th century, German craftsmen and merchants known as theTransylvanian Saxons were invited to Transylvania by the King of Hungary to settle and defend the frontier of his realm. The chronicler Krauss lists a Saxon settlement in present-day Sighișoara by 1191. A document of 1280 records a town built on the site of a Roman fort as Castrum Sex or “six-sided camp”, referring to the fort’s shape of an irregular hexagon. Other names recorded include Schaäsburg (1282), Schespurg (1298) and Segusvar (1300). By 1337 Sighișoara had become a royal center for the kings, who awarded the settlement urban status in 1367 as the Civitas de Segusvar.

The city played an important strategic and commercial role at the edges of Central Europe for several centuries. Sighișoara became one of the most important cities of Transylvania, with artisans from throughout the Holy Roman Empire visiting the settlement. The German artisans and craftsmen dominated the urban economy, as well as building the fortifications protecting it. It is estimated that during the 16th and 17th centuries Sighișoara had as many as 15 guilds and 20 handicraft branches. The Baroque sculptor Elias Nicolai lived in the city. TheWallachian prince Vlad Dracul (father of Vlad the Impaler (Dracula), who lived in exile in the town, had coins minted in the city (otherwise coinage was the monopoly of the Hungarian kings in the Kingdom of Hungary) and issued the first document listing the city’s Romanian name,Sighișoara. The Romanian name is first attested in 1435, and derives from the Hungarian Segesvár, where váris “fort”.

The city was the setting for George I Rákóczi’s election as Prince of Transylvania and King of Hungary in 1631. Sighișoara suffered military occupation, fires, and plagues during the 17th and 18th centuries. An important source for the history of 17th-century Transylvania, for the period of 1606-1666, are the records of Georg Kraus, the town’s notary.

The nearby plain of Albești was the site of the Battle of Segesvár, where the revolutionary Hungarian army led by Józef Bemwas defeated by the Russian army led by Luders on 31 July 1849. A monument was constructed in 1852 to the Russian general Skariatin, who died in the battle. The Hungarian poet Sándor Petőfi is generally believed to have been killed in the battle, and a monument was constructed in his honor at Albești in 1897. After World War I Sighișoara passed with Transylvania from Austria-Hungary to the Kingdom of Romania.

Central Sighișoara has preserved in an exemplary way the features of a small medieval fortified city. It has been listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Each year, a Medieval Festival takes place in the old citadel in July.

View from Villa Franka

Sighișoara is considered to be the most beautiful and well preserved inhabited citadel in Europe, with authentic medieval architecture. In Eastern Europe, Sighișoara is one of the few fortified towns that are still inhabited. The town is made up of two parts. The medieval stronghold was built on top of a hill and is known as the “Citadel” (Cetate). The lower town lies in the valley of Târnava Mare river.

The houses inside Sighișoara Citadel show the main features of a craftsmen’s town. However, there are some houses that belonged to the former patriciate, like the Venetian House and the House with Antlers.

In 2001-2003 the construction of a Dracula theme park in the ‘Breite’ nature preserve near Sighișoara was considered but ultimately rejected, owing to the strong opposition of local civil society groups and national and international media as well as politically influential persons, as the theme park would have detracted from the medieval style of the city and would have destroyed the nature preserve.

Sighișoara is a popular tourist destination for its well-preserved walled old town. The landmark of the city is theClock Tower, a 64 m-high tower built in the 13th century. It is today a museum of history.

Inside the covered staircase in Sighișoara

Other interesting sights are:

  • Sighișoara Citadel – a 12th-century Saxon edifice, is the historic center of the city. Still inhabited, the citadel is listed as a World Heritage Site.
  • Weapon Museum – next to Vlad’s birthplace. Very small, but it contains an interesting selection of medieval weapons (swords, arrows, etc.).
  • Covered Staircase – a very old stone staircase with a wooden roof along the whole span. This leads up to the Church on the Hill and the cemetery.
  • Church on the Hill – contains many frescoes and a crypt. Built on the location of a Roman fort. Located on the side of the hill next to it is one of the Lutheran cemeteries in the city, which contains many tombstones of Germans.
  • Bust of Vlad Țepeș – Located around the corner from his birthplace, within sight of the Clock Tower.

If you want to get there using a private car and driver in Romania, or if you just need an airport transfer in Sighisoara or in Romania, just Contact Us at MeetRomania !