In the former Harteneckengasse (Strada Cetăţii), not far from Korso and Hotel Bulevard, one shall be surprised by a well-preserved part of the third wall erected in the 14th century, together with the Tower of the Carpenters and the Tower of the Crossbowers, as well as the Tower of the Potters, which was built in the 15th century. The building of the wall is original--only the covered parapet on top of it, with a wooden-lined parapet, was restored in 1971.
In the Great Square, the old houses have the characteristic windows of the lofts, which look like eyes that have noticed everything across the centuries, beginning with the burning of witches and ending with today’s events.
The siege of the Saxon’s Bishop – people call it the Vatican – is also located on the Great Square. The Catholic Church was built by the Jesuits of the 18th century. This was to the annoyance of the German inhabitants, who by 1524 celebrated already the first Lutheran service in the small Elisabeth’s Chapel, which can still be visited near the main railway station. Since then, the Transylvanian Saxons remained faithful to the Confession of Augsburg.
The Bruckenthal Palace can still be admired on the Great Square. It was built 1780 by the Baron Samuel von Bruckenthal, governour of Transylvania at the time of the reign of Maria Theresia. Valuable books and paintings were collected by Brukenthal, and he donated them by power of his testament to the College of Sibiu on the condition that they shall not be removed from his palace. In 1817, 14 years after his death and 2 years after the Louvre was built in Paris, the Bruckenthal Palace opened its doors to the public, becoming thus the oldest museum of southeastern Europe.
Go in the Tower of the Old Town Hall, which houses a little history museum; from up there, you will get a complete image of the city – the Great Square; the nearby Small Square with the Liers’ Bridge; the Romanian Orthodox Cathedral, which is also worth a visit; and much more. On particularly clear days, you shall get an excellent view of the grandiose 70km-long ridge of the Transilvanian Alps, the highest Romanian mountains.
Go from the Great Square to the German Lutheran Cathedral and visit the grandiose Gothic church that houses one of the greatest organs Southeast Europe’s. And then take a walk through the city. You will see that the city is composed of an Upper and a Lower town, interconnected by many steps and steep roads. These contribute greatly to the medieval flair of the city.
July 6, 2005
From journal European Cultural Capital 2007: Sibiu