Sighisoara Stories and Tips

The Birthplace of Dracula!

Sighisoara deep in Transylvania, has an eerie feel to it but is a very pleasant day trip or one night stay on any trip to Romania.

History
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In the 12th century, the king of Hungary invited German craftsmen to reside in Sighisoara and to defend the Hungarian Empire, Sighisoara therefore started off as a Saxon settlement. Sighisoara (known then as Schaesbrich), was one of the busiest market towns and artesan centres in Central Europe. The strong fortifications and impressive buildings still stand today, despite various battles between Transylvanians, Hungarians, Russians and Wallachians, Sighisoara remained Hungarian or Transylvanian Hungarian until after World War 1, when it was given to Romania by the Austro-Hungarians.

The population is about 75% Romanian, 20% Hungarian and the remaining 5% either gypsy or German. The most famous inhabitant is undoubtedly Vlad III (Vlad the Impaler - Vladislav Draculea in Romanian) who most likely inspired Bram Stoker to create Dracula as he was known for his cruel punishments which he had learnt at the hands of the Turks who had kept him hostage as a child and beaten him. Vlad III, had an incredibly interesting life, being born in the citadel as an illegitamate child to the King of Wallachia who was in Translyvania having been ousted from the throne, his mother was said to have been a Moldavian princess but little is known about her. It's worth visiting Sighisoara just to get an insight into his life.

Getting There
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Plenty of trains, minibuses and buses go to all destinations in Romania. There are also connections to Budapest (twice a day) and Krakow (once a day). The roads to Satu Mare and Brasov are in fairly good condition.

Places to stay
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Gia Hostel comes highly recommended by me! At just 10 euros, you can get a large single or romantic double room, with cable television, an immaculate bathroom with hot piping water. The rooms are immensely comfortable. There is also a kitchen downstairs and the place is very relaxed, it's also just located across the small river from the citadel and incredibly close to the station. They often have touts at the station who can show you the way for free.

If you are looking to meet plenty of others and want a bar atmosphere, then there is always Nathan's Villa. A backpackers hostel which also charges 10 euros. Expect noise!

If neither of those appeal, then you will undoubtedly attract attention with a backpack on and someone will offer you a room for around 8 euros.

Sightseeing
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Fear not, despite a vampiric reputation.. it's a very safe place with plenty to see! The town is small and quaint, with cobbled street and huge gothic buildings. The clock tower is undoubtedly the stand-out feature, 64m high with a beautiful clock and turrets, this building now works as a museum, housing just about everything there is to know about Sighisoara and a lot of superb relics. Price (about 5 pounds) is dearer than most things in Sighisoara but you only live once!

Casa Vlad Dracul is the house that Vlad was born in and is also fairly impressive, it's now a restaurant and beer hall, I had some food there a couple of years ago and it was good then, so unless something has happened to the chef. I'd defintely recommend some of the tasty Romanian cuisine. The terrace is very pleasant, I'd recommend coming here for lunch.

The last not to be missed place is Evangelische Bergfriedhof, a Saxon graveyard with some amazingly picturesque gravestones, it's not often you come across graveyards like this!

Medieval Festival
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Each year in July there is a Medieval Music Festival that sees thousands of teenagers heading for it, it's more of an excuse to drink a lot of beer than anything, so you might be disappointed if you are only going for Medieval music! There are plenty of different styles of music played and loads of stalls selling junk. Hotels are booked up weeks before the event but you are bound to find someone renting out a room.

My opinion
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Sighisoara is a quaint town with great architecture but it sometimes feels a bit lifeless and I prefer Brasov. There are hiking opportunities in the near by hills and unless you are combining it with some hiking, I would only spend either a few hours there or one night at the most. It is definitely worth visiting though.

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