Start your day by enjoying a guided walk in Sibiu’s Old Town. In the Middle Ages, Sibiu was the most developed and fortified city of the seven that were founded and governed by the Saxons. This is where, for some time in its long history, the governors of Transylvania resided. At its heyday, Sibiu had no less than 7 concentric walls built around the city, as it was an important trading post and was often attacked by various migratory people, and later on by the Turks.
An excellent example of German Gothic architecture, Sibiu was appointed as European Cultural Capital for 2007. It is also the place where the first museum in Romania was open (The Brukenthal Museum) in 1817, only seven years after the National Gallery in London.
Your guided stroll will include sights such as the Large Square, Small Square, the Catholic Church, Liars’ Bridge and the magnificent Evangelical Church. Then, head east, for the town of Sighisoara, one of the best preserved medieval cities in Eastern Europe.
On the way, discover one more of Transylvania’s architecture gems, by visiting the Biertan Fortified Church (UNESCO World Heritage site). The Saxons are the ones who used this style of architecture extensively in the Transylvanian villages between the 13th and 15th centuries, as a way to protect themselves against the invasions that occurred often. This type of churches is also known as the “peasant fortified churches”, as they were built and maintained by locals. The Biertan Church is the last one to be built according to this pattern, in the early 16th century. For about 200 years after it was built it served as the seat of the Transylvanian Archbishop, thus becoming one of the most important churches in the region. The church has been beautifully restored recently, and the fortification systems are largely intact. A most interesting addition is the room used for married couples whose marriage did not go very smoothly: they would be locked in there for a while with just one spoon, one fork and one plate, and they would have no choice but to share everything and also talk their problems through.
After the visit of the Biertan Church, continue to Sighisoara. Sighisoara is, like Brasov and Sibiu, one of the seven cities founded by the Saxons. It stands out, however, due to the fact that the fortification systems of the upper town are still largely intact, and this makes Sighisoara the only inhabited citadel in Europe. Upon arrival, you will enjoy a guided walk through the Old Town (UNESCO World Heritage Site), and visit the History Museum (located inside the 800-year-old Clock Tower), from the top of which you can enjoy a magnificent view over the whole old town and the Arms Museum. Then you will make your way up the hill using a wooden, covered staircase built in the 1600′s to facilitate access to the Church–on–the Hill, a beautiful example of Gothic architecture of the 14th century.
Vlad the Impaler Dracula: Sighisoara is also famous for being the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler, perhaps the source of inspiration for the main character of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Born here in 1431, he became famous as a king of Wallachia in the 1450s. The house he was born in is still standing, nowadays housing one of Sighisoara’s famous restaurants.
In the evening, join a family of Transylvanian Gypsies for a home hosted dinner. This is a rare opportunity to discover more about the culture, traditions and lifestyle of this controversial ethnic group. Overnight in Sighisoara.