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- geographical situation-in the center of Romania, to the south of Transylvania, situated especially in the Olt river basin, within the large arch made by the Fagaras Mountains and the Cibin;
- neighbours-to the north-Mures, to the east-Brasov, to the south-Arges, Valcea, to the west-Alba;
- surface- 5,432 square km (respectively 2.3% of the country-s territory);
- population- 444,000 inhabitants;
- towns- SIBIU- the capital of the county (with 169,000 inhabitants, at 272 km of Bucharest, important industrial, commercial, cultural, touristic centre, it still conserves the air of medieval bourg, with historical and art treasures which define the nobleness and beauty of this region); Agnita; Avrig; Cisnadie; Copsa Mica; Dumbraveni; Medias (it is situated at an altitude of 295 m, with 64,000 inhabitants, in a very beautiful and rich region. The historical vestiges prove that this area has been inhabitaed since early times. The town was attested documentary in 1267 in a document signed by Stephan V, King of Hungary. In the 12th-13th centuries, at the request of the Hungarian kings, the population later known as Szecklers settled here. At the beginning they were supposed to defend the east frontier of the Hungarian country. For a change they benefited by some privileges. The reciprocal influences in what regards culture and civilisation of the three co-inhabiting ethnics (Romanian, Hungarian and German), their work together gave birth to a flourishing economical life confirmed by the medieval monuments found in this region. Medias became Civitas in 1359, a well developed trade centre which enjoyed of the attention of the ruling court. It was included among the 7 citadels) ; Ocna Sibiului; Talmaciu.
- relief- it is varied and slowly descends from south-the Fagaras Mountains (Negoiu Peak of 2,535 m, with an alpine toothed ridge, with glacial basins and valleys, marked by beautiful waterfalls), the Cindrelului and Lotrului Mountains (with flat surfaces, slightly undulated, with Cindrelul Peak of 2,245 m, Steflesti Peak of 2,244 m, with deep valleys contrasting with the high ridges), separated by Olt narrow path, to the north-Secaselor and Hartibaciului Plateau, Tarnavelor Plateau (with heights of 600-700 m), the large Depression of Sibiu;
- climate- it is continental, colder than in the rest of the country, July is the hottest and January is the coldest month, irregular rainfalls, prevailing the local winds: breeze, Big wind, west and south-west winds;
- watercourses- the Olt river with its tributary the Cibinul (its tributaries are the Hartibaciul and the Big River, as well as the Sandu); the Mures river (to the north-west), the Tarnava Mare, as well as the salt waters of the Ocna Sibiului, the Miercurea Sibiului and the Bazna, having therapeutical effects.
- SIBIU- it is marked by an agitated history; the region, where the town stands now, has been inhabited since Paleolithic. The first documentary mentions appear between 1192-1196, under the name of Cibinium, between the 12th-13th centuries the German colonists name the place: Hermannstadt, but the Romanian population chose the name that remembered the original one- Sibiu. In the Middle Ages the town was prosperous and became the craft-s town (in 1476 there were 19 guilds and 25 professions were practiced). It was an important scientific center, in 1544 the first book in Romanian language was published: -Romanian Catechism- and it was here that Nicolaus Olahus, humanist of European value, Samuel Bbrukenthal (passionate art lover), Simion Barnutiu, George Baritiu, Ioan Slavici activated. Sibiu is among the fewest towns of Romania where the contrast between the old and the new is so surprising. Many places are linked with outstanding names of culture: Rasinari (where the poet O. Goga and the great philosopher E. Cioran were born), Paltinis (where the philosopher C. Noica lived)
- Fagaraa Mountains- (with Negoiu Peak-2,535 m), ranking the 2nd among the highest mountains in the country, only the west half of their north side forms part of Sibiu county. Due to their extent, massiveness and the splendor of their ridges (reaching the highest altitudes in Romania), the Fagaras represent one of the most important touristic area. It has numerous marked routs, chalets and shelters, an important road called -Trans-Fagarasan- road (2,034 m height) linking Transylvania with Wallachia. These -Transylvanian Alps- are characterized by numerous glacial basins and alpine lakes situated at high altitudes and conferring an unrivalled charm to this mountain landscape;
- Cindrel Mountains (Cibin)- (with Cindrel Peak-2,244 m), characterized by their massiveness and slow ridges covered by meadows. They represent a real charm for the visitors due to their solitary peaks, alpine meadows, picturesque and deep valleys covered with forests, hunting and fishing possibilities.
GORGES AND NARROW PATHS
- Olt Narrow Path- (only 12 km of the north half on the territory of Sibiu county), it is reknown for its picturesqueness, separates the Cindrel and Lotru Mountains from the Fagaras Mountains, it is an area of great touristic value due to its scenery. Geo Bogza said: -the way of the Olt river through the world is an unceasing song, a long symphonic poem-, the song reaches its high pitch between Turnu Rosu and Cozia, where the peaks of 1,700 m high dominate the transversal valley of the Carpathians. Due to the inclined slope of the Fagarasi, the waters of the river jump over its abrupt slopes and variations in level and form numerous waterfalls (Balea waterfall is the most beautiful).
- Balea Lake-(at 65 km of Sibiu), glacial lake situated in the Fagarasi Mountains, at the origin of Curtisoara, at an altitude of 2,034 m, declared monument of nature, it is one of the biggest and most beautiful glacial lakes of Romania (360 m long and 11 m deep). Around the lake 100 ha have been declared scientific preserve with numerous plants (edelweiss, yellow poppy) and animals (9 chamois, lynx, mountain eagle) protected by law;
- Cindrelul Mountain Lakes-complex preserve (450 ha) including several glacial basins situated at an altitude of 2,168-2,245 m. Around these mountain lakes there are varied species of animals protected by law (chamois, bears, wolves);
- Bottomless Lake-Ocna Sibiului, geological preserve represented by a lake situated on the place where formerly there was a salt mine, which caved in. The lake is 35 m deep and has a great therapeutic value, its waters are thermically stratified (the salt water under the fresh water causes the retention of solar heat).
- Podragu- glacial lake;
- Avrig- glacial lake;
- Cibin- dam lake;
- Sadu- dam lake;
- Hartibaciu- dam lake.
PRESERVES AND MONUMENTS OF NATURE
- Limestone- Turnu Rosu (at 30 km of Sibiu), geological preserve of eocene limestone at the foot of the Fagaras, near the Olt Narrow Path. It has a great scientific value (monument of nature), the limestone and conglomerates contain the most beautiful samples of shellfish of Romania, reptiles teeth, coral, reptile;
- Muddy Volcanoes- Hasag (at 21 km of Sibiu), interesting geological preserve represented by -volcanoes- in miniature; the mud eliminated outside formed the cones through which the water comes out with bubbles of methane gas;
- Limestone- Cisnadioara, geological preserve in the form a massive limestone block where there was identified a rich and varied fossil fauna;
- Gaujoara Clearing- (at 25 km of Sibiu).
RESORTS AND SPAS
- Paltinis- (at 34 km of Sibiu), situated in the Cibinului Mountains under Oncesti Peak (1,717 m); it is the highest permanent spa and resort of the country: 1,442 m. Among its therapeutic factors it can be mentioned: alpine climate of high altitude, invigorating very ozonized air with iodate aerosols, moderate temperature (annual average temperature is 40C), cool summers without strong winds, clear sky, splendid mountain landscape, the peaks of the mountains go higher than 2,000 m, the fir tree forests with their fresh air add to an already calm and relaxing atmosphere, whatever the season. Numerous marked paths help the tourists staying in Paltinis to know the Cindrel Mountains (from here there can be easily reached Cibinului Gorges and Sadul valley with its dams). In winter (about 6 months a year), the abundant snow of the mountainsides makes Paltinis a famous resort for the winter sports. There are slopes with different degrees of difficulty (for example, the one on the Oncesti Mountain) for skiing and sledding, the cable transport means facilitate the access to the slopes. The resort can be reached: by railway-Sibiu railway station on Bucharest-Brasov-Arad line, then by motor vehicle to the resort; by road-DN1 from Oradea or DN 7=E 15 from Bucharest to Sibiu, then local road through Rasinari village to the resort; by plane: from Bucharest to Sibiu, then by motor vehicle to the resort.
- Ocna Sibiului- (at 14 km north of Sibiu), a spa open all over the year situated in Sibiu Depression (at 410 m altitude), surrounded by hills covered by oak forests. The spa is a well known health resort even from Dacian Roman period (when salt was exploited from the mines of this region). Today there are not less than 15 lakes (with mineral chloro-sodium waters) in the former salt mine cavities, some of them are swimming pools, others are only used for treatment. The mild climate of the depression sheltered by hills, the aerosols, the annual average temperature (8.80C), the healing effects of the salt water of the lakes represent invaluable healthy sources. The spa can be reached: by railway-the flag stop: Baile Ocna Sibiului on Sibiu-Copsa Mica line; by road-DN1 or DN 7=E 15A from Sibiu or Sebes, with deviation at the airport;
- Bazna- a watering spa opened all over the year, (at 72 km of Sibiu); it is famous for the efficiency of its mineral water springs and therapeutic mud, its pictureque landscape.
- Medieval Fortifications- Sibiu, represented by an impressive number of towers among which the most important are: The City Hall Tower (it constitutes a special attraction for the visitors, was built in the 12th century and modified in the 15th, 17th centuries and in 1826); The Stairs Tower (one of the oldest constructions of the town, raised in 13th century as an element of the town-s first defense system); The Gate-s Tower (15th century); The Carpenters- Tower (its foundation and part of the walls were made of stone at the beginnings of the 15th century); The Harquebusiers- Tower (15th century); Powder Warehouse Tower (raised in 1552 serving as powder warehouse); Potters- Tower (16th century, it has many bulwarks); Soldisch Bastion (one of the most interesting fortifications built in 1627);
- The Ruins of the Fortress- Medias, there are still standing the interior walls and defense towers raised between the 15th-16th centuries (Ironsmith-s Tower-16th century, Goldsmith-s and Stonesmith-s Towers-18th century, Forkesh Tower-18th century);
- The Old City Hall- Sibiu, an imposing building raise in the second half of 15th century (1470) with elements specific to the transitional phase: from Gothic style to Renaissance. The Latin inscription on the entrance gate dates from 1783, inspired by Iosif II visit to Sibiu. Nowadays it hosts the History Museum;
- Dacian Fortress- Tilisca (at approx. 28 km of Sibiu), 2nd century B.C.- 1st century A.D.;
- Dacian Establishment- Arpasu de Jos, fortified with land ditch, dates from 1st century B.C.-2nd century A.D.;
- Fortress with Roman Basilica- Cisnadioara, one of the most remarkable monuments of this style in Transylvania;
- Salo Fortress- Sibiel (12th-13th centuries);
- Fortress made of earth-soil- Rasinari (13th century), Medieval frontier fortress, now ruins;
- Rural Fortress- Daia (13th century);
- The Fortress Ruins - T㬭aciu, (at 18 km of Sibiu), documentary mentioned in 1370 under the name of -castrum Lanchron-, the fortification dominates the Olt Valley when the river enters Turnu Rosu narrow path;
- Rustic Fortress- Slimnic (at 15 km of Sibiu), 14th century;
- Rural Fortress- Biertan (at 26 km of Medias), one of the most impressive constructions of this type in Transylvania;
- The Fortress Walls and the Hartenek Towers- Sibiu, the third fortified belt of the town, strenghtened in the 17th century;
- Rural Fortress- Cristian, (at 11 km of Sibiu), 15th century;
- Cistercian Monastery- Carta (at 17 km of Sibiu), it is the oldest Gothic construction of Romania. It was raised by Cistercian monks (monastic order original from France) in 1202, it was robbed and set on fire during Tartar invasion (1241-1242); afterwards it was reconstructed. It was canceled by king Mihai Corvin in 1474. Currently it is a church belonging to Evangelic parish of Carta;
- Evangelic Church- Sibiu, it is the first monument on the Romanian territory combining the archaic basilica with an elevation in Gothic Moorish style. Built in the 14th century., it still preserves mural paintings of 1445, its organ is renowned;
- Church- Cisnadioara, the oldest Romanic church of our country, dated from 1223. It is considered -the most valuable monument of rural ecclesiastic architecture-;
- Church Fortress- Biertan, remarkable monument of Gothic art, the impressive church was constructed between 1520 and 1522 and was surrounded with strong towers and walls; it has an old collection of Oriental carpets;
- Fortified Church- Medias (14th-16th centuries), it has a valuable collection of Gothic mural paintings; its tower is 74 m high and has a clock indicating the moon-s phases; the ruler Vlad the Impaler was imprisoned here in 1476, after a conflict with Matei Corvin;
- Reformed Church- Ocna Sibiului (1240), it has mural paintings;
- Ursuline Church- Sibiu, constructed in 1478 on the request of Dominican monks;
- Fortified Church- Atel (at 18 km east of Medias), dated from the 14th century, having valuable sculptures in Gothic style, several defense towers have been built around it;
- Evangelic Church- Cisn㤩e, (13th century), surrounded by defense walls and towers, it preserves fragments of mural paintings dated from the end of 15th century;
- Evangelic Church- Darlos (15th century), having beautiful sculptures combining Gothic style with the Renaissance-s style;
- Brancoveanu Church- Ocna Sibiului, founded by Michael the Brave in 1600, restored by Constantin Brancoveanu in 1701, this is a proof of strong friendly relations between the Romanian countries in the Middle Ages;
- Roman-Catholic Cathedral- Sibiu (17th century), it was built by Jesuit monks;
- Evangelic Church- Sibiu (14th-15th centuries), it was built in Gothic style on the place of an old Roman church;
- Fortified Church- Buzd (16th century.);
- Orthodox Cathedral- Sibiu (1778), it has Baroque elements, it is known for its high columns and towers with winding staircases;
- -Sf. Margareta- Church- the imposing construction is placed in the centre of the medieval fortifications complex and it is also known under the name of -castle-. The church was attested in the 15th century and has 17th century organ. Its tower (68,5 m in height) is the symbol of the Medias town and is one of the most inclined tower in Europe;
- Franciscan Church and Monastery- a wonderful architectural complex built in Baroque style. It was documentary attested in the 15th century. Nowadays it hosts the History Museum.
- Brukenthal Palace- Avrig (at 30 km of Sibiu), Gothic construction of great dimensions, it was the summer residence of baron Samuel von Brukenthal, governor of Transylvania (1721-1803), passionate collector of art objects. Built between 1780-1785, the palace has one of the most beautiful parks, organised in wide terraces descending to the Olt river meadow. Currently, the palace is a sanatorium;
- Brukenthal Palace and the Blue House- Sibiu, built in Austrian Baroque style between 1778-1788, by the architect Martinell, it is a prestigious museum now;
- Apafy Castle- Dumbraveni (at 20 km of Medias), it belonged to the family of the Transylvanian prince, Mihai Apafy; the castle was built in the Renaissance-s style between 1552-1563, it is a school now;
- Castle- Turn Rosu (at 21 km of Sibiu), massive Medieval fortification, raised in 1453 by Iancu de Hunedoara;
- Brukenthal Museum- Sibiu, the oldest museum in the country and among the first museums in Europe (access for general public in 1817). It was founded in 1780 by Samuel Brukenthal, personal adviser of Maria Tereza and governor of Transylvania. The former collections added to the collections of the Astra Museum and the Carpathina Society Museum resulting in one of the richest museums in Romania. It comprises art sections (painting, graphics, engravings and sculptures made by famous artists), history, nature sciences, folkloric art sections, as well as a library with precious books;
- -Badea Cartan- Memorial Ethnographic Museum- CⲴisoara (at 47 km of Sibiu), it exhibits the objects of the autodidactic peasant, as well as the objects of ceramics and glass manufacturing, a collection of glass icons;
- -Gh. Lazar- Memorial House- Avrig (at 22 km south-east of Sibiu); exhibits belonging to western Romanian Enlightenment; he was the founder of school taught in Romanian language;
- -O. Goga- Memorial House- Avrig (at 15 km of Sibiu); the great poet was born here (1881-1938);
- -Hartibaciul Valley- Museum- Agnita (at 62 km north-east of Sibiu), with sections of history and ethnography;
- Folk Technics and Civilisation Museum- Sibiu, in Dumbrava Forest, the second museum in open air in the world, in terms of size;
- -F. Binder- Universal Ethnography Museum- Sibiu, having exhibits from Africa and Orient;
- Revolutionist Axente Sever-s House- Axente Sever (at 40 km of Sibiu);
- -St. Ludwig Roth- Memorial House- Medias, participating in Blaj Assembly;
- Steam Engine Museum- Sibiu;
- Hunt Weapons and Trophy Museum- Sibiu;
- Natural History Museum- Sibiu, mineralogy, botanic, zoology, universal fauna and flora;
- Hermann Oberth Museum- Medias, it dedicated to the scientist who projected the engine which represented the basis for the space crafts;
- Schuller House- Medias, imposing building in Civilian Renaissance style from Tarnave area, documentary atessted in the 16th century.
MONUMENTS AND STATUES
- Monument from Selimbar- (at 5 km of Sibiu), the Astra had the initiative of raising it in memory of the victory of Michael the Brave-s army over Andrei Bathory-s army (on October 18th, 1599). Due to this victory, Michael the Brave became the ruler of Transylvania, too; it was the first step in unifying the three Romanian provinces.
- Sibiu county is an original ethnographic region, a kaleidoscope of folkloric art beauties (folkloric suits, songs, dances, architecture). The villages from Marginimea Sibiului are famous for the authentic folklore, charming and colourful way of dressing, the peasants- feasts and the customs transmitted from generation to generation. The following villages are real ethnographic nucleuses: Rasinari (famous for the beautiful well preserved way of dressing and for the cloth woven by the women of this region); Jina (at 3 km of Poiana Sibiului, traditional customs, houses and way of dressing); Gura Raului (at 3 km of Orlat, the technical installations made by peasants on the Cibinul river); Saliste (at 21 km of Sibiu, famous for the beauty of the outfits); Tilisca (at 26 km of Sibiu, original wooden houses whose interior is interesting for numerous decorative woven works); Marpod (at 40 km of Sibiu, Romanian and German folkloric way of dressing).
Source: Romanian Travel Guide / Publirom