Our first destination on our long weekend in Transylvania, Romania with Untravelled Paths, was Sibiu which is where the international airport is located. Sibiu was the European Capital of Culture in 2007 and is home to just under 150,000 residents.
Our hotel was in the Upper Town close to most of the main attractions between the Grand Square and the Lesser Square. Next door was the Council Tower, which divides the two squares, which you can climb for a fee but we decided against this as we had heard that ascending the church tower was more atmospheric. The two squares are surrounded by cafes, bars and little souvenir shops (think more kitsch than tacky) and they are a very pleasant place to stroll.
The other square in the Upper Town is Huet Square. To get to this you walk from the Lesser Square to the left of the Bridge of Lies, which is a bridge you may not tell lies on, and follow the road round. In Huet Square you will find the Lutheran Evangelical Cathedral. This has a cold, mysterious quality to it and for just a few leu (the currency) you are able to go inside and climb the tower. This climb is not one for those with a fear of heights as for much of the way it is just a small, fairly rickety wooden staircase surrounded by an open void perfect for getting the hairs standing up on the backs of your arms although it will leave some gripping tightly to the bannisters. The views from the top are wonderful across the skyline of the city and out towards the mountains beyond. It is also a prime spot to check out an oddity of the local architecture; many of the buildings have high, sloped roofs with eye-shaped windows in them which is a quirky little feature.
Back on terra firma we headed out towards the city’s 12th Century medieval walls. The route involved us wandering along one of the main shopping streets in the Upper Town where we discovered a new favourite way the buy bread and pastries- a hole in the wall! There were loads of bakeries trading in this way and I am a big fan of this convenience.
As we had driven into Sibiu past the outside of the walls we decided to stroll along the top past the towers (although speaking to one of our group who walked outside this meant we missed a market that had popped up). It was a relaxing way to wind down as the sun set before dinner that evening.
For dinner we went to a place called Restaurant Hermania which was recommended to us. It was a German menu and booking was essential as it was full when we were there. The food was ok and plentiful but the real pull was the setting as it was located within the old Philharmonic Hall. After this we trudged back to our hotel for a good night sleep.
Have you ever been to Sibiu? Any recommendations? What did you think of the city?