Sibiu is a city in Transylvania, Romania, in the center of the country. The geographical position of Sibiu makes it one of the most important transportation hubs in Romania with important roads and railway lines passing through it.
The first official record referring to the Sibiu area comes from 1191, when Pope Celestine III confirmed the existence of the free prepositure of the German settlers in Transylvania, the prepositure having its headquarters in Sibiu. In the 14th century, it was already an important trade centre. In 1376, the craftsmen were divided in 19 guilds. Sibiu became the most important ethnic German city. After World War I, when Austria-Hungary was dissolved, Sibiu became part of Romania; the majority of its population was still ethnic German (until 1941) and counted a large Romanian community, as well as a smaller Hungarian one. Starting from the 1950s and until after 1990, most of the city’s ethnic Germans emigrated to Germany and Austria. Among the roughly 2,000 who have remained is Klaus Johannis, the current President of Romania.
Sibiu is one of the most important cultural centres of Romania and was designated the European Capital of Culture for the year 2007, along with the city of Luxembourg. The distribution of green space is good compared to other Romanian cities.
Sibiu’s museums are organised around two entities: the Brukenthal National Museum and the ASTRA National Museum Complex. Brukenthal Palace, one of the most important Baroque monuments in Romania, lies on the north-western corner of the square. It houses the main part of the National Brukenthal Museum, opened in 1817, making it one of the oldest museums in the world. Next to the palace is the Blue House or Moringer House, an 18th-century Baroque house bearing the old coat of arms of Sibiu on its façade. On the north side, at the beginning of the 20th century an Art Nouveau building was constructed on the west part, now it houses the mayor’s office. On the south and east sides are two or three storey houses, having tall attics with small windows known as the city’s eyes. Most of these houses are dated 15th to 19th centuries, and most of them are Renaissance or Baroque in style.
The three main squares of Sibiu are Grand Square, Lesser Square, passing under the famous Liar’s Bridge, the first bridge in Romania to have been cast in iron (To the right of the bridge is another symbol of the city, The House of the Arts, an 14th-century arched building formerly belonging to the Butchers’ Guild. On the left side of the bridge is the Luxemburg House, a Baroque four-storey building) and Huet Square.
The Fortifications of Sibiu made the city one of the most important fortified cities in Central Europe. Multiple rings were built around the city, most of them out of clay bricks. The south-eastern fortifications are the best kept, and all three parallel lines are still visible.
Formerly the center of the Transylvanian Saxons, the old city of Sibiu was ranked as “Europe’s 8th most idyllic place to live” by Forbes.
There is an airport in the city.