Sibiu (, German:
Hermannstadt, Hungarian: Nagyszeben) is a city in
Transylvania, Romania with a population of about 170,000. It straddles
the river Cibin, a tributary of the river Olt.
It is the capital of
Geography and climate
situated near the geographical center of Romania. Set in the Cibin
Depression, the city is near to Făgăraş Mountains (about 20 km away),
the Cibin Mountains (12 km), and Lotrului Mountains (about 15 km),
which border the depression in its southwestern section. The northern
and eastern limits of Sibiu are formed by the Târnavelor Plateau,
which descends to the Cibin Valley through Guşteriţei Hill.Cibin river
and some roads of national and international interest run through
Sibiu, which is also an important city for the railway transportation,
as the meeting point of east-west and north-south routes.
climate is temperate-continental with average temperatures of 8 to 9°
C. The multi-annual average of rainfall is 662 l/mp, and the number of
days of hard frost is about 120/year.
The city was founded in 1190 by Saxon colonists settled in the area.
It was probably built near a Roman settlement, one that would have
come to be known during early medieval age as Caedonia, which might
have been deserted at the time of the Saxons' arrival.
In the 14th
century, it was already an important trade center. In 1376 the
craftsmen were divided in 19 guilds. Sibiu became the most important
ethnic German city among the seven cities that gave Transylvania its
German language name of Siebenbürgen, and it was home to the
Universitas Saxorum, the Assembly of Germans in
Transylvania.Common opinion in the 17th century ascribed Sibiu the
quality of being the easternmost city to be part of the European
sphere; it was also the eastern terminus of postal routes.During the
18th and 19th centuries the city also became one of the most important
centers for ethnic Romanians in the region. The first Romanian-owned
bank had its headquarters here (The Albina Bank), as did the
ASTRA (Transylvanian Association for Romanian Literature and
Romanian's People Culture). After the Romanian Orthodox Church was
granted status in the Habsburg Empire from the 1860s onwards, Sibiu
became the Metropolitan seat, and the city preserved its title as the
third most important center for the Church in modern Romania. Between
the 1848 Hungarian Revolution and 1867 (the year of the
Ausgleich), Sibiu was the meeting-place of the Transylvanian
Diet, which had taken its most representative form after the Empire
agreed to extend voting rights in the region.
After World War I,
when Austria-Hungary was dissolved, Sibiu became part of Romania; the
majority of its population was still ethnic German and Hungarian.
After 1990 most of the city's ethnic Germans emigrated to Germany.
Among the roughly 2,000 who have remained is Klaus Johannis, who is
currently mayor of Sibiu.
Milestones in Sibiu's
- 1292 - The first hospital in what is now
Romania was opened.
- 1380 - The first attested school in what
is now Romania.
- 1494 - The first pharmacy in what is now
- 1534 - The first paper mill in what is now
- 1544 - The first book in Romanian language was
printed in Sibiu.
- 1551 - Conrad Haas' experiment with
rockets, the world's first.
- 1671 - Methane gas was discovered
- 1782 - Franz Joseph Müller discovered
- 1795 - The first lightning rod in
Southeastern Europe was installed in Cisnădie.
- 1797 - Samuel
von Hahnemann opened the world's first homeopathic laboratory.
- 1817 - The Brukenthal Museum, the first museum in what is now
Romania, was opened.
- 1896 - The first ose of electricity in
Romania, and the first power line in Southeastern Europe.
- 1904 - The second city in Europe to use an electric-powered
- 1928 - The first zoo in Romania.
- 1989 - The
second city in to take part in the Romanian Revolution.
As of approximately 2002, Sibiu has a
population of about 170,000. The ethnic breakdown is as follows:
- Romanians 95%
- Hungarians 2%
- other 1,4%
Most of the population is of the
Romanian Orthodox religion. Protestants and Roman Catholics represent
4% of the population.
- 25% of the population are over
50 years old
- 18% of the population are college or university
Sibiu is one of the most
prosperous cities of Romania, and also receives one of the highest
rates of foreign investment in the country. It is an important
manufacturer of automotive components (Bilstein-Compa, Takata,
Continental, and SNR Roulments). Other local industries are machine
components, textiles, agro-industry, and electrical components
One of the main concerns for the city is attracting new
investors to locate their businesses in Sibiu, and an industrial park
has been recently completed. The city also contains Romania's largest
stock exchange outside of Bucharest, the Sibiu Stock Exchange.
Employment breakdown by economic sector
Industry - 49%
- Commerce - 15%
- Construction -
- Health - 7.5%
- Education - 7%
Transport - 6.5%
It has an
international airport with daily connections to Germany, Italy and
Austria, most of them via Timişoara.
Tursib is the city's transport
system who operates one tramway line to Răşinari, 5 trolleybus lines
and about 20 bus lines. It is also an important hub for the
international bus links with the biggest passenger transporter in
Romania, Atlassib, based here.
The city is also a hub for the
Romanian railway network, CFR, with links to Braşov, Râmnicu Vâlcea,
Alba Iulia and Mediaş. It has an important diesel powered locomotives
depot and a freight terminal.
Sibiu will be the European Capital of Culture (together with
Luxembourg). It will be the most important cultural event that has
ever happened in the city and a great number of tourists are expected,
both domestic and foreign. 
The city of
Sibiu and its surroundings are one of the most visited areas in
Romania. It holds one of the best preserved historical sites in the
country, many of its medieval fortifications having been kept in
excellent state. Its old center has begun the process for becoming a
UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004. Sibiu and surrounding area have an
important museal offer of 12 institutions which are housing art
collections, paintings, decorative arts, archaeology, anthropology,
history, industrial archeology and history of technology and natural
sciences. Also, the city lies close to the Făgăraş Mountains - a very
popular trekking destination, close to the Păltiniş resort - a popular
winter holiday destination, and it is at the heart of the former Saxon
communities in Transylvania renowned for its fortified
There are over 35 hotels in Sibiu, with different
classifications. The most exquisite hotel is the Împăratul
Romanilor hotel, located in the center of the old part of the
city. Continental Hotels Romania owns two important hotels in the city
and in 2006 it will upgrade one of them and rebadge it under the Ibis
name with an Accor franchise. Also at least two brand new hotels are
scheduled to open by 2007.
Places of interest
Much of the city's aspect is due to its position, easily defensible,
but allowing horizontal development. The old city of Sibiu lies on the
right bank of the Cibin River, on a hill situated at about 200 m from
the river. It consists of two distinct entities: the Upper
and the Lower City
. Traditionally, the Upper City
was the wealthier part and commercial outlet, while the Lower City
served as the manufacturing area.
The Lower City
(Romanian: Oraşul de jos
) comprises the
area between the river and the hill, and it developed around the
earliest fortifications. The streets are long and quite wide for
medieval city standards, with small city squares at places. The
architecture is rather rustic: typically two-storey houses with tall
roofs and gates opening passages to inner courts.
Most of the
exterior fortifications were lost to industrial development and modern
urban planning in the late 19th century; only one or two towers still
exist. A building associated with newer urbanism of the period is the
This area has the oldest
church in the city, dating back to 1386.
The Upper City
(Romanian: Oraşul de sus
is organised around three city squares and a set of streets along the
line of the hill. As the main area for burgher activities, the area
contains most points of interest in Sibiu.
The Large Square (Romanian: Piaţa Mare
) is, as its name suggests, the largest square of
the city, and has been the center of the city since the 16th century.
142 m long and 93 m wide, it is one of the largest ones in
Brukenthal Palace, one of the most important Baroque
monuments in Romania, lies on the north-western corner of the square.
It was erected between 1777 and 1787 as the main residence for the
Governor of Trasylvania Samuel von Brukenthal. It houses the main part
of the National Brukenthal Museum, opened in 1817. Next to
the palace is the Blue House, an 18th century Baroque house
bearing the old coat of arms of Sibiu on its façade.
north side is the Jesuit Church, along with its dependencies, the
former residence of the Jesuits in Sibiu. Also 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
Next to the Jesuit Church on the north side is the
Council Tower, one of the city's symbols. This former
fortification tower from the 14th century has been successively
rebuilt over the years. The building nearby used to be the City
Council's meetingplace; beneath it lies an access way between the
Large Square and the Small Square.
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 17th to 19th centuries, and most of them are
Baroque in style.
The Small Square
As its name
says, the Piaţă Mică
is smaller in size, being rather longer
than wide. Its north-west side has a curved shape, unlike the
, which has an approximately rectangular shape.
Accordingly, Piaţă Mică
plays a smaller part in the city's
present-day life.The square is connected to the other two squares and
to other streets by small, narrow passages. The main access from the
Lower City is through Ocnei Street, which divides the square in two.
The street passes under the Liar's Bridge
- the first bridge
in Romania to have been cast in iron (1859).
To the right of the
bridge is another symbol of the city, The House of the Arts,
an arched building formerly belonging to the Butchers' Guild. On the
left side of the bridge is the Luxemburg House, a Baroque
four-storey building, former seat of the Goldsmiths' Guild.
The Huet Square Huet Square
is the third of the
three main squares of Sibiu. Its most notable feature is the
Evangelical (Lutheran) Cathedral in its center. It is the place where
the earliest fortifications have been built. The buildings around this
square are mainly Gothic. On the west side lies the Brukenthal
Highschool, in place of a former 15th century school.
The city of Sibiu was one of the most important
fortified cities in Southeastern 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. The first is an exterior earth mound, the second is a
10-meter-tall red brick wall, and the third line comprises towers
linked by another 10-meter-tall wall. All structures are connected via
a labyrinth of tunnels and passageways, designed to ensure transport
between the city and lines of defense.
In the 16th century more
modern elements were added to the fortifications, mainly leaf-shaped
bastions. One of these survived to this day, as the Haller
Bastion (all the way down Coposu Boulevard).
Passage of the Stairs
The steep Passage of the
leads down to the lower section of Sibiu. It descends
along some fortifications under the support arches. It is the most
picturesque of the several passages linking the two sides of the
Sibiu is one of Romania's most
culturally lively cities. It has two theatres and a philharmonic
orchestra. The Radu Stanca National Theatre 
is one of the
leading Romanian theatres. With origins dating back to 1787, it
attracts some of the best-known Romanian directors, such as Tompa
Gábor and Silviu Purcărete. It has both a Romanian-language and a
German-language section, and presents an average of five shows a week.
The Gong Theatre is specialised in puppetry, mime and non-conventional
shows for children and teenagers; it also presents shows in both
Romanian and German. The State Philharmonic of Sibiu 
presents weekly classical music concerts and also lesson concerts for
teenagers. The concerts take place in the newly renovated Thalia Hall,
a concert hall and theatre dating from 1787, situated along the old
city fortifications. Sporadic organ concerts are organised in the
Evangelical Cathedral and thematic concerts are presented by the
Faculty of Theology choir at the Orthodox Cathedral.
Sibiu's museums are organised around two
entities: the Brukenthal National Museum and the ASTRA National Museum
Complex. The Brukenthal Museum consists of an Art Gallery
an Old Books Library
located inside the Brukenthal Palace, a
located in the old town hall building, a
located in one of the first apothecary shops
in Europe, dating from the 16th century, a Natural History
and a Museum of Arms and Hunting Trophies
ASTRA National Museum Complex focuses on ethnography, and consists of
a Traditional Folk Civilisation Museum—a 96-hectare
open-air museum located on a forest south of Sibiu—a
Universal Ethnography Museum, a Museum of Transylvanian
Civilisation and a Museum of Saxon Ethnography and Folk
Art. It also has a project of opening a Museum of the Culture
and Civilisation of the Romany People. There is a Steam
Locomotives Museum close to the railway station, sheltering around 40
locomotives, two of which are functional.
A great number of festivals are organised yearly in Sibiu, the most
prestigious being the Theatre Festival organised each spring at the
end of May. The one in the summer of 2005, gathered over 2,500
participants from 68 countries; over 300 shows were presented. Also,
the oldest Jazz Festival in Romania is organised here, as well as a
festival for young classical music artists, a documentary film
festival, a medieval arts festival and many more smaller cultural
Sibiu is an
important centre of higher education, with over 26,000 undergraduate
students in 2004.
The Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu was founded
in 1990, with five faculties: Engineering and Sciences; Letters;
History and Law; Medicine; Food and Textile Processing Technology.
Nowadays, it has many departments.
- Andrei Şaguna Faculty
- Faculty of Letters and Arts
- Nicolae Lupu
Faculty of History and Patrimony
- Simion Bărnuţiu Faculty of
- Hermann Oberth Faculty of Engineering
- Faculty of
- Victor Papilian Faculty of Medicine
- Faculty of Journalism
- Faculty of
Agricultural Sciences, Food Industry and Environmental Protection
- The University College
- Department for Distance and
Sibiu also houses the Nicolae Bălcescu Land
Forces Military Academy, the most important military academy in
Romania, as well as some private universities.
In Sibiu there are 20
educational institutions on the secondary level, the most prestigious
of which are:
- Colegiul Naţional Gheorghe Lazăr - mainly
sciences and informatics
- Colegiul Naţional Samuel von
Brukenthal - German language highschool
- Colegiul Naţional
Octavian Goga - mainly social sciences
- Liceul Teoretic
Onisifor Ghibu - informatics, social sciences and sports
- Colegiul Pedagogic Andrei Şaguna - training for
- Liceul Teoretic Constantin Noica - social
sciences and sciences
- Andrei Codrescu, writer
- Sabina Cojocar, gymnast
- Iancu Sasul, Moldavian Prince
- Nicolae Manolescu, Romanian
literary critic and politician
- Hermann Oberth, space flight
- Nicolaus Olahus, archbishop of
- Radu Vasile, former Prime Minister of Romania
- Alina Ciorogariu, Miss Tourism World 2003
Marburg (Germany) since 2005.Landshut (Germany)
since 2002.Rennes (France) since 1999.Klagenfurt (Austria) since
1990.Columbia, Missouri (USA) since 1994.Valencia, Carabobo
(Venezuela) since 1993.Wirral (UK) since 1994.Bauru (Brazil) since
1995.Malines (Belgium) since 1996.
- Sibiu on RomaniaTourism.com. Reference regarding
surface area, population, etc. Retrieved 22 Nov 2005.
Online - Official Site with information on tourism and history,
Sibiu pictures, and more. In Romanian, English and German.
1190 establishmentsMunicipalities of RomaniaSibiu CountySibiu