Photo Series: Sighisoara, By Day and Night

Sighisoara

When I decided to travel to Romania this May, there was one main thing drawing me to the country – Transylvania. For many people, this region and its fictional inhabitant Dracula are all they know about the large and diverse country of Romania. I wasn’t much better and I was intrigued by the mystical, gothic allure that the region seemed to hold. In my mind, typical Transylvania was a small secluded town with an old-world feeling, in wooded hill lands. In visiting the city of Sighisoara, I think I came as close as I possibly could to that fantasy.

Sighisoara, one of the original Siebenburgen that I keep harping on about, is today a city with a wonderfully preserved medieval old town. The old town is situated in the hilltop citadel and is loaded with sights and gothic character. Walking – or more likely stumbling – along its lumpy cobblestone streets you can take in the entire town well within a day and there’s no need to rush.

Sighisoara

Sighisoara

Sighisoara

Sighisoara

Sighisoara

Sighisoara

Sighisoara

Sighisoara

Given my earlier mentioning of Dracula, it is only fitting that Sighisoara is in fact the birthplace of Vlad Tepes, aka Vlad the Impaler, inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Compared with the Dracula-hype surrounding Bran Castle, the link between the city and Vlad is fairly downplayed. The only sign you will find of him in Sighisoara is a plaque on a townhouse claiming to be the house of his birth, which also just happens to be a restaurant.

Other sights in town are generally found at or near School hill, the highest point of the citadel. To reach the top of the hill visitors have several choices to walk up, including taking the covered wooden stairway known as the Scholar’s Stairs. While less direct, taking the path through the cemetery offers a more gentle and pretty approach. Upon reaching the top of the hill you come to the appropriately named Church on the Hill, a dignified Lutheran Church with some murals dating back to the 15th century.

Sighisoara

Sighisoara

Sighisoara

Sighisoara

Sighisoara

Sighisoara

Sighisoara

One of the best ways to get a feel for Sighisoara is to visit one of its main landmarks, the Clocktower and climb to the top. From the top, you’ll be rewarded with views not only of the citadel, but of the lower town below.

Sighisoara

Sighisoara

Sighisoara

Sighisoara

Another nice thing to do is to walk around the edge of the citadel so you can admire the towers along the walls and the sudden burst of nature found on the other side. There are paths on both sides of the walls, so you can explore them from either side. There are also many small stairways that lead up to the walls of the citadel, passing through pleasant and occasionally untamed nature.

Sighisoara

Sighisoara

Sighisoara

Sighisoara

While roaming the citadel’s streets at day is wholly pleasant, the old town takes on a more spooky tone at night. The groups of day trippers disappear to their next destination; the people staying in town depart for restaurants outside the citadel; and the streets become empty and quiet. You’ll notice that many of these photos are of similar spots to those above, but with a very different feel to them.

Sighisoara

Sighisoara

Sighisoara

Sighisoara

Sighisoara

Sighisoara

The streets in the centre of the citadel are relatively well-lit, but the side streets are a very different story. Walking around the fringes, the streets are awash with a harsh – almost sinister – orange glow that fails to properly illuminate the area. Barking dogs somehow feel more menacing and you can’t help but remember that this is the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler, an inspiration for ghoulish nightmares.

Sighisoara

Sighisoara

Sighisoara

Sighisoara

Sighisoara

Sighisoara

Sighisoara

So there you have it, the two sides of Sighisoara; both a splendidly medieval and yet spookily, gothic Transylvanian town. Despite its size, there is plenty to see and do in this charming city, certainly one of the region’s finest. For more information on visiting Sighisoara, visit the Romania Tourism Board website.

 


Have you visited Sighisoara, the beautiful medieval town and birthplace of Vlad the Impaler? What were your thoughts on this quaint town? Please share in the comments below.

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Photo Series: Sighisoara, By Day & Night in Transylvania, Romania via @travelsewhere

 


This post is part of Weekend Travel Inspiration at Albom Adventures. Please head on over for more great posts.

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18 Comment

  1. Lisa says:

    Looks like an interesting travel. I would add this to my list for sure. Your pics are great!

    1. David says:

      Thank you Lisa, it is definitely an interesting spot in Romania and a favourite of mine.

  2. Garth says:

    I love your photo series David, as you choose such interesting places. Sighisoara looks fascinating, love the colourful look of the village, the lighting at night does look very atmospheric.

    1. David says:

      Thank you Garth, I have a love for the off-beat destinations. I’d rank Sighisoara as one of the better medieval towns in Europe, even if it is a little spooky at night.

  3. Oooooooh this takes me back to our visit, the only difference is you had beautiful blue skies which really show how pretty this place really is! I absolutely loved walking around at night with the cobbled streets and orange-glow, it makes for some stunning photos and I love how you have captured it’s glory – I will admit, I’m jealous! Thanks for bringing back some lovely memories 🙂

    1. David says:

      Glad I could help bring back some memories Angie. It wasn’t all sunny and blue skies, we got hit with some thunderstorms my last night there but I don’t think any weather could make Sighisoara less beautiful. I’d love to see it blanketed in snow.

  4. Great post and love the photos as always – it still seems like an area not fully consumed by tourism and somewhere that provides plenty of opportunities for exploring. I am definitely going to look into visiting the region!

    1. David says:

      Thanks Alexei, it is definitely worth a look. I would say that most of Romania is still relatively untouched by mass tourism – even the most touristy places don’t feel too bad compared with other countries. That does provide its own challenges but yes, plenty to explore!

  5. Barry says:

    Never visited but after seeing your photos I would love to try one day. Especially like the nighttime shots which bring out a certain sense of eeriness on the streets.

    1. David says:

      Cheers Barry, I’d certainly recommend it if you’re ever in the area. I was really pleased with the night photos as they do reflect the mood of wandering the streets alone at night.

  6. There is a local Romanian population near us, and we enjoy their annual festival of food and culture. It’s made us very curious about the country, but we hadn’t learned about Sighisoara. We absolutely love smaller, medieval villages, and this looks right up our alley. Thanks for putting it on our radar!

    1. David says:

      The festival sounds like a lot of fun Rob, Romania has a fascinating and vibrant culture. If you love smaller medieval villages, then yes, this is perfect. Happy to help!

  7. Marcelle says:

    I’ve been in Sighisoara during a study trip and was immensely impressed how clean and beautiful the medieval town is and that the people often are able to speak German after such a long time. Great detailed post!

    1. David says:

      Oh cool Marcelle, glad to hear you’ve been here. It is an impressive town, I agree. I was also surprised to learn that there was a small ethnic German minority in the region. The city of Sibiu nearby even has a German speaking school, the only in the country.

  8. I had no idea Sighisoara was tied to the inspiration for Dracula, having that information put this place in a different context for me. The town has the perfect mix of history and mystical influence surrounding it. Your photos capture it’s intrigue and mystery perfectly.

  9. Sighisoara looks to be a quaint town preserved and without all the fanfare and “improvement” made to other more popular places. I would like to visit here.

  10. Lovely images. I am thinking Romania should be on our list to see while in Easter/n/Central Europe. Thanks for sharing.

    1. David says:

      Thank you so much for visiting. I would highly recommend Romania, there’s so much to see.

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