Sighisoara - Transylvania, Romania

Sighetu Marmatiei General Information

Fast Facts

Location: Central Romania (Mures county)
Size: 3 sq. miles (7.12 sq. kilometers)
Elevation: 1,140 ft. (250 meters)
Population: 28,000
Inhabited since: 6th century BC
First documented: 1280 AD

Sighisoara History

The origins of Sighisoara go back to the Roman times. During the First Century AD, the Dacians (ancient inhabitants of the territory of modern Romania which eventually will develop into the Romanian people), built a fortification called Sandava. Under the Roman administration it was known as Castrum Stenarum. During the 12th century, the Transylvanian Saxons built a new citadel which was named Schäßburg. Sighisoara (Schäßburg - Schassburg or Schäsbrich in German) still stands as one of the most beautiful and best-preserved medieval towns in Europe. Designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, this perfectly intact 16th century gem with nine towers, cobbled streets, burgher houses and ornate churches rivals the historic streets of Old Prague or Vienna for atmospheric magic. It is also the birthplace of Vlad Draculea, also known as Vlad Tepes (Vlad the Impaler), ruler of the province of Walachia from 1456 to 1462. It was he who inspired Bram Stoker's fictional creation, Count Dracula. Vlad Draculea house is just one of the many attractions here. Others include the Church on the Hill with its 500-year-old frescoes, the 13th century Venetian House and the Church of the Dominican Monastery, known for its Transylvanian renaissance carved altarpiece, baroque pulpit, Oriental carpets and 17th century organ.

Sighisoara's citadel was built in the 12th century, when it was known as Castrum Sex (Fort Six), and was further strengthened and extended in the 15th century. In 1298, the town was mentioned as Schespurch, while in 1367 it was called Civitas de Seguswar. The name of Sighisoara was first mentioned in a written document issued by Vlad Dracul,
Vlad the Impaler's father, in 1431. In the 14th and 15th centuries, the economic growth recorded by Sighisoara's industrious craftsmen and tradesmen ensured financial means for the construction of a strong defense system provided with 14 towers and several bastions provided with gunnery directed to all four cardinal points. Each tower was built, maintained and defended by a craft guild. Among the most striking is the 14th century Clock Tower. This tower controlled the main gate of the half-mile-long defensive wall and stored the town's treasures. Sighisoara was not the biggest or richest of the seven Saxon walled citadels* in Transylvania, but it has become the best-known. A walk through the town's hilly streets with their original medieval architecture, unique mix of winding cobbled alleys, steep stairways, secluded squares, towers, turrets and enchantingly preserved citadel, make many visitors feel like stepping back in time.

The seven walled citadels populated by Transylvanian Saxons: Bistrita (Bistritz), Brasov (Kronstadt), , Cluj (Klausenburg), , Medias (Mediasch), , Sebes (Mühlbach), Sibiu (Hermannstadt) and Sighisoara (Schassburg) were called, during the medieval times "Siebenbürgen".

Sighisoara Sights and Landmarks

Sighisoara Citadel

Cetatea Sighisoarei
For several centuries, Sighisoara was a military and political stronghold. During the 14th - 16th centuries,
the Saxon craft guilds erected towers around the citadel walls to protect the town from Turkish raids.
Laid out on two to four levels, the towers stored ammunition and food supplies and were provided with firing windows for cannons, shells and arrows. Of the original fourteen towers and five artillery bastions, nine towers and two bastions have survived the test of time.

Medieval structures that have whistood the centuries include and strong defensive walls and towers:
Blacksmiths' Tower (Turnul Fierarilor), Butchers' Tower (Turnul Macelarilor), Cobblers' Tower (Turnul Cizmarilor), Furriers' Tower (Turnul Cojocarilor), Ropemakers' Tower (Turnul Franghierilor), Tailors' Tower (Turnul Croitorilor), Tanners' Tower (Turnul Tabacarilor) and Tinsmiths' Tower (Turnul Cositorilor) - traces of the 1704 siege are still visible.
The ninth tower still standing is the Clock Tower(Turnul Ceasului) itself.

Southern Transylvania, two-day trip, starting in Bucharest
Duration: two days / one night
Itinerary:Bucharest -- Sinaia -- Brasov -- Sighisoara (overnight) -- Bran -- Bucharest
Highlights: Peles Castle - Sinaia, Brasov, Sighisoara medieval citadel, Bran (Dracula's) Castle
Book this Tour

The Citadel Square

Piata Cetatii
This quaint small square lies at the heart of the citadel. In the old days, street markets, craft fairs, public executions and witch trials were held here. From this square, you can easily access the main attractions of Sighisoara.

Only goldsmiths, tailors, carpenters and tinsmiths were allowed to have their guilds and workshops inside the citadel. Guilds were active until 1875.

The Clock Tower

Turnul cu Ceas

Address: Strada Turnului
Museum Hours:
May 15 - September 15
Tue. - Fri.: 9 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Sat. - Sun.: 10 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
September 16 - May 14
Tue. - Fri.: 9 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Sat. - Sun.: 10 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Admission charge

One of Sighisoara's main points of attraction is the Clock Tower, also known as the Council Tower, built in the second half of the 14th century and expanded in the 16th century. The four small corner turrets on top of the tower symbolized the judicial autonomy of the Town Council, which could apply, if necessary, the death penalty.

After a fire in 1676 when the town's gunpowder deposits located in the Tailors' Tower exploded, Austrian artists rebuilt the roof of the tower in its present baroque style and in 1894, colorful tiles were added.
In the 17th century, a two-plate clock, with figurines carved from linden wood, was set at the top of the tower, with one dial looking over the Lower Town (Orasul de Jos), and the other facing the citadel (cetate in Romanian, burg in German). The figurines, moved by the clock's mechanism, each represent a different character. On the citadel side we see Peace holding an olive branch, accompanied by a drummer who is beating the hours on his bronze drum; above them are Justice, with a set of scales, and Law, wielding a sword, accompanied by two angels representing Day and Night. At 6 am, the angel symbolizing the day appears, marking the beginning of the working day and at 6 pm, the angel symbolizing the night comes out carrying two burning candles, marking the end of the working day.
The dial overlooking the Lower Town features a set of seven figurines, each representing the pagan gods who personified the days of the week: Diane (Monday), Mars (Tuesday), Mercury (Wednesday), Jupiter (Thursday), Venus (Friday), Saturn (Saturday)and the Sun (Sunday). The spire of the tower ends in a small golden sphere. At the top, there is a meteorological cock, which, turned around by air currents, forecasts the weather.

This intricate two-plate clock has been working continuously since the Middle Ages.

The Clock Tower served as the gathering place for the Town Council until 1556.
Since 1899, it huses the History Museum. From the top of the Clock Tower, visitors can see the entire Old Town with its intact, red-tiled roof, 16th century Saxon houses lining the narrow cobblestone streets. Today, merchants and craftsmen still go about their business, as they did centuries ago.

Church of the Dominican Monastery

Biserica Manastirii Dominicane
Address: Piata Cetatii
Not far from the Clock Tower stands the Church of the Dominican Monastery. First attested in a document in 1298 as part of a Dominican monastic settlement, the church became the Saxons' main Lutheran church in 1556. The monastic complex demolished in 1888 and its place was taken by the present town hall. Only the church has remained from the original structure.

Built in late-gothic style typical of the hall-churches, with two naves and two rows of pillars, the church was restored in the 15th century and then again in the 16th century after the big fire of 1676. The last repairs were done in 1894 and 1929, when the church acquired its present-day look. Inside the church, you can admire some valuable artistic objects, such as the bronze font dating back to 1440, the stone doorframe carved in 1570 in Transylvanian renaissance style and built into the northern wall of the church, the collection of 16th and 17th century Oriental carpets, a baroque organ and a fine altarpiece from 1680. Classical and baroque concerts are often held here.

Church on the Hill

Biserica din Deal (Bergkirche in German)
Address: Strada Cojocarilor 3
Open: daily, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Admission charge
To the north of the Clock Tower stands one of the most representative gothic-style structures in Transylvania, the Church on the Hill - so called because of its location on the top of citadel's highest hill. First mentioned in a document in 1345 and superposed on a former Roman basilica, its construction lasted almost 200 years.
Initially a Catholic church, it became the main church of the Saxon inhabitants of Sighisoara, who had shifted from Roman Catholicism to Lutheranism after the 1547 Reform.

The church was completely painted on the inside but in 1776, the majority of the old murals were destroyed, provided that exact copies would be made on parchment and reproduced later. Unfortunately, the copies were lost and the murals never reproduced.
A recent restoration brought back fragments of some of the original late 15th century frescoes.

Beautifully restored fragments of murals from the late 1400s and renaissance-style furniture can be admired in the church. The gothic altarpiece dedicated to St Martin dates from 1520 and was painted by Johann Stoss, the son of the renowned sculptor, Veit Stoss from Nürnberg. The three wood-carved coats of arms, found in the anterooms of the side naves, belonged to Mathias Corvin and his wife, Beatrix, the Transylvanian prince Stephen Bathory of Nyir (1479-1493) and the king of Poland and Hungary, Wladislav the 3rd. The church is reached via a covered wooden staircase known as Scara Scolarilor (Students' Stair - covered stairs leading to the school and church). Opposite the church is the main entrance of the serene Saxon cemetery (open daily 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.).

Students' Stair

Scara Scolarilor
Address: Strada Scolii
Located at the end of Strada Scolii (the School Street), Students' Stair connects citadel's Main Square with the Church and School on the Hill. Built in 1642, the Students' Stair (or Schoolboys' Stair) - a covered stair-passage - facilitates access the school and church and protect school children and church-goers, from the elements. It was initially ment to connect the lower section and the upper section of the citadel. 176 steps of the initial 300 are still in use today.

Vlad Dracul House

Casa Vlad Dracul or Vlad Draculea
Address: Strada Cositorarilor 5
The Vlad Dracul House is located in the Citadel Square, close to the Clock Tower. This ochre-colored house is the place where Vlad Tepes, the inspiration for Bram Stoker's famous Dracula, was born in 1431 and lived with his father, Vlad Dracul, until 1435 when they moved to Targoviste. A wrought-iron dragon hangs above the entrance. The ground floor of the house serves as a restaurant, while the first floor is home to the Museum of Weapons.
For his deeds, the Order of the Dragon was bestowed upon him, hence the title Dracul (the Latin word for dragon is draco). While in medieval lure dragons served as symbols of independence, leadership, strength and wisdom, the biblical association of the devil with the serpent that tempted Adam and Eve, gave the snake-like dragon connotations of evil. Thus, the Romanian word Dracul stands in English for both dragon and devil.

Benefiting from the friendship of the Hungarian king, Sigismund I of Luxembourg, Vlad II Dracul, the father of Vlad Tepes, spent his youth at the royal court and later distinguished himself as a brave knight in the fight against the Ottoman Empire.
Draculea, the family name of Vlad Tepes (the Impaler), means Son of the Dragon.

The Stag House

Casa cu Cerb
Address: Strada Scolii 1
Built in the 17th century in Transylvanian renaissance style, the house draws its name from the stag skull set on one of the corners of its façade. Recent restorations revealed an external mural depicting the stag's body. Nowadays, the building houses a hotel, with a ground floor that doubles as a cellar bar.

The Venetian House

Casa Venetiana
Address: Strada Cositorarilor 5
Built in the 16th century, the house was later restored in Venetian gothic style with the upper part of the windows forming a three-lobe arch.

Sighisoara Citadel Towers

Turnurile Cetatii Sighisoara
The half-mile defense wall was initially provided with 14 towers, of which nine have been preserved to this day. Among the most impressive are:

The Ropemakers' Tower

Turnul Franghierilor
Address: Strada Scarii
Dating from the 13th century and standing above the pre-Saxon citadel walls, the Ropemakers' Tower is one of the oldest buildings in Sighisoara. Its role was to defend - together with the Goldsmiths' Tower - the northwest corner of the hill. Nowadays, the tower is the home of the caretaker of the Saxon cemetery, located next to the Church on the Hill.

The Tailors' Tower

Turnul Croitorilor
Address Strada Zidul Cetatii
This imposing tower was raised in the 14th century by the richest guild in town. Initially as tall as the Clock Tower, its upper part was destroyed in the 1676 fire, when the town's gunpowder deposits, located here, exploded. The Tailors' Tower, with its two vaulted galleries which used to have huge oaken gates with an iron lattice, also serves as the second access road into the citadel. The tower was restored in 1935.

The Cobblers' Tower

Turnul Cizmarilor
Address: Strada Zidul Cetatii
The Cobblers' Tower, located in the northeastern part of the town, was first mentioned in documents dating from the mid-16th century but it was rebuilt from scratch in 1650. The tower bears the influence of baroque architecture, featuring a hexagonal base with sides of different lengths. Its roof, resembling a pointy helmet, houses a small observation tower.

The Lower Town

Orasul de Jos
Lack of water and supplies made life in the Citadel quite difficult at times. By comparison, living conditions in the Lower Town, which had started to develop at end of the 15th century, were much better. Today, the Lower Town, less picturesque than the Citadel area, centers around Hermann Oberth Square (Piata Herman Oberth) and Strada 1 Decembrie. Here, you can admire 17th century houses.

Hermann Oberth Square was named after Hermann Oberth (1894-1989), one of the forefathers of astronautics and rocketry. He was born in Sibiu and raised in Sighisoara.

Historic Churches

Lepers' Church

Biserica Leprosilor
Address: Strada Stefan cel Mare 34
Located in the Lower Town on the Tarva River bank, this small 15th century gothic church served as the lepers' asylum chapel between 1647 and 1684. Since the lepers were not allowed to enter the church, an outer pulpit was installed from which the Gospel was preached to the sick.

The Orthodox Cathedral

Catedrala Ortodoxa
This cathedral, built in Byzantine style between 1934 and 1937 and beautifully painted in black and white, is located on the northern shore of Tarnava Mare and is accessible by a footbridge.

St. Joseph Roman-Catholic Church

Biserica Romano-Catolica Sf. Iosif
Address: Strada Zidul Cetatii
Built in an eclectic style in 1894, the church underwent major restorations after a fire in 1983. The present organ, designed by Karl Einschenk in 1908, was brought from a Saxon church near Sighisoara.


Sighisoara History Museum

Muzeul de Istorie
Address: Piata Muzeului 1
Tel: (+4) 0265 771.108

Museum hours:
May 15 - September 15
Tue. - Fri.: 9 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Sat. - Sun.: 10 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
September 16 - May 14
Tue. - Fri.: 9 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Sat. - Sun.: 10 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Admission charge,
Ticket allows visits to the History Museum, Torture Room and Weapons Collection.
The museum also presents the evolution of crafts in Transylvania and features a collection of Renaissance furniture, medical instruments, ethnographic artifacts, fine arts as well as a collection of old clocks.

The Torture Room

Camera de Tortura
Address: Piata Muzeului 1
Tel: (+4) 0265 771.108
This small but interesting museum is housed at the foot of the Clock Tower in the same room where prisoners were tortured and confessions were extorted during the Middle Ages. Some of the amazing torture instruments and methods are on display.

The Medieval Weapons Collection

Colectia de Arme Medievale
Address: Piata Muzeului 1
Tel: (+4) 0265 771.108
Housed on the first floor of the house in which Vlad the Impaler (Vlad Draculea) was born, the museum features an array of medieval weapons, showcasing the development of weapons used in and around the town throughout the ages. Also on display is an oil portrait of Michael Freiherr von Melas (1731-1806).
Born in Sighisoara, he became a general of the Austrian mounted troops and fought against Napoleon Bonaparte's army at Marenga (June 14, 1880).

Attraction Attractions near Sighisoara

Saschiz Fortified Church

Where: 10 miles east of Sighisoara
Access: car, bus, train
Saschiz Fortified Church info

Biertan Fortified Church

Where: 18 miles west of Sighisoara
Access: car, bicycle
Biertan Fortified Church info

Town of Targu Mures

Where: 34 miles north of Sighisoara
Access: car, bus, train
Targu Mures info

Village Bradeni , 14 miles south of Sighisoara, is home to an interesting Saxon fortified church, built during early 1300s; its interior features a rare mix if Gothic and Renaissance styles. More than 200, hand-painted, chests (some more than 500-years old)) lay in the church’s attic. Each family in the village once had one or more chests filled with provisions, clothing and valuables. When the villagers had to seek refuge in the church, during the Ottoman raids, they had available the provisions in the chests to use until the raid ended.

Day Trips


Where: 15 miles southwest of Sighisoara
Access: car, bus, bicycle

Biertan & Richis

Where: southwest of Sighisoara, 45 miles (round trip)
Access: car, bus
Biertan info

Saschiz & Rupea

Where: south of Sighisoara, 68 miles (round trip)
Access: car, bus, train
Rupea info

Targu Mures

Where: 25 miles northeast of Sighisoara
Access: car, bus, train
Targu Mures info

Town of Medias

Where: 20 miles southwest of Sighisoara
Access: car, bus, train
Medias info

Town of Sibiu

Where: 54 miles southwest of Sighisoara
Access: car, bus, train
Sibiu info

Viscri Fortified Church

Where: 25 miles southeast of Sighisoara
Access: car
Viscri info

Vila Vinea (Mica) - Targu Mures - Liliac Winery (Batos) - Sighisoara

Where: north of Sighisoara, 130 miles (round trip)
Access: car, bus
Vila Vinea Winery info,
Targu Mures info,
Liliac Winery info

Harman Fortified Church

Where: 65 miles southeast of Sighisoara
Access:car, train to Brasov, and bus from Brasov to Harman
Harman info

Town of Brasov

Where: 72 miles southeast of Sighisoara
Access: car, bus, train
Brasov info

Bran (Dracula's) Castle

Where: 98 miles southeast of Sighisoara
Access: car, train to Brasov, and bus from Brasov to Bran
Bran Castle info

Festivals & Events

Festival of Medieval Arts and Crafts (July)

Re-creating a medieval atmosphere, complete with troubadour music and costume parades, street entertainers and handicraft displays, open-air concerts and medieval ceremonies, this event offers the chance to immerse yourself in the lore and legends of medieval Transylvania.



Air Transportation to Sighisoara

The closest airports to Sighisoara:

Targu Mures (TGM) - 30 miles north
Sibiu (SBZ) - 54 miles west
Cluj Napoca (CLJ) - 90 miles northwest

Train to Sighisoara

Sighisoara Train Station
Gara Sighisoara
Address: Str. Libertatii 51
Tel: (+4) 0265 771.130
There are daily trains from/to Bucharest, Arad, Brasov, Cluj-Napoca, Oradea, Satu Mare
and several other cities in Romania as well as from Budapest (Hungary).

To chech train schedules to/from Sighisoara please visit Romania Tourism Transportation section.
Note: For Bucharest please select Bucuresti Nord

Sighisoara Bus Transportation

Sighisoara Bus Stations
(international & domestic routes):

Bus Station # 1
Autogara 1 Sighisoara
Address: Str. Libertatii 53
(near the train station)

Bus Station # 2
Autogara 2 Sighisoara
Address: Str. Morii 21

Bus Companies - International Routes - serving Sighisoara

Address: Str. Morii 21
Tel: (+4) 0265 777.249
Daily bus service to several countries in Europe.

Pletl Agenture
Address: Str. O. Goga 6
Tel: (+4) 0265 778.887
Daily bus service to Austria and Germany.

Reaching Sighisoara by Car

The fastest route from Bucharest to Sighisoara is on road E60:
Bucharest -- Ploiesti -- Sinaia -- Brasov -- Rupea -- Sighisoara

An alternative – summertime - scenic route from Bucharest to Sighisoara is route 7C
Transfagarasan scenic road:
(road is open July through October) Bucharest -- Pitesti –- Curtea de Arges –- Carta –- Noul Roman -- Agnita -- Sighisoara

Road distances to / from Sighisoara:
Bucharest — 170 miles
Arad — 210 miles
Brasov — 72 miles
Budapest — 362 miles
Cluj Napoca — 90 miles
Constanta — 300 miles
Iasi — 180 miles
Oradea — 177 miles
Satu Mare — 172 miles
Sibiu — 54 miles
Sighetu Marmatiei — 160 miles
Suceava — 160 miles
Targu Mures — 32 miles
Tulcea — 280 miles
Timisoara — 200 miles
Vienna — 510 miles

Sighisoara taxi

Local taxi companies in Sighisoara include:
Sighisoara Taxi: (+4) 0740 688.312
Taxi Sighisoara: (+4) 0741 459.535
Taxi Nova: (+4) 0740 779.000
Taxi Chic: (+4) 0265 777.777
OK Taxi: (+4) 0265 770.020
Taxi Regal: (+4) 0265 778.899
Taxi Royal: (+4) 0265 777.776
Taxi TransAldea: (+4) 0265 777.785


Fronius Hotel - Sighisoara - Transylvania, Romania

Sighisoara Hotels

Accommodations in Sighisoara include:

Hotel Name Class Location
Fronius boutique / uppermidscale Sighisoara Citadel
Sighisoara three-star / midscale Sighisoara Citadel
Mercure Sighisoara Binderbubi four-star / midscale 0.4 miles south of Sighisoara Citadel
Central Parc four-star / uppermidscale 0.2 miles south of Sighisoara Citadel
Double Tree four-star / midscale 0.4 miles northeast of Sighisoara Citadel
Casa Georgius Krauss boutique / uppermidscale Sighisoara Citadel
Bulevard four-star / midscale 0.2 miles east of Sighisoara Citadel
Casa Savri three-star/ midscale 0.2 miles east of Sighisoara Citadel

Tourist Info

Sighisoara Tourist Information Centre 1
Address: Str. Octavian Goga, nr. 8
Telephone: (+4) 0265 770.415

Sighisoara Tourist Information Centre 2
Address: Piaţa Muzeului nr. 6 - Cetate

Postal Services & Telephone

Post offices display a postal horn symbol and the word Posta.

Central Post Office & Telephone Center
Address: Str. Oberth Hans 16 - 18
Tel: (+4) 0265 772.055
Open: Monday - Friday 7 a.m. - 8 p.m.

Telephoning Sighisoara from Abroad
International Access Code +4 (country code) + 0265 or 0365 (area code) + six-digit telephone number

Sighisoara Hospitals

Municipal Hospital
Spitalul Municipal Sighisoara

Address: Str. Zaharia Boiu 40
Telephone: (+4) 0265 771.451

Sighisoara - Useful Telephone Numbers
Ambulance (Ambulanta) – 112
Police (Politia) – 112
Fire Department (Pompierii) – 112
Sighisoara Town Hall
Primaria Sighisoara
Telephone: (+4) 0265 771.280


Sighisoara Map (Harta orasului Sighisoara)
Romania Maps(Harta Romaniei)