Sighisoara - Transylvania, Romania

Facts about Transylvania

Transylvania or Transilvania (from Latin – "the land beyond the forest") is a region in Romania,
'bordered' to south and east by the arc of the Carpathian mountains.
Location: Central Romania
Area: 34,177 sq miles
Population: Approximately 5.1 million
Main cities and towns: Alba Iulia, Bistrita, Brasov, Cluj Napoca, Medias, Deva , Miercurea Ciuc,
Sfântu Gheorghe, Sebes, Sibiu, Sighisoara, Targu Mures

Transylvania Highlights

Transylvania is home to some of Europe's best-preserved medieval towns, most notably Brasov, featuring Old Saxon architecture, Sibiu, with its cobblestone streets and pastel-colored houses, and Sighisoara, adorned with a hilltop citadel, secret passageways and a 14th century clock tower. Tiny shops that offer antiques and handicrafts made by local artisans line the narrow streets of the historic sections of most towns in Transylvania.

Visitors to Transylvania will also encounter stunning castles such as Bran and Corvin.
Bran castle, near Brasov, is a Gothic fairy-tale structure, often associated with 15th century Walachian Prince Vlad Tepes, the inspiration for Bram Stoker's novel Dracula. While the connection with Vlad is tenuous, the deep bond of local villagers with the legend is not.
The 15th-century Corvin Castle, with its towers and buttresses reminiscent of the medieval times, is considered by many the most beautiful in Transylvania. Its sumptuous Knights Hall – that can be used for functions or parties.

In close proximity to Brasov are several Saxon fortified churches. The largest and most spectacular are Harman, protected by massive walls and, still strong, 13th defending towers, and Prejmer, the largest fortified church in Southeastern Europe.

Transylvania is the birthplace of the Unitarian Church that merged with the Universalist Church in America, in 1961, to form the present Unitarian Universalist Association.

Transylvania's multi-ethnic heritage, including Romanian, German, Hungarian and Szekely, is delightfully apparent in the folk costumes, architecture, cuisine, music and traditions.

Colorful centuries-old traditions are alive and well in the small villages of Transylvania.
People in rural areas still make a living at such time-honored occupations as shepherds, weavers, blacksmiths and carpenters.

The Apuseni Mountains range, in the western Carpathians, are home to landscapes of exquisite beauty and rare species of wildlife. More than 4,000 caves and the second largest underground glacier in Europe: Scarisoara Glacier await to be explored.

20 Places to explore in Transylvania

Transylvania is Romania's best-known region and home to numerous historic sites and natural areas that delight visitors from all over the world. Here are just a few of them:

1.   Quaint towns and villages, medieval citadels, fortresses and castles.

2.   Old Town Brașov one of the most beautiful medieval towns in Romania.

3.   Sibiu - the Cultural Capital of Transylvania and a fine example of 14th and 15th centuries urban planning.

4.   Sighișoara citadel, arguably the most authentic and best preserved medieval town in Europe.

5.   Bran Castle (also known as Dracula's Castle), built in 1377

6.   Râsnov Fortress – built in the 1300s by the Teutonic Knights to protect Transylvania against Tartar invasions.

7.   Saxon fortified churches in Biertan, Câlnic, Hărman, Dârju, Prejmer, Saschiz Valea Viilor and Viscri
all designated by UNESCO as World Heritage sites

8.   Bruckenthal Palace - Sibiu, Transylvania's finest art museum.

9.   Mărginimea Sibiului - 18 traditional villages, just northwest of Sibiu.

10.   Sibiel Museum of Icons Painted on Glass, the largest of its kind in Europe.

11.   The 14th-century Corvin Castle - one of Transylvania's most spectacular Gothic structures
with impenetrable walls, a drawbridge and a massive dungeon.

12.   Sarmisegetuza Regia, remnants of the capital of kingdom of Dacia (modern day Romania).
The Roman Empire conquered Dacia in 106 AD and built a new capital at Ulpia Traiana Augusta Dacica Sarmizegetusa.

13.   Țara Moţilor (the Land of the 'Moţi' people). The Moţi (name given to the inhabitants of the region) live in scattered villages
located at altitudes of over 5,000 feet, in the Apuseni Mts., and have preserved their century-old traditions and lifestyle.

14.   Apuseni Mountains Park abundand wild life, unspoiled landscapes and over 400 caves and underground glaciers.

15.   Village Rimetea home 138 wonderfully preserved traditional houses illustrate the local achitectural style of the 1800s.

16.   Alba Iulia Vauban Fortifications (18th century), the largest of its kind in south-east Europe.

17.   Ancient Turda Salt Mine, now a museum and amusement park 400 feet below earth's surface.

18.   City of Cluj-Napoca, the largest urban and university centre in Transylvania. Every year Cluj hosts numerous sports and cultural events including Transylvania International Film Festival and Untold dance music Festival.

19.   Lacul Sfânta Ana (Lake Saint Anne),
volcanic crater lake known for the purity of its water and the wealth of adventure opportunities available in the area.

20.   Sovata - spa town home to Europe's only helio-thermal, salty, lake: the Bear Lake (Lacul Ursu).
Severe rheumatic pains, peripheral nervous system diseases and chronic gynecological symptoms are treated in Sovata's medical spas.


Transylvania Sights video, courtesy of Mr. Denis Žuran


Main Museums in Transylvania

Alba Iulia
Unification Museum

Ethography Museum
Brasov Art Museum
Brasov History Museum
Weavers' Bastion

Cluj Napoca
Ethnography Museum of Transylvania
Cluj Napoca Art Museum
Transylvania History Museum

Miercurea Ciuc
Csíki Székely Museum

"ASTRA" Museum of Ethnography and Rural Civilization
Bruckenthal - Transylvania's finest art museum

History Museum and the Clock Tower

Transylvania Performing Arts Institutions

Brasov Philharmonic Orchestra Gheorghe Dima ,
National Opera
Puppet Theater "Arlechino",
Sica Alexandrescu Drama Theater

Cluj Opera,
National Theater,
Hungarian Language Theater - Cluj Napoca,

Radu Stanca National Theate,
State Philharmonic Sibiu

Targu Mures:
Philharmonic Orchestra at the Hall of Mirrors

Transylvania Outdoor Adventures & Nature Parks

Apuseni Nature Park – a wildlife and caver's paradise

Gradistea Muncelului - Cioclovina Nature Park - site of the Sarmisegetuza - Dacian Civilization - archaeological site.

Piatra Craiului National Park – spectacular rocky steep walls, virgin forests,
and one of the world's deepest underground abysses (Coltii Grindului shaft, - 1,800 feet)


Transylvania offers excellent conditions for outdoor activities: Biking, Camping, Caving, Rock-Climbing, Fishing, Hiking, Nature walks, Rafting, Wildlife and Bird Watching

Food & Wines of Transylvania

Traditional food

Transylvania's cuisine displays dishes based on meats and vegetables and flavored with thyme, red pepper or tarragon. 
Pork, mutton, veal, potatoes, red peppers, wheat and corn are among the most popular ingredients in Transylvania's cuisine.
Sour cream and egg yolk are ofted added to many traditional soups, except to those that feature homemade pasta (tăiței) or dumplings.
Polenta (Mamaliga) - Transylvania’s version of grits, a hearty corn meal porridge with a grainy texture,
is often served with rich soups and meat stews.
German and Hungarian influences can be identified in many Transylvanian dishes.

A typical, traditional meal, in Transylvania include:
~ Homemade Smoked pork lard (slanina), served as an appetizer with fresh bred red onion or hot-green pepper.
Like in Germany, dense bread is quite popular in Transylvania. In some areas of this region of Romania, when making the dough, a part of the wheat flour is replaced with mashed potato to get a tasty potato-bread.
~ Potato soup with smoked pork rib and taragon (Ciorba de cartofi cu afumatura)
or Chicken Sour-Soup with taragon (Ciorba de Pui cu Tarhon).
~ Meat (and potato) stew or Cluj-style Cabbage ( „Varza a la Cluj” ) – a Transylvanian version of lasagna:
layers of shredded sauerkraut and minced pork and/or beef mixed with rice, topped with sourcream.
~ Plum (or cheese) dumplings (Gomboti) – fresh local plums cooked in mashed potato dough, coated with buttered breadcrumbs and sugar.
Other Transylvania culinary specialties:
Varzare (traditional pie made from bread dough filled with cheese, dill and orache spinach or with cabbage or potato and baked in brick oven).
Supa de Chimen (caraway seads soup),
Ciorba de ardei umpluti (minced meat stuffed pepper soup),
Tocana de ciolan de porc (smoked shank and potato stew),
Lichiu or Hencles in German - sweet pie made from risen dough, butter, sourcream, egg and raisins. Lichiu is a traditional wedding reception desert.

Transylvania Wine Regions

Transylvania grapevine acreage is currently estimated at 16,310.
There are five major wine regions in Transylvania: Aiud, Alba, Lechința, Sebeș-Apold and Târnave
where 18 large wineries produce excellent white wines (dry, half-dry, semi-sweet and sweet).

Winetasting / Wineries in Transylvania

Domeniul Ciumbrud
Address: Str. Salviei 6, Ciumbrud-Aiud
Telephone: (+4) 0726 789.286
Wines: Chardonnay, Dry Muscat, Feteasca Alba, Feteasca Neagra, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Traminer
Labels: Cardinal, Domeniul Ciumbrud, Fior, Mentor, Mulbach, Privilegium

Crama Jidvei / Bethlen-Haller Château
Address: DJ107 89, Cetatea de Baltă
Telephone: (+4) 0753 992.255
Wines: Aligote, Feteasca Alba, Feteasca Regala, Gewurtztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc, Muscat Ottonel, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Italian Riesling, Pinot Noir
Labels: Castel, Eiswein, Grigorescu, Mysterium, Owner’s Choice, Tezaur, Traditional

Crama Takacs
Address: Str. Ion Creanga 10, Aiud
Telephone (+4) 0762 207.490
Wines: Chardonnay, Fetească Albă, Gewurtztraminer, Italian Riesling, Merlot, Muscat Ottonel, Rhein Riesling, Traminer.
Labels: Crama Takacs

Crama Țelna
Address Str. Principala 225, Telna - Ighiu
Telephone: (+4) 0376 448.833
Wines: Feteasca Regala, Muscat Ottonel, Sauvignon Blanc
Labels: Colecția 1784, Corbul Alb, Crama Țelna

Crama Liliac
Address: Str. Principala 41, Batos
Telephone: (+4) 021 539.90.92
Wines: Fetească Albă, Fetească Neagră, Fetească Regală, Merlot, Neuburger, Pinot Grigio, Rose Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc
Labels: Liliac, Titan

Crama Villa Vinea
Address: Mica (Mures county), Str. Principala 243
Telephone: (+4) 0365 505.107
Wines: Fetească Neagră, Fetească Regală, Gewurtztraminer, Kerner, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Rhine Riesling, Zweigelt
Labels: Villa Vinea

Crama La Salina
Address: Str. Dealu Viilor 10, Turda
Telephone: (+4) 0364 110.464
Wines: Chardonnay, Muscat Ottonel, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc,
Labels: Issa

Crama Jelna
Address: Jelna - Satu Nou,
Telephone: (+4) 0740 986.056
Wines: Fetească Albă, Fetească Regală, Chardonnay, Italian Riesling, Muscat Ottonel, Neuburger, PinkTraminer , Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon.
Labels: Amprenta Transilvaniei, Dealu' Negru, Navicella


Transportation to Transylvania


Major airports in Transylvania:
Cluj (CLJ)
Sibiu (SBZ)
Targu Mures (TGM)

Airlines with service to the region include: Austrian Airlines, Lufthansa, Tarom, WizAir

Travel to Transylvania by train or bus

There is frequent train and bus service from/to Bucharest - and other major cities in Romania - to Transylvania region.

To check train and bus schedules, for domestic routes, please visit
RomaniaTourism Domestic Transportation section.

Information on international train service to/from Transylvania are available at
RomaniaTourism International Transportation section.

Transylvania Tourist Information

Alba Iulia Tourist Information Centre
Centrul de Informare Turistica - Alba Iulia

Address: Aleea Sfântul Capistrano 28,
Alba Carolina Citadel
Telephone: (+4) 0371 337 148
Opening Hours:
May — October:
Mon. — Fri. 9 a.m. — 7 p.m.
Sat. and Sun.: 9 a.m. — 5 p.m.
November — April:
Daily: 9 a.m — 5 p.m.

Brasov Tourist Information Centre
Centrul de Informare Turistica - Brasov
Address: Piața Sfatului 30
(inside Brasov History Museum)
Telephone: (+4) 0268 419.078
Opening Hours: Mon. — Sun. 9 a.m. — 7 p.m.

Cluj Napoca Tourist Information Centre
Centrul de Informare Turistica - Cluj

Address: Bulevardul Eroilor 6, Old Town Cluj
Telephone: (+4) 0264 452 244
Opening Hours:
Mon. — Fri.: 8:30 a.m. — 5 p.m.
Sat. and Sun.: 10 a.m. — 4 p.m.

Sibiu Tourist Information Centre
Centrul de Informare Turistica - Sibiu

Address: Str. Samuel Brukenthal 2, Great Square
Telephone: (+4) 0269 208.913
Opening Hours:
Mon. — Fri.: 10 a.m. — 6 p.m.
Sat. 10 a.m. — 4 p.m.

Miercurea Ciuc Tourist Information Centre
Centrul de Informare Turistica - Miercurea Ciuc
Address: Piața Libertății 5
Telephone: (+4) 0266 317 007
Opening Hours: Mon. — Fri. 8 a.m. — 4 p.m.

Targu Mures Tourist Information Centre
Centrul de Informare Turistica - Targu Mures
Address: Strada George Enescu 2
Telephone: (+4) 0365 404 934
Opening Hours: Mon. — Fri.: 9 a.m. — 4 p.m.


Map of Romania's Historical Regions
Romania Tourist Attractions Map