Alex Harford Photography & Travel


Sighişoara's Medieval Citadel, Transylvania

I'd previously seen Sighişoara on TV, and it's one old town that looks just as perfect in real life as it does on screen. The citadel is smaller than it first looks, which I realised after having déjà vu in the same place 3 times in only an hour of wondering.

It's one of 7 fortified Saxon cities in Transylvania, the apparent birthplace of Vlad the Impaler and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Sighişoara's Clock Tower at duskPhoto of Sighişoara's Clock Tower at dusk, by Alex HarfordSunset and the church on a hill that's called Church on the HillPhoto of Church on the Hill sunset, Sighişoara, by Alex HarfordBaby browsing market stallPhoto of baby browsing market stall, Sighişoara

Dracula Land!

We could be lucky the citadel still exists in its current state; in 2003 proposals were rejected to turn part of Sighişoara into a Dracula Land theme park. Wrote Mr. Tamas Fejerdy in a letter to Romania's president;

"Excellency, In my capacity as Chairperson of the World Heritage Committee I would like to applaud the decision to halt the proposed development of the themepark 'Draculaland' at the World Heritage site of the 'Historic Centre of Sighişoara' (Romania)."

Phew, it's a shame so many other places have lost their souls in the pursuit of tourist dollars. Here's hoping Sighişoara remains that way - plans for Dracula Land were actually given the go ahead in 2001, when the biggest objector seemed to be Hans Bruno Fröhlich, a church pastor in Sighişoara, but even he was happy enough with a theme park;

"As pastor and a practicing Christian, I don't think the idea is good. You can build a theme park, but not one that attacks Christian values."

Consultants for the project included the operators of a Wild West theme park in Germany. There were plans to build a golf course too. Thankfully Sighişoara seems to be in a better state now than the crumbling town described in the National Geographic news article above.

Sighişoara's Towers

There were 14 towers constructed along the citadel walls, but only 9 remain. They were built by and named after the town's various guilds between the 14th and 16th centuries to protect against Turkish raids.

The Clock TowerPhoto of the Clock Tower, Sighişoara

The Clock Tower was intended to be the main gate into the citadel and originally housed the town's council. The first part was built in the 14th century, with additions in the 16th, 17th (the clock), 17th again (roof rebuild after a fire) and 19th (the colourful tiles) centuries. It now houses the History Museum and offers decent views over the rest of the town. I'm not sure if there was a clock-making guild or if it has only been known as the Clock Tower since the clock was added...

The Ropemakers' Tower (Turnul Franghierilor)The Shoemakers' Tower (Turnul Cizmarilor)The Tailors' TowerThe Blacksmiths' Tower (Turnul Fierarilor)Photo of The Blacksmiths' Tower

Other than the Clock Tower, the Blacksmiths' Tower was probably my favourite of Sighişoara's towers; I liked its fairytale-esque hidden and dilapidated state.

Sighişoara's Streets...and More Clock Tower

The House with the StagPhoto of The House with the StagThe Clock Tower from Piata Cetatii (Citadel Square)Photo of Sighişoara's Clock Tower from Piata CetatiiEntrance to the citadel, below The Clock TowerEntrance to the citadel, below The Clock TowerStradela Cetatii (Citadel Street)Photo of Stradela Cetatii (Citadel Street)Monastery StreetMonastery Street, SighişoaraMonastery Street and Church on the HillMonastery Street and Church on the Hill, SighişoaraAn old Talbot carOld Talbot carThese people were doing slow exercises to loud pumping musicAlley from Piata Cetatii (Citadel Square)Alley from Piata Cetatii (Citadel Square)

Church on the Hill

The Church on the Hill and its sprawling graveyard is accessed by a covered staircase built in 1652.

Church on the Hill and the old town, from a farmGraveyard behind the Church on the HillGraveyard behind the Church on the HillHeadstone and flowers, Church on the HillAdele, Gertrud and Milli - Headstone and flowers, Church on the Hill

St. Treime's Orthodox Church

St. Treime's Church lies on the Tarnava Mare river, around a 5-minute walk from the citadel.

St. Treime's Orthodox ChurchPhoto of St. Treime 's Orthodox Church,  by the river Tarnava Mare

How to get to Sighişoara

(See-ghee-shwah-ra) There are direct train connections from many Romanian cities, including Bucharest and Sibiu.

Photos taken with the Canon Powershot S5 IS bridge camera.


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