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Sighetu Marmaţiei/Romania

Introducing Sighetu Marmaţiei

Sleepy 'Sighet' (its shortened nickname) has a few sights for a morning's browsing, a pretty square edged by a church, and the Ukrainian border crossing just a few minutes away; but your real reason for being in Maramureş is its rural charm, so you needn't linger long. For centuries Sighet formed a cultural and geographic border between Slav-dominated territories to the north and Hungary and Romania to the south. Its name is derived from the Thracian and Dacian word seget (fortress).

Sighetu Marmaţiei, first documented in 1334, was also an important Jewish settlement until spring 1944, when most of the Jews were transported to Auschwitz-Birkenau. After WWII the communist government established one of the country’s most notorious prisons here, for dissidents, intellectuals and anyone else who could challenge the regime. It’s now one of the city’s most important tourist sights.

Nearly all the hotels, shops and restaurants are located on or near the central Piaţa Libertăţii or avenues that lead off it. The train and bus stations are adjacent and situated north of the city centre (about 10 minutes away on foot). To buy a city map (5 lei), try the bookshop Luceafărul.