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92667c6020ee9adbcd372af7377663fd astra museum of traditional folk civilisation

Introducing Sibiu

Instantly charming with a maze of cobbled streets and baroque squares undulating downhill, Romania's cultural gem has a magic all of its own. Franz List and Johan Strauss were drawn here in the 19th century, and in 2007 the city was voted European Capital of Culture. In fact, the country's first hospital, school, library and pharmacy were all established here, so there must be a spirit of enterprise in the air.

Most months have myriad things going on, from festivals (more festivals here than any other city in Romania), exhibitions, theatre and opera, as well as plenty of cafes to people-watch in the city's three main squares. Sibiu has a bohemian yet stately ambience, which is perhaps what makes it so appealing; its back streets of wilting pea-green houses with their distinctive eyelid windows (imagine a benign 'Amityville Horror' House), watching a cast of artists, visiting guildsmen and buskers bustle below them, just as they did back in the 18th century when the city really blossomed.