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Introducing Sighişoara

So pretty it should be arrested; from the moment you enter its fortified walls, wending your way along cobblestones to its centrepiece square, Sighişoara burns itself into your memory. It's like stepping into a kid's fairy tale, the narrow streets aglow with lustrously coloured 16th-century houses, their gingerbread roofs tumbling down to pretty cafes. Horror fans won't be disappointed either, for this Unesco-protected citadel, the best preserved of its kind in Europe, was the birthplace of one of history's great monsters – Vlad Ţepeş (The Impaler).

The area was settled by the Romans, and it wasn't until the 12th century that immigrant Saxons established a thriving trading town here and the citadel you see today. It was later extended and enlarged in the 14th century. Grab a caffeine burst outside Ţepeş' house (opposite the fantastical church with the onion-dome spire); visit the sights of the citadel then wind yourself up for the climb to the church on the hill. Many use Sighişoara as a base from which to explore the enchanting Saxon villages of Viscri and Biertan. If you're here late July, the weeklong Medieval Festival of the Arts is a blast of colour, alcohol and Saxon merriment.

Cartographia publishes the highly detailed Sighişoara fold-out map, covering the city and environs.