Sibiu is awash in aristocratic elegance. Noble Saxon history emanates from every art-nouveau facade and gold-embossed church. Renowned composers Strauss, Brahms and Liszt all played here during the 19th century, and Sibiu has stayed at the forefront of Romania’s cultural scene through its festivals of opera, theatre and film, as well as rock, jazz and more. The country's first hospital, school, library and pharmacy were all established here, and locals are justly proud of the spirit of enterprise that endures to this day.
Beyond its grand architecture, Sibiu has a good dose of bohemian flair. Houses with distinctive eyelid-shaped windows (imagine a benign 'Amityville Horror' House) watch a cast of artists and buskers bustling below them. Cafes and bars inhabit brick-walled cellars and luminously decorated attics. Sibiu's soul lies somewhere in between genteel coffee culture and unbridled creativity.