Welcome to the birthplace of Dracula.
Who could believe that such a beautiful medevial city in the heart of Romania would be the birthplace of a man that is rumored to have inspired the vampire legacy. Strolling along the cobblestone streets admiring the colorful houses one would never believe that such a man could have started his life here. However, Sighișoara has more to offer than just a peek at where Vlad the Impaler was born; the historical landmarks within the walled city of Sighișoara are enough on their own to fill a whole day.
Our first glimpse of Sighișoara from the train station was underwhelming. It looked like an average country village with some dirt roads, houses, and a few local businesses scattered about. Don’t let this deter you though as we discovered that the unique part of this town is located about 15 minutes walking distance from the train station where on the top of a hill lies the medieval walled portion of the city.
Our journey however, initially took us about 15 minutes in the opposite direction from the city. Across a bridge and through a very quite residential neighborhood we finally arrived at our accommodation for the night where we were warmly greeted by the owners of Pension Norbert. Traveling during a shoulder season and in a location a little out of the way has some benefits, such as being the only occupants of the Pension and getting to choose your room. While it is a little bit of a walk from the train station and about 30 minutes total walk to get to the walled portion of the city, it was clean, affordable, and most of all our hosts were friendly even offering to help us arrange a taxi the next day to catch our early morning train. For those of you traveling during the cooler months, they have a traditional outdoor hot tub with salty water (ciubar) located on site which they will happily set up for your use while you are there – you just have to let them know at least 24 hours in advance to give them time to prepare it.
After choosing our first floor room and getting some recommendations on places to eat, we were on our way to explore the sites that Sighișoara had to offer. We had our first good view of the walled city just outside of Biserica Sfânta Treime Church. After admiring the outline that the medieval walled town made on the horizon we started our journey up the twisting roads and pathways hoping to arrive somewhere near where we needed to be which was anywhere in the old part of the city. Now there is a more direct route to reach the city center that takes you underneath the clock tower, however, we did not realize this until our departure – of course. While our path may not have been the straightest or fastest it allowed for some great views, and popped us out just behind Biserica Romano-Catolică Cetate Church. I guess what I am trying to say is while you can take the quickest route to get into the city don’t be afraid to wander down a shaded path if you have the time as you might be surprised how much more you get to see.
There were a few things on my must see list in Sighișoara; the Turnul cu Ceas (clock tower), Biserica din Deal church on the hill, Vlad Dracul’s birthplace, and the Scara Şcolarilor (covered stairway). However, don’t let my small list fool you, there is plenty to do and see in this small city. The clock tower was first on the list and we arrived at pretty ideal time because the tower literally looked like it was glowing as the sun hit the tiles on the roof. Mathew and I stood and just stared at it for at least three minutes admiring it’s beauty.
Can’t stare for too long though we had places to go, so off to the covered stairwell we went. Let me tell you stairs are not my friend regardless of the fact that I feel like I can make it up quite a few flights without any major pains, I hate them with a passion. This stairwell however, despite being unadorned was beautiful in it’s simplicity. There was a musician at the top of the stairs playing an upbeat melody which probably also helped with my feeling of happiness as we climbed upwards towards the Biserica din Deal Church.
The Biserica din Deal Church built and preserved in late gothic style architecture is one of the few Transylvanian churches that to this day still features a crypt underneath the choir. The church was just about to close its doors as we arrived so we only had about five minutes to walk through and admire the inside, we were surprised to find that the crypt was available for viewing as well and made sure to take a look before they escorted us out for the night. The inside of the church was not the most decorative or stunningly beautiful, but it’s history, location and unique crypt makes it a must do. After you are done visiting the church you can walk back down the hill into the town through the massive cemetery; which reminded me of something out of a movie.
We made our way back into the walled portion of the city right around dinner time which meant unfortunately more foot traffic, and less of a chance to get a picture of Vlad’s home without a bunch of people milling about. Upon arriving we were surprised to see the home had been converted into a restaurant – that unfortunately we could not get seats for at peak dining hour – and that it so closely resembled those homes around it; not sticking out in any way other than the large signs in front announcing it’s importance in the town. I was able to grab a few quick photos of the side street near the home without to many distractions and then we decided to make our way out of the walled portion of the city to enjoy some dinner at Concordia a cozy restaurant at the base of the town’s Clock Tower entrance. (In my clock tower picture above you can catch a great view of the front of Vlad’s home – it is the bright yellow one on the right)
After a light breakfast the next morning, provided by our wonderful hosts at Pension Norbert. We made our way to the train station inspired by the city and ready to see more of Romania.
Food & Beverage
For more pictures of Sighișoara click here