A day in Sighisoara.
Sighisoara is Unensco listed for the medieval fortified downtown. It is one of the best preserved citadels in Europe and to lots of people one of the prettiest.
During the 12th century, German craftsmen and merchants were invited to Transylvania by the King of Hungary to settle and defend the frontier of his realm. They called this place Schäßburg and a lot of street signs are still in two languages. German is still an intrigal part of the people here. Even our host is German. German is taught in school alongside Romanian and the people strongly identify themselves as Saxon.
The medieval stronghold was off course built on top of a hill and the town stretches out into the valley below. We are in a place right on top of the hill, this means steps. Lots of steps. However you get great views from up here.
As we are staying at the top we will start there. At the central square there is a beautiful clock tower from the 13th century. Underneath this is the main entrance to the upper areas. Steep stairs lead down twisting between the houses to reach the lower town (or up, if you are in new town) with a few family owned restaurants along the way.
The souvenir shops are out in force, confirming that this is the most popular tourist town in Transylvania. You cannot swing an upset cat around without upsetting more stall holders. They are everywhere. Both sides of the street, well, not just the street, but all streets are covered with them. If you can look past these stalls it is easy to see why as the town is stunning. The cobbled stoned streets with cute little houses surround you with the towers towering above. Everywhere you look are signs of the intricate history of the region. Walking around you can see these old houses, most are restored, but get off the main streets and even up here in the historic centre you can find dilapidated old places that are in need of a bit of TLC, even though they all have plaques listing them as important historic monuments. Following the smaller streets takes you to interesting places, the churches for one. These are not as grandiose as the Orthodox churches, but are still impressive. Then there are the city walls surrounding the old town. Some of the towers have been redone, others are now little houses, and the rest are crumbling into obscurity. It is funny to see one with a manicured garden in front with chickens and sculptured shrubs but a hundred metres along the next is used as an old shed and falling apart.
A mandatory, must-see place is the House of Vlad. A standard looking, bright yellow house that is now a vampire themed restaurant and a museum, but it is known for being the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler. He spend a few years of his childhood here. He later went on to become a prime example of what boarding school can achieve. Working out different types of torture. Some of which he must have picked up when he was in Istanbul., That being said, apparently he was quite good to the general population. Fairly equal in his treatment of the people. Vlad was one of the first egalitarian rulers. If you were a lord that went against him you got the same brutal punishment as anyone else. He was a hero to most of his people. Rebelling against the Turks that gave him his fine education, with the help of the Hungarians, then when they had served their purpose, he tuned against them!
Right next to where we are staying is the covered staircase. This is quite a long steep set of stairs that lead to the top of the hill and the main cathedral in the complex. When we ascended, there was music coming from one of the side buildings, and was a great place to sit and watch the sunset.