This program is devoted to RRI’s ongoing contest “Home with Mother Ruta’s Spindle”, our destination being Sibiu, in central Romania, the perfect vacation spot for the whole family.
The city iof Sibiu in central Romania is full of tourist objectives, and most of them are concentrated in the old city center and its surroundings. As a result, you may be able to get to most places without public transportation. You can reach most places on foot, enjoying the local flavor.
In Sibiu you can see the first public theater opened in Transylvania. Also here you can step on the Celebrity Alley, which celebrates the best names in theater. You will walk alongside the walls of the old fortified city, and pass by the bust of Emperor Francis I of Austria. This recalls the time when Sibiu became the third city in the Austro-Hungarian Empire to be electrified, after Vienna and Timisoara. You can also admire there the bust of poet and playwright Friedrich von Schiller, a bronze statue celebrating his contribution to German language education. Whichever route you take, you will end up at some point in the Big Square, where many events are held, such as the famous Easter and Christmas fairs.
On Sunday, around 10 in the morning, the Old City Center is filled by the peals of bells from the steeples of five churches: one Roman Catholic, one Evangelical, one Christian Orthodox, and two Reformed.
Sibiu is an intercultural and interethnic haven, according to university teacher and Sibiu County Council chairman Ioan Cindrea: “If you go to Sibiu, to the Big Square, to the Small Square, to Metropolitan Street, you will see how a number of denominations: Christian Orthodox, Evangelical, Roman Catholic, etc can co-exit in an area no more than a few hundred meters in radius. We say that each of us goes to his or her own church, then we meet in the Big Square to say hello. This area is vast in culture, and the cultural element is major. It is interesting that, after Sibiu acted in 2007 as European capital of culture, cultural activities intensified. The number of tourists attracted by cultural activities has increased. We got to a number of tourists double that of the locals, and the figures are only going up. We have an annual theater festival, the third largest in the world, the Astrafilm Documentary Film Festival, the biggest in central and eastern Europe, the Jazz Festival, the ‘Mountain Song’ Traditional Music Festival, which brings in over 100,000 tourists each year in early August. At the same time, we are trying to promote places all over our county. Once every four years, each town or village plays host to a local festival, which brings in many tourists and emphasizes that area.”
Ioan Cindrea told us about some of the places of interest in and around Sibiu, stressing the fact that local authorities care a great deal about tourism: “There is the Balea area, the highest elevation area in the country, where you can ski 10 months a year, then the salt lakes in Ocna and Bazna, which are both spas, and also Paltinis, the largest resort in the country. We have a plan for promotion, whose presentation has been made, and now all we’re awaiting are investors. To receive tourists you need an infrastructure for communication, for informing the people who visit us: documentation and information center, the country tourism association, specialized websites, QR codes placed on buildings, which you can scan to find out about the history of the place. We now have them on the most important of buildings: the Bruckenthal Museum, the Natural Science Museum, the Astra Museum, the Museum of Pharmacy, etc.”
The State Philharmonic hosts many concerts of all kinds, with tango, jazz or traditional music. At the same time, the Sibiu Natural History Museum is the second in the country as exhibits go. And since Sibiu is the first city in Romania to open a pharmacy, don’t miss the Pharmacy Museum of Sibiu, which follows the development of pharmacy along the centuries.
The area is also promoted by several theme routes. You can choose from the Route of Nature, the Route of Fortifications, the Route of Cheeses, or the Route of Salt. However, cyclists will feel the most pampered.
Here is with details Simina Manea, executive director with the Sibiu County Tourism Association: “In the north of the county, close to the former Medieval burgh of Medias, which is really worth seeing, we started the Route of Fortifications, because this is the area with the largest concentration of fortified churches in our county and in Transylvania in general. And, because villages in this area have preserved their charm and atmosphere of yore, we have come up with routes for bicycles. Recently, we have marked 200 km of trekking and cycling routes, tying together the villages in the area and a few very attractive urban centers: Sighisoara, Sibiu, Medias and Brasov. The Secas area is a sparsely populated area, where you can find the lakes of Mandra and Ocna Sibiului, with the resort there having a great deal to offer to people seeking relaxation and treatment for a whole range of conditions, including rheumatism, but also people seeking pristine nature. The lakes also attract large numbers of birds.”
There you have it, a vacation destination for the whole family, where you will have no problem finding accommodation. There are many B&Bs and hotels, while the cuisine on offer is to match.