Transylvania is a historical region that occupies the western and central Romania. From the twelfth century, the Saxons, the settlers of Germanic origin, settled in this region by fertile hills and extensive forests. Here they founded seven major cities: Klausenburg (Cluj Napoca), Herrmannstadt (Sibiu), Kronstadt (Brasov), Schässburg (Sighisoara), Mediasch (Medias), Mühlbach (Sebes) and Bistritz (Bistrita). For this, the region was called Transylvania, “seven villages”.
Cluj Napoca is the historical capital of Transylvania and a prestigious university center with a long tradition. Always been a crossroads of trade and culture, it boasts some fine buildings such as the eighteenth-century Palazzo Banffy and a pharmacy-museum of the sixteenth century. Noteworthy also is the equestrian statue of Matthias Corvinus and especially the Cathedral of St. Michael with neo-Gothic tower.
Sibiu: in 2007 the title of European Capital of Culture has sealed the importance of the city, considered one of the most beautiful cities in Romania, with its museums and monuments. The city has a unique architectural style with pretty streets and squares that frame to important buildings. Among the places of interest it stands out Bruckenthal Museum which houses many art treasures and a rich library. Nearby Sibiu there are other places of call: the village of Sibiel with a small museum of icons, the village of Sebes and Alba Julia, one of the centers of power of the Roman Dacia.
Sighisoara: thanks to its perfectly preserved medieval walls, the city is one of the architectural treasures of Romania. Sighisoara is famous also the Wallachian prince Vlad Tepes, better known as Count Dracula, who was born here in 1431. To visit the so-called House of Dracula and the covered stairway that climbs to the Church on the Hill.
Brasov is the position that the beautiful old town gathered around the Sfatului Square Brasov are one of the main attractions of Transylvania. Particular interest to the Black Church, the ramparts, the citadel, several buildings of the fifteenth and sixteenth century and the Orthodox Cathedral of St. Nicholas. The surrounding mountains, is located in Poiana Brasov, equipped and vibrant ski resort. A 28 km from Brasov is the Bran Castle, described in the book of Count Dracula.
Citadels Saxons between Brasov, Sighisoara and Sibiu are a hundred small villages with fortified churches. To defend itself from the frequent raids and the raids of the Turks, the inhabitants of Transylvania Saxons used to build the fortified churches, erigendole normally on a hill in the center of the villages. Today there are about one hundred: they are small wonders of medieval art that have preserved the German names that only old people still use. Particularly impressive is the fortified complex located in the town of Biertan, in the district of Sibiu, with three surrounding walls with towers, linked together by walkways, several towers and a church. Besides Biertan, they are also World Heritage fortified churches Calnic, Prejmer, Dârjiu, Saschiz and Valea Vilor. The most beautiful rural villages are certainly Soars (ancient Scharosch) and Viscri (originally Weisskirch).
CASTLES IN TRANSYLVANIA
Built between 1875 and 1914 in Sinaia on behalf of the Romanian King Charles I. It is located in the middle of a landscape of extraordinary beauty and combines the elegance of different styles: that of the German Renaissance, Baroque and Rococo. Designed to be a summer residence, it has become the favorite residence of the Queen Mary.
It was built in the ‘300 initially for military purposes. Later it was turned into a place of customs control to protect the trade route that connected Transylvania and Wallachia. Due to its solitary position, clinging to a rock, in the collective imagination the castle became the residence of Count Dracula.
It is considered one of the most important monuments of feudal art of South East Europe. Equipped with numerous towers, it was built in ‘200 on the ruins of an ancient Roman fortress and transformed by Iancu de Hunedoara, prince of Transylvania, Dracula’s cousin and father of the future king of Hungary Matthias Corvinus, in his personal residence.
THE MYTH OF COUNT DRACULA
Over a century ago the world considered this land extraordinarily beautiful: a romantic country of fairy tales, a place for noble enterprises, among castles and picturesque villages with wooden houses. In Victorian times, the British writer Bram Stoker was inspired by the true story of Prince Vlad, who lived in Wallachia and born in Transylvania, Sighisoara, to create one of the most famous characters in the history of literature and horror movies: Count Dracula.