Sighisoara (Sighisoara), Romania

The "inhabited castle", the town centre of Sighisoara (Schäßburg), with its nested roofs, imposing stund tower and distinctive hilltop church, is one of the most beautiful medieval legacies in Europe.

Sighisoara, a small town in the historic part of Romania's legendary Transylvania, is the only surviving and inhabited medieval fortress in Europe, with its turrets, crooked little houses and winding streets.


In hardly any other city are the legacies of Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Historicism to be found in such a concentrated and original form. You simply have to see it - that's why it's one of our top 10 sights of Romania.

PICTURES: Sighisoara

Photo gallery: Sighisoara

Journey to Sighisoara

Getting to Sighisoara can be done either by car or by train. Train connections are available from Bucharest, Sibiu, Brasov, or internationally from Budapest(Hungary) and Vienna(Austria).

Sights of Sighisoara

The entire historical centre of Sighisoara is called the "castle". The old town of Sighisoara has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1999 as an outstanding example of a medieval town. The citadel of Sighisoara was built in the 12th century by Romanian Saxons of German origin at the behest of the Hungarian king. Even today, the winding streets of Sighisoara are lined with pastel-coloured town houses

Tip: Once the camera-clicking daytime visitors have left Sighisoara in the evening, the fairytale charm of this doll's house-like old town can really unfold. An overnight stay in one of the enchanting guesthouses behind historic walls is well worth it!

Hour tower

Landmark and most popular photo motif in the old town of Sighisoara is the impressive Stundturm from the late 14th century, Romania - © FRASHO / franks-travelbox
© FRASHO / franks-travelbox

The landmark, probably the most striking building and the most popular photo motif in the old town of Sighisoara is the impressive Stundturm from the late 14th century. Today it represents the connection between the lower and upper town.

The 64m high tower was the council seat of the city government until 1656 and the main gate of the castle at that time. On the fifth and top floor, at a height of almost 40 metres, a wooden gallery served as a lookout and fire station. One floor below is Romania's only mechanical clock, which gave the hour tower its name.

Its current appearance dates from the 17th century, after it was renovated following a major fire. It is still distinguished by the four turrets at the corners of the roof as a sign of blood jurisdiction.


Since 1898, the museum of the guilds has been housed within its stone walls, which are over 2 metres thick. Five of the fourteen towers of the city wall that fortified the upper town of Sighisoara in the Middle Ages (butcher's, furrier's, tailor's, shoemaker's and pewterer's towers) are also reminiscent of the guilds.

Monastery church

The monastery church of Sighisoara dates back to the 13th century and is furnished with 33 hand-knotted oriental carpets, Romania - © FRASHO / franks-travelbox
© FRASHO / franks-travelbox

The monastery church can be found behind the hour tower on the right-hand side. It was built in the 13th century by Dominican monks and was once connected to a monastery, which was, however, demolished at the end of the 19th century in favour of the town hall.

The present church dates from the late 17th century, after its predecessor fell victim to the town fire in 1676. Noteworthy in the monastery church are the 33 hand-knotted carpets once donated to the order by Anatolian merchants, the Baroque organ, the Baroque altar and the bronze baptismal font from 1440. Behind the church, there is a beautiful view over Sighisoara's lower town.

Sighisoara Mountain Church

The unmistakable Sighisoara Mountain Church is perched on the top of School Hill above the old town of Sighisoara and is now more of a museum than a church - © FRASHO / franks-travelbox
© FRASHO / franks-travelbox

The distinctive Sighisoara Mountain Church towers over the old town of Sighisoara on the summit of School Hill and is now more of a museum than a church. The fortified place of worship was built from 1345 onwards and displays historic 16th-century gallery chests and several altars from former churches of abandoned parishes in Transylvania-Saxony.

It is also worth noting that the Sighisoara Mountain Church houses the only crypt in Transylvania that is open to tourists. Also worth seeing is the adjacent German cemetery with its artistic gravestones amidst lush green trees. From Castle Hill, the view falls over the nested roofs of Sighisoara and parts of the city wall.

Tip: With a combined ticket for the Sighisoara Church, you can also visit the monastery church of the Dominican Order next to the Stundturm, which was built from 1291.

Just below the mountain church on the Schulberg is the Josef-Haltrich-Lyzeum grammar school, whose entrance, like the mountain church, can be reached via a covered staircase with 100 steps.

Marketplace of Sighisoara

The cobblestone market square of Sighisoara is lined with several merchant houses worth seeing - © FRASHO / franks-travelbox
© FRASHO / franks-travelbox

Sighisoara's cobbled market square is lined with several merchant houses worth seeing, including the House with the Deer Antlers, once owned by the wealthy Wenrich and Bacon family and now converted into a lucrative hotel, and the Venetian House, so named for its striking Gothic lancet windows.

Right next to the house with the stag's antlers is the Protestant church, which was built as a monastery church from 1492 to 1515. Its historical treasures include wall paintings from its time of origin, a bronze baptismal font from 1411, the magnificent baroque of the organ and altar, and 35 oriental carpets dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries.


Count Dracula in Sighisoara

 According to legend, the model for Count Dracula, Vlad III Drăculea, was born in this house in Sighisoara, Romania - © FRASHO / franks-travelbox
© FRASHO / franks-travelbox

Count Dracula, the character from Bram Stoker's novel, is also marketed in Sighisoara, as he is in almost all of Transylvania. According to legend, Vlad III Drăculea, son of Vlad II. Dracul and the model for Count Dracula, was born in a house in Sighisoara in 1431. "The Impaler" is said to have lived in the town for five years afterwards.

However, only two rooms above a restaurant are open to visitors. Around the corner, a bust commemorates the "Impaler". Next to the house where Vlad Tepes (Vlad III Drăculea) was born, a small weapons museum has been set up, displaying medieval swords, as well as arrows and bows.

Tip: If you want to follow in Dracula's footsteps on your trip through Romania, you must also visit "his castle", Bran Castle.

Events in Sighisoara

In summer, several festivals attract numerous guests to the city, for example the Medieval Music Festival on the last weekend in July, which attracts around 30,000 tourists to Sighisoara every year. During the three-day festival, there is medieval music, dance and theatre, as well as handicrafts and exhibitions to marvel at.

In August, you can attend the academic music festival with classical music in the town hall hall or the otherwise closed synagogue, or the multi-ethnic festival ProEtnica, where all ethnic groups of Romania meet and sing, dance and celebrate together.