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From Cluj 2 days tour: Medieval burghs in Transylvania. Travel back in time, medieval time, to the 12th -15th century, when knights, settlers, kings roam around, everyone trying to gain someone’s favor for land, money and privileges. What we’re left with today are castles, citadels and fortresses, some in ruins, some intact, history facts, legends and myths, some scary, other funny, few not-to-be-mentioned, cities build on top of ruins, settlers, invasions and strong-willed population. Exposed history at its best!
In the morning
Stop at: Rimetea village
It was pleasantly quiet here” that’s what most tourists say about this place. A former mining village today a monument-village which managed to keep and conserve its heritage, the architectural values of old times, awarded in 1999 the “Europa nostra” distinction for rural restoration: each house declared a historical monument has to be preserved, restored according to its initial neoclassic architecture.
Trascau region is a botanical and geological sanctuary with wooden bridges, sheep flocks, cliffs long as you can see, good food, traditional Hungarian villages, a heaven for sky gliders and for those looking for peace and serenity in the nature. Don’t forget to bring your camera.
Stop at: Alba-Iulia citadel
Alba Carolina, a Vauban star shaped fortress build in 18th century, one of the most impressive of its kind in S-E of Europe. Also known as Karlzburg after the Austrian-Hungarian king, Karol the VIth, the fortress holds inside its walls the main touristic attractions of Alba-Iulia, one of which stands out: St. Michael cathedral, a valuable architectural monument in Transylvania, with the same age as its sister in Paris, the Notre Dame.
Stop at: Sibiu old city
A Saxon build city, Europe’s cultural capital in 2007, the 8th most idyllic city of Europe by Forbes magazine and a must see for any traveler who comes to Transylvania. If you are interested in culture, this is the place for you: Brukenthal Palace, Astra village museum, the Lutheran cathedral, you’ll be surrounded and submerged in history. Bring comfortable shoes for its narrow rock paved streets.
We will spend the night in Sibiu.
Stop at: Biertan village
Vying for the town status, competing with Mosna and Medias, the people of Biertan expanded their 14th century basilica into an impressive hall church. But they didn’t win town status, instead manage to leave behind one of the most beautiful existing fortified churches, surrounded by three circular walls and eight towers. In their memory and to celebrate its history and traditions, every third Saturday of September Biertan becomes ’Sachsentreffen’, the meeting place of Saxons everywhere; something that shouldn’t be missed.
Stop at: Sighisoara, medieval city
The best preserved inhabited medieval Saxon city, held an important strategic and commercial role in central Europe for many centuries. Also, the presumed birthplace of Vlad Dracul made famous by Bram Stoker’s book and cinema. A city much loved by tourist with its main attractions: the 13th century, 64m high clock tower, the weapon museum, the covered all stone staircase, the church on the hill and the old gothic cemetery.
Stop at: Targu Mures city center
Marosvasarhely (in Hungarian) is one of the biggest Hungarian towns in Transylvania. With only half of its 180 000 population still of Hungarian origins, the town has lost some of its charm and in the early ‘90s proved to be a boiling point of ethnicity hate between Romanian and Hungarian population, a sore spot on our most recent history. They since made up and today the town is known for its small university center with a national recognized medical faculty and a theater art. Victory and Roses squares are the towns symbols and a must see.