To say the Zoological Garden in Sibiu is the first one in the country, opened in 1929 by the Electrical Company, at the initiative of a Hungarian engineer. The idea came to him after having found some foxes while working to repair the dam in a village near Sibiu makes visiting worth while. oh.... and yes there are Monkeys to spank.
Entry cost is only 3 ROM/LEI So a real cheap day out.
yes you can get beer there.
A local market is usually a good photo opportunity, and so it proved in Sibiu, although the harsh midday sun on this scorching Saturday made photography a challenge. Most of the stalls featured fruit and vegetables, or at least seemed to do so along the southern side where we were wandering. Everything looked to be of excellent quality and very fresh. This would be a great place to shop if you’re planning a picnic or if you’ve hired an apartment and are able to cook for yourself during your stay in Sibiu.
A few people (shoppers and stall-holders) were in traditional dress and I took one or two candid shots, but for the most part I was happy to focus on admiring and photographing the delicious-looking produce itself.
One of the most interesting products we saw being sold here was the colourful herb, Lady’s Bedstraw, so my next tip is about a local custom associated with this.
Directions: At the far end of Strada Turnului in Piaþa Cibin – the quickest route is to take the stairs near the Casa Calfelor on the far side of Huet Square and walk straight ahead – see location on Google maps
On the Saturday of the VT meeting many of us took an all day bus tour to the region known as Marginimea Sibiului. This is a distinct and unique ethnographic area in Romania located near the ancient city of Sibiu. In this region a traditional way of life is still preserved and a visit here provides a fascinating glimpse of a slower-paced age.
I have made some separate pages about this beautiful area, but here is a summary of the places we went to, all of which can quite easily be visited from Sibiu, either independently or on a tour.
We visited the (mostly) 15th century fortified church with its pretty setting surrounded by high walls, fascinating history and beautiful altarpiece. I particularly enjoyed taking photos here of all the little details of the building.
We climbed the hill (not high, but tough going in the 35 degree heat) for wonderful views of the surrounding countryside and to visit the fortified church. Less well-preserved than that of Cisnadie, it is nevertheless worth seeing as it is the oldest Romanesque style church in Romania – and did I mention those views?!
Here we were privileged to visit the home of a local family. The father works in leather, using traditional methods, to create horse harnesses (horse are still extensively used in this region) and other goods. The mother bakes bread for the family and for others in the village. They grow all the crops they need and are more or less self-sufficient. We also met their horse, Julian, their dog and two lovely little cats.
We had lunch in this very traditional village at the Pension Nourica – an excellent meal and served by such a friendly lady, who I think was the owner. We also had a chance to see a little of the life of the village – farmers carrying hay back from their fields, local women shopping for fruit and vegetables at a roadside stall, lazy dogs sleeping in the shade to escape the fierce heat of the sun.
This village is famous for its museum, which has the largest collection of glass-painted icons in Europe. We spent quite some time in here as there are so many to see. Our guide Adela showed us how the work is done and explained some of the major themes that are typical of this art form. The museum was started by a former priest who saw how everyone in the village painted these during the winter only to hide them away in the attic or basement. Today it displays icons not just from local area but other parts of the country too, many dating back to the 19th century.
We made a brief stop here to photograph the many stork nests in the village. You can see these all over the region but the local people of Cristian make a special effort to encourage them, building platforms on all the telegraph poles. Most of the nests had young ones at this time of year (mid June).
The guide for our trip was the excellent Adela Dadu who had also guided us on our walking tour of Sibiu. I can highly recommend her as she is informative, friendly and speaks very good clear English, having lived in the US. See the website linked below for her contact details.
This is my last tip. Click here to return to my introduction, or here to read more about our day trip to Marginimea Sibiului and the different villages we visited there.
Carol VI, Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire and King of Hungary, wanted to build the most powerful fortification in Transylvania. On Citadel's Hill, in the medieval city of Alba Iulia, he began construction of ALBA CAROLINA CITADEL. The fortification was constructed between 1715 and 1738.
Inside the fortification are The Union Hall with the National Honour Gallery, The National History Museum of Unification, the Princely Palace (Voivodal Palace), the Orthodox Cathedral, the Roman Catholic Cathedral, the Batthyaneum Library, the Roman Catholic Bishop's Palace, the Apor Palace, and the University of Alba Iulia. Built in the 10th and 11th centuries, the Roman Catholic Cathedral is the most representative building in the medieval Romanic style in Transylvania.
About 7.2 miles of ramparts made of brick and quarry stones form a seven-point star shape with seven bastions, guarded by six monumental gates.
The grounds of the Citadel are just amazing as are the ramparts and beautiful decorated gates. We had a tour guide with us in the afternoon, and she explained to us what the citadel was all about.
See my Alba Iulia pages for more information about this fascinating place.
Lower Town is filled with interesting old buildings, many dating back to the 1300's. Many are in need of repair. I particularly enjoyed the free use of color on many of these buildings, the ornate carved doors and the arched passage ways.
Saturday, June 22, 2014
Approximately 10 km from Sibiu, CISNADIE (German name - Heltau) was the first stop on our VT Bus Tour. The most important sight of Cisnadie is the fortified church which is located in the town center.
Originally built in the 12th century as a Romanesque basilica, the church was fortified during the 15th century to protect the local population of Saxons against repeated Ottoman raids.
The fortification process included constructing fortified towers and the building of a double structure of defense walls, a moat and several defensive towers along the walls.
The Tower is 32.5 meters high and over the centuries, has been hit by lightning several times. Because of this and using German technology, the first ever lightning rod in Transylvania, was installed.
Another point of interest, told to us by our guide, was that the treasures of Cisnadie were hidden in a wall. She showed us a little door that opened up and inside was s very small space only a small person could crawl through.
Over all, the fortified church is very well taken care of and there are ongoing repairs and restorations.
Saturday, June 22. 2013
One of the stops on our Saturday VT Bus Tour was in the tiny town of ORLAT, a commune in Sibiu County, Transylvania and only 17 km west of Sibiu. Situated at the foothills of the Cindrel Mountains, Orlat is one of the oldest villages in the Marginimea Sibiului ethnographic area,
We had the privilege of visiting a local family on their farm. They are self-providing and grow grapes ( also make their own wine), their own fruits and vegetables and also make bread for themselves and neighbors. I also noticed stacks and stacks of firewood, needed for the cold winter weather. The father works in leather craft and mainly makes leather reins for horses and leather pouches and other leather products.
They have a really awesome horse named Julian. Julian let Hansi feed him some corn on the cob and he ate it right out of his hand.
Saturday, June 22, 2013
A part of our VT Bus Tour on Saturday, included a visit to GURA RAULUI and lunch at NORICA Restaurant. Gura Raului is 20 km west of Sibiu at the foothills of the Cindrel Mountains and is a commune in Sibiu County Transylvania. Gura Raului is part of the Marginemea Sibiului ethnographic area.
Saturday, June 22, 2023
On the way back from our day's VT Bus Tour, we drove through the town of CRISTIAN. The bus driver pulled over so we could see the many Stork Nests in the town. There are 33 nests, the highest number in Romania. The nests are perched on top of the telephone poles. In my research, I came across the Facebook account of "Friends of Storks" - a group of caring people that are trying to protect the storks of the village. There are some great pictures there, depicting the capture, branding and care of the storks. It also shows how bucket trucks place the stork nests on top of the poles. I found the whole thing so fascinating. One of the nests I took a picture of, had two adult storks and two babies - so cute!
I also included here, the stork nest in Sibiel, the town with the glass icons museum.
The last photo is of a colorful, yellow home in Cristian. Our bus parked right in front of it.
Saturday, June 22, 2013
The tiny town of Sibiel, not too far from Sibiu, is the location of the MUSEUM OF THE ICONS ON GLASS or Muzeul Zosim Oancea. There is also a lovely church and cemetery in SIBIEL. It was one of the stops on our Saturday VT Bus Tour.
The Fr Zosim Oancea Museum at Sibiel holds the largest existing exposition of icons on glass in Transylvania, a miracle of artistic creativity and religious inspiration born of the riches of the Orthodox Christian tradition and the imagination of Romanian peasant painters.
A unique fusion of Eastern tradition and Western technique, icons on glass emerged and spread throughout this extensive region of Romania in the first decades of the eighteenth century, reaching their peak between 1750 and the end of the nineteenth century and almost vanishing in the period between the two world wars.
Begun in 1969 under the guidance of Fr Zosim Oancea, the people of Sibiel and with the help of institutions and private donors, the collection in this museum with its almost 600 masterpieces, represents all the main types of icons on glass along with works by some of the most famous icon-painters.
The villages of Sălişte, Vale and Poiana – villages around Sibiu, or more precisely, the so-called Mărginimea Sibiului – contained many icon-painters who, despite influences from other districts, developed a style of their own. One example is the painter Ion Morar (1815-1890): his Last Supper in the Sibiel Museum MUZEUL FR ZOSIM OANCEA displays a marked baroque influence. Morar’s daughters, Emilia (1861-1931) and Elisabeta (1866-1939) continued his work but without matching his quality. Also widespread in this region is the so-called “Icon of The Feasts” (prăznicar), based on a central panel of one of the fundamental events of the life of Christ (mostly the Resurrection).
With your own transport, taxi or a tour (from Sibiu) you can contiue from Cisnădie to Cisnădioara / Michelsberg (about 4 km from Cisnădie and 14 km from Sibiu) to the oldest romanesque church in Romania (first mentioned 1223 as a Cistercian Monastery) surrounded by a circular fortification on a hill overlooking the village.
Cisnădie / Heltau is famos for its well preserved fortified church, originally built in the 12th century in romanesque style, the church was then fortified in the 15th century to protect the local population of Saxons.
There are frequent buses from Sibiu bus terminal next to the trainstation to Cisnădie for 7 Lei by Transmixt.
With your own transport, taxi or a tour you can contiue to Cisnădioara / Michelsberg (about 4 km) to the oldest romanesque church in Romania surrounded by a circular fortification on a hill overlooking the village.
Take at least two - best three or four days - to visit the following places around Sibiu:
1. Marginimea Sibiului - the 18 small villages: Boita, Sadu, Rau Sadului, Talmaciu, Talmacel, Rasinari, Poplaca, Gura Raului, Orlat, Fantanele, Sibiel, Vale, Saliste, Gales, Tilisca, Rod, Poiana Sibiului and Jina
2. Ocna Sibiului -the salt lakes on the site of a former salt mine, one of which "The Lake Without Bottom"
3. Village Museum - in Rasinari
4. Glass Stained Icons Museum - in Sibiel
6. Fortified Churches - Biertan, Viscri, Saschiz, Prejmer, Valea Viilor, Calnic and Darjiu (UNESCO sites)
7. Natural Park Cindrel
8. Balea Lake
9. Transfagarasan Alpine Road
10. Alba Iulia
During the sunday's mornings, in the north side of Sibiu (on the exist to Medias), you can visit another kind of market.
Even if you don't want to buy anything, it's interesting to see all this outfitters. If there are second hand stuff, you can negotiate the price, like in Turkey or India. If the things are brand new, usually the price is fixed. It's a mixture of things brought to sale: from cars, to cloths and even animals.
It's not the look of today's Sibiu, is more like the flavour of the old times.
George Bariţiu, also known as George Barit, was one of Sibiu's most famous residents. He was born in Cluj in 1812 but spent most of his life in Sibiu, where he died in 1893. He was a pioneering journalist and leader of the Transylvanian Romanians. In 1838 he founded the weekly Gazeta de Transilvania (The Gazette of Transylvania), the first political newspaper for the Romanians of Transylvania. His published works include Romanian-Hungarian and Romanian-German dictionaries. He is remembered most of all for the major role he played in the Romanian nationalist movement.
There is a plaque on the fading baroque building where he lived, in Strada Andrei Saguna.