Sibiu, the Carpathians and fortified churches
A trip to Transylvania and the Carpathians is worthwhile not only because of the Brukenthal Palace but because of numerous interesting places, people that still live a traditional way of life and the history that is perceptible almost everywhere you go. Medieval towns like Brasov and Sibiu attract visitors as well as the traditional Romanian shepherds villages alongside the edge of the Carpathians. Moreover, you should not forget to see the many villages that were once built by the Transylvanian Saxons and stamp the lovely landscape with their mighty fortified churches.
Sibiu, European Cultural Capital in 2007
Since the city was European Capital of Culture in 2007 together with Luxembourg, Sibiu is well known not only in Romania but also in the rest of Europe. The town has its origins in a foundation of German colonists in the 12th Century. The historic city center has preserved almost completely its medieval architecture. Newer buildings are the magnificent baroque palace of the former governor Samuel von Brukenthal and the baroque Catholic Church. Above all soars the 73 meter high tower of the Evangelic Church. A series of cultural events attract visitors throughout the year – recommendable are visits to International Theatre Festival in May and a visit of the largest Christmas market in Romania in December.
Brasov and the Black Church
Right in the southeastern bend of the Carpathians lies Brasov, only 116 kilometers away from Avrig. Like other cities in the region Brasov also looks back at an 800-year history. Surrounded by steep mountain slopes, the old town is dominated by the Black Church, the largest Gothic church in Transylvania. Visitors can visit the remains of the old city walls. South of the old town you find the Schei district where one can discover the distinctive charm of a confusing clutter of small alleys.
Romania´s unique Hotel of Ice at Balea Lac
Have you ever felt the wild charme of Transilvania? This romantic, history-charged region awaits you with loads of places to visit – one of them being the Hotel of Ice. This unique location is built every winter on the frozen surface of a glacial lake at an altitude of 2,000 metres. Be sure to get overwhelmed by the stunning scenery of the snow covered peaks around the Hotel of Ice at Balea Lake. A stay in the hotel doesn´t end up as a survival adventure, as you get a soft mattress which is covered with sheets, blankets and fluffy animal fur. The Hotel of Ice complex comprises also of an Ice Restaurant and an Ice Church. www.hotelofice.ro
Fortified churches of the Transylvanian Saxons
Between the two above mentioned cities lies a hilly landscape, peppered with small, pristine villages. Almost all of them are dominated by a fortified church, built in the late Middle Ages by the former residents – the Transylvanian Saxons – to protect themselves against the many enemies. Some villages, such as Biertan or Prejmer are listed since the end of the 1990´s as UNESCO World Cultural Heritage.
Living traditions in the Marginimea Sibiului
South of Sibiu, at the foot of the Carpathians, extends over about 100 kilometers the so-called Marginimea Sibiului. For centuries, the residents of the villages have been living from sheep farming and crafts. Until today, it may happen that one en- counters in the picturesque villages a wedding party with participants dressed in costumes or experience traditional customs. The famous cheese that is produced in the region is even sold in the capital Bucharest, just try to taste it.