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Romania: Bran, Bucharest, Sibiu, Sighisoara, Transalpina Highway, Transfagarasan Highway
Sibiu, Romania: The cultural capital
by Prakash Bang, Editor in Chief
Instantly charming with a maze of cobbled streets and baroque squares undulating downhill, Romania's cultural gem has a magic all of its own. Franz List and Johan Strauss were drawn here in the 19th century, and in 2007 the city was voted European Capital of Culture. In fact, the country's first hospital, school, library and pharmacy were all established here!
We left Sighisoara post breakfast and filled up the tanks of the beasts that we were driving. We passed the pretty town of Ludus. It was first documented in 1377 situated in the heart of Translyvania on the River Mures. Part of the Hungarian Kingdom, the principality of Transsylvania and therefore belonging to both Austria and Hungary upto 1918. The village was rural in character for a long time, but was important as a local trading centre.
Driving past Ludus we stopped for lunch at Conacul Secuiesc located in Coltesti village in Alba County. The mansion was built on the elements of an old basement. In the rooms there are painted furniture, hand-made embroideries, which remind of the richness of this region. The tasty and rich-flavored food and drinks were also specific to this part of Transylvania.
We were at Sibiu at around 6 PM and checked into Hilton Sibiu. We would be staying here for 2 nights - as Sibiu would be our base to explore Romania's two best roads - Transalpina and Transfagarasan. Being the middle of summer, the sun would be up for a long, long time presenting us with the opportunity to explore downtown Sibiu.
Most months have myriad things going on, from festivals (more festivals here than any other city in Romania), exhibitions, theatre and opera, as well as plenty of cafes to people-watch in the city's three main squares. Sibiu has a bohemian yet stately ambience, which is perhaps what makes it so appealing; its back streets of wilting pea-green houses with their distinctive eyelid windows watching a cast of artists, visiting guildsmen and buskers bustle below them, just as they did back in the 18th century when the city really blossomed.
The cafes lined up along both sides of the streets welcomed tourists (that included us) to savour their buds. The healthy walk not only build our appetites but charged us up to negotiate the Romanian roads the next couple of days.
Sibiu Image Gallery Photo viewer
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