In southwestern Transylvania, Romania lies the city of Sibiu. It got the name of the ‘Red Fortress’ due to the massive red brick walls built to protect the city after 1241. The walls encircling the town were four kilometers in length, and had 39 towers, a number of which still survive. For a map of locations visited in Romania, click here.
The EU designated Sibiu the “Capital of Culture” in 2007 and gave the city a facelift. The heart of the old city reminded me a bit of Austria, and since it was part of the Hapsburg empire for most of the 1700’s and part of the 1800’s, it’s no wonder why. The old center has an upper and lower section, and the upper section has been largely pedestrianized, making the walk through the squares a delight.
There are three interlocking squares in the upper old town, Piaţas Mare, Huet, and Mică, all flanked by baroque palaces and other buildings.
Although we just stayed overnight, Sibiu would be a great alternative base to Braşov for exploring Transylvania. We stayed in the tiny village of Talmacel, about 15km south of Sibiu, at the Guesthouse Rustic (not that rustic!).
Be forwarned that this village was not on “Google Maps” as of May 2012. We loved the pension, and enjoyed watching the cows coming home through the village streets below our room.