The fortress, built in the twelfth century by the Saxon settlers and preserved almost unchanged until today, is still inhabited today, being the only medieval fortress in the world where people still live.
Sighișoara is a remarkable showcase for the culture of Transylvanian Saxons, a culture of 850 years, a good example of a small fortified medieval town, which has played an important strategic and commercial role in Transylvania as well as throughout the Central European region for several centuries. It is also located at the border between the Latin culture of Central Europe and the Byzantine-Orthodox culture of Southeastern Europe.
The fortress is located in the center of Sighișoara, Mures county.
The fortress is located on the Southern bank of the river Târnava Mare, on a 850m long hill ridge, on two terraces: the lower terrace, the Cetăţii Hill, about 30m above the Lower Town, and the upper terrace, the Hill of the School, 49m higher than the lower terrace.
The first people settled on Fortress Hill around the Dominican Monastery Church, for which the construction works began at the end of the 12th century. Right next to the Church of the Monastery, the first school in Sighișoara (mentioned in documents as early as 1522) was built. A new school was established in 1607 by the Church of the Hill, a historic and architectural monument of the 14th century. In 1619 the Own School of the Hill was ready. The covered stairway, initially 300 steps, was built in 1642.
The fortress is surrounded by a 930m long wall, initially 4m high. The wall height was later increased to 14m in several places. The wall was built between the fourteenth and seventeenth centuries to protect against Turkish attacks. The wall had 14 towers, of which 9 are still preserved to this day. These towers were built with the money of the guilds that had their headquarters in these towers. Today we can still see the Clock Tower, the tanners Tower, the Tower of the Shoe-makers, the Tower of the Furriers, the Tailors’ Tower, the Butchers’ Tower, the Blacksmiths’ Tower, the Tanners’ Tower, and the Rope-makers’ Tower. The towers that did not make it through times include the towers of the Weavers, the Locksmiths, the Barbers, the Coopers, and the Tower of the Goldsmiths.
The highest of them, raising up to 64m, is the Clock Tower. It is the most famous, being the symbol of the city and the most sought after tourist destination by visitors. Situated on the Eastern side of the fortress, it was strategically positioned to defend the main entrance.
An attraction of the Sighișoara Citadel is the Vlad Dracul House belonging to the father of Vlad the Impaler. The legend has it that the prince of Wallachia was born in this house in 1431, which is very possible, but history draws attention to the fact that there is no written evidence in this respect.
The fortress is included on UNESCO’s World Heritage List since 1999, under the name of the Historic Center of Sighișoara.
Romania Color can lead you to see how the people Sighișoara live now.