The narrow streets and old gabled houses of Sibiu’s older quarters seem to have come straight off the page of a fairytale. Like Braşov, Sibiu was founded by Germans invited by Hungary’s King Géza II to colonize strategic regions of Transylvania in 1143. Its inhabitants dominated trade in Transylvania and Wallachia, but their citadels were no protection against the tide of history, which eroded their influence after the eighteenth century. Within the last decades almost the entire Saxon community has left Romania. Sibiu still has stronger and more lucrative links with Germany than any Transylvanian town, and its stint as European Capital of Culture in 2007 left its buildings handsomely refurbished. The city also stages some cracking festivals, not least the International Theatre Festival in late May, with open-air stages across all the main squares.
To reach the old town cross the square from the train station and follow Str Gen. Magheru to Piața Mare – one of three conjoined squares that form the centre.