Sighișoara (Romanian: Sighișoara, German: Schäßburg, Latin: Stenarum, Saxon: Schäsbrich) is a municipality in Transylvania, in Romania's Maros County. It was the center of Szász and then the county seat of Nagy-Küküllő county. It is one of the best-preserved medieval city complexes in Central and Eastern Europe, which was included in the list of historical monuments of Maros County with the classification code MS-II-sA-15806, and is part of the UNESCO World Heritage. The city is a railway and road junction, as well as the center of the clothing, food, textile, glassware, building materials and machinery industries.

The city was founded by the Saxons in the second half of the 12th century, when they began to populate the Transylvanian areas (they founded Nagyszeben and Brasov, among others). It played an important commercial and strategic role for several centuries and was one of the most important cities in Transylvania.

Perhaps the most infamous native of the city is Vlad Tepes, better known as Dracula, who inspired Bram Stoker to portray the character of Count Dracula and who has drawn thousands of people to death.

The battle of Segesvár took place on the nearby Fehéreygház plain, where the revolutionary Hungarian army led by József Bem was defeated by the Russian army led by Luders on July 31, 1849. In 1852, a monument was erected in honor of the Russian general Skariatin, who died in this battle. It is generally believed that Sándor Petőfi also died in this battle. The monument was erected in 1897. After the First World War, Segesvár became part of the Romanian Kingdom as a result of the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy.



Sighisoara Citadel

The "historical center", the so-called castle, is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is an important sight with its buildings.

The clock tower (Piața Muzeului 1) is the symbol of Sighisoara. It was built in the second half of the 14th century to defend the main gate of the castle and as the seat of the council (until the end of 1656). The clock tower got its current appearance at the end of the 17th century, when on April 30, 1676 a devastating city fire, coming from the lower town, also spread to the tower. The clock tower has a total height of about 64 meters including the weather vane. The wall thickness is 2.4 meters on the ground floor, the masonry height is 39.5 meters (since 1804), the tower contains five floors. On the top floor, the tower is surrounded by an open wooden gallery, which also served as a fire watch and as a lookout on the city's surroundings. The town musicians can be heard there on festivals and public holidays. Since 1898 the museum of the guilds has been set up in the clock tower. The tower, originally designed as a gate tower for the city fortifications, connects the lower and upper town. The winding streets are a popular motif for tourists and painters. As a sign of the blood justice that the city once possessed, the upper floor has four turrets on the sides, one on each tower roof corner. Another special feature is the clockwork on the fourth floor, it is mechanically coupled to a puppet show that accompanies the change of hours and days and is considered unique in Romania.
Of the fourteen towers of the city fortifications, several still bear the names of the guilds that once built and defended them (e.g. tailor's tower, tin foundry tower), and an almost complete ring wall around the upper town has been preserved.
The Josef Haltrich Lyceum, a grammar school for the German minority, is located on the Schulberg below the Bergkirche. A wooden covered staircase (student staircase) with over a hundred steps leads up from the old town streets.
The Schäßburg mountain church was renovated from the ground up with funds from the Messerschmitt Foundation. Several altars from abandoned Saxon communities from the church district of Schäßburg are on display there, as well as a larger collection of old chests from the 16th century that come from the fortified church in Henndorf. The German cemetery behind it with its crypts and beautifully crafted tombstones is also worth seeing (especially the Sternheim crypt with the inscriptions). The church has a crypt. This is accessible and, along with the crypt under the Marienkapelle of the Mediascher Margarethenkirche, is one of the only two historical crypts in a Protestant church.
The house with the deer antlers and the Venetian house are worth mentioning as secular buildings. The house with the deer antlers was the residence of the patrician Wenrich and Bacon families for centuries until the Romanian state expropriated them in 1950. In 2000, the city council of Schäßburg, despite the timely request for reimbursement from the legitimate heirs, illegally sold the house with the deer antlers to the Munich Messerschmitt Foundation, which had already "taken care of it" in 1996 in order to sell it under the pretext of to convert a cultural institution into a lucrative hotel. The house with the deer antlers is a lavishly renovated medieval merchant's house on the market square, next to which are the monastery church and the Venetian house. The latter takes its name from its Gothic lancet windows.
The monastery church, today's evangelical parish church, was built between 1492 and 1515. Tracery windows are in the chancel and nave. The baroque altar (1681) and the baroque organ are the work of the Sighisoara master Johannes Fest and the Sibiu painter Jeremias Stranovius, as are the parapet and the soundboard of the baroque pulpit. The church has choir stalls, a bronze chalice-shaped baptismal font from 1411, wall paintings and 35 oriental carpets from the 16th and 17th centuries.
The Breite nature reserve with its several hundred year old oak trees is an old pasture. The Dracula amusement park was supposed to be created there, which was prevented.



German Culture Days Schäßburg, organized by the Democratic Forum Schäßburg (May/June).
The annual Medieval Music Festival (July).
The intercultural festival ProEtnica, in which all ethnic communities of Romania participate (second half of August).
The “Academic Music Festival” (Festivalul de muzica academica, August)
gradOST: workshop for sustainable urban planning (autumn 2007, spring 2008)
Brass Music Festival (beginning of September)



Prehistory and early history, Roman times
Prehistoric traces can be found in various parts of the city. Finds from the Chalcolithic and the Bronze and Iron Ages have been made. In the time of the Roman Empire, in the early second century, the Sighișoara Castle stood on the city's territory, in a field just outside the modern settlement area.

Schäßburg was founded in the second half of the 12th century by German immigrants, Transylvanian Saxons. In 1280 it was first mentioned as "Castrum Sex". In 1298 it was mentioned as "Schespurch" or "Schaesbrich" and in 1337 with the Hungarian name "Seguzwar". In 1435, the Romanian name "Sigisoara", borrowed from Hungarian, appeared in writing for the first time.

From around 1523, evangelical writings by Martin Luther and Philipp Melanchthon came to the city. The Reformation was introduced around 1550 because the estates had left each other free to decide their faith.

The Battle of Segesvár (1849)
With the Battle of Segesvár on July 31, 1849, the town went down in the history of the revolutionary conflicts of the 19th century. The Hungarian poet and folk hero Sándor Petőfi fell in this battle.

More recently
In the interwar period, Sighisoara temporarily regained administrative importance as the administrative seat of the Județ Târnava Mare (district Groß-Kokel).
In 2012, the city, together with the Italian municipality of Corciano, was awarded the Europe Prize for their outstanding efforts in European integration.



The literary character "Dracula" by Bram Stoker is associated with Sighisoara, Vlad Țepeș (Vlad III Drăculea, the Impaler), son of Vlad II Dracul (the dragon), may have been born there. Between 1431 and 1436 he is said to have lived in the city. The planning of a “Dracula” amusement park in 2001/03 met with fierce criticism both from the local population and from the Transylvanian Saxons from the region – who now mainly live in Germany – from the region.

The Schäßburg writer Dieter Schlesak has published a novel about Dracula and Vlad the Impaler.


Population structure

Ethnic population structure

According to the 2002 census, among the 32,304 inhabitants of Sighisoara, 24,571 are Romanians (76.06%), 5,934 are Hungarians (18.36%), 1,135 are Roma (3.51%), 623 are Germans (1.92%) and 48 Other (0.15%).



The cityscape of Sighișoara is characterized by a large variety of sacred buildings. According to official statistics, in 2002, 75.72% of the population belonged to the Romanian Orthodox Church; 8.28% were Reformed, 5.98% Roman Catholic, 3.74% Unitarian, 1.07% Pentecostal, 0.89% Evangelical Lutheran, 0.86% Greek Catholic.

A Jewish community has existed in the city since 1860. Around 1900 it comprised around 100 members; at that time she built the synagogue that still exists today. After World War II it grew to 217 members by 1956. After that it decreased more and more through emigration and today no Jews live in Sighișoara.


German heritage

Since its founding, the city has been inhabited mainly by Transylvanian Saxons for centuries. Until 1930 they were still the largest ethnic group in terms of numbers. After that, the Romanians gained the majority. Despite constant emigration since the mid-1970s, there were still 5,492 (17.7%) Germans living in the city in 1977. After the fall of communism in Romania, a massive wave of emigration began. According to statistics from 1992, there were still 1,327 residents of German descent at the time. Their share continued to fall rapidly and steadily in the 1990s until, at around 1.9%, it even fell behind that of the Roma. On March 27, 2002, only 623 German speakers were still resident in Sighisoara.

Nevertheless, the city was able to retain its multicultural character. Schäßburg is now officially trilingual again. The place-name signs and tourist information are in Romanian, German and Hungarian. There are kindergartens where German is spoken, as well as a primary school and a high school (Bergschule Schässburg) where German is used as the language of instruction. The mountain school enables the German-language Abitur, which is also recognized by German universities. There are also several Protestant churches in the city and a lively community life.



The mayor of Sighișoara from 2000 to 2014 was Ioan Dorin Dăneșan, son of former communist mayor Ioan Dăneșan, who is accused of the arbitrary demolition of part of Bucharest's historic old town after the 1975 floods. The current mayor is accused (including by the local citizens' initiative "Sighișoara Durabilă" - Sustainable Schäßburg) of tolerating numerous illegal construction projects in the UNESCO-protected old town of Sighișoara and of wanting to have the old town removed from the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Ioan-Iulian Sîrbu has been the mayor of the city since September 27, 2020.



The city is on the European route 60. It is there at the same time the Romanian national road Drum naţional 13, which connects Braşov (Kronstadt) with Târgu Mureş (Neumarkt am Mieresch). The planned Transylvania Autobahn (Autostrada Transilvania or "Bechtel Autobahn") will also affect Sighișoara.

With a train station on the Teiuş–Braşov railway line, Sighişoara is also connected to the international rail network. The narrow-gauge line "Wusch" via Agnita (Agnetheln) to Sibiu (Hermannstadt) was shut down in stages by the Romanian State Railways (CFR).

Sighișoara can be reached by plane via the international airports in Sibiu and Târgu Mureș.



Johann Michael Ackner (1782–1862), archaeologist and naturalist
Johann Georg Wenrich (1787–1847), Protestant theologian and university teacher
Carl Ludwig Sigmund von Ilanor (1810–1883), Transylvanian-Austrian dermatologist, world's first professor of syphilis
Georg Daniel Teutsch (1817–1893), theologian, bishop and historian
Friedrich Müller the Elder (1828–1915), Protestant bishop and historian
Carl Wolff (1849–1929), economist, journalist and politician
Friedrich Teutsch (1852–1933), Protestant theologian, bishop of the Transylvanian Saxons
Marie Stritt (1855–1928), urn grave in Sighisoara, German women's rights activist
Friedrich Grünanger (1856–1929), architect
Regine Ziegler (August 30, 1864 – April 17, 1925 in Kronstadt), writer
Karl Ziegler (1866–1945), painter
Fritz Balthes (missing 1882–1914), Transylvanian-Saxon architect
Hans Leicht (1886–1937), lawyer, politician, poet and translator
Hans Otto Roth (1890-1953), politician and lawyer, state church curator
Vilmos Apor (1892–1945), Bishop of the Diocese of Győr and Blessed of the Catholic Church
Helmut Wolff (1897-1971), dentist, German-Saxon People's Council President, member of the "national group leadership" in Romania
Karl Hübner (1902–1981), painter, graphic artist
Hilde von Stolz (1903–1973), actress
Albert Klein (1910–1990), high school teacher, pastor in Transylvania, bishop of the Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Romania (“Saxon bishop”)
Paul Günther Klein (1919-1998), physician, microbiologist, immunologist and university lecturer
Ursula Bedners (May 14, 1920 – November 12, 2005 in Sighisoara), poet and prose writer
Erna Roth-Oberth (1922–2012), Transylvanian-German lawyer, founder of the Hermann Oberth Space Museum
Ştefan Balint (1926–1976), soccer player
Dieter Schlesak (1934–2019), writer, author, translator and member of the German P.E.N. Center and editor of the Bucharest journal Neue Literatur
Richard Winter (1934-1989), party secretary of the district committee in Sibiu, member of the executive committee of the Romanian Communist Party (RKP), deputy chairman of the council of working people of German nationality, member of the central committee executive committee
Klaus Knall (born 1936), conductor and cantor
Adrian Ivanițchi (born September 15, 1947), musician
Anca Petrescu (1949–2013), architect and politician
Michael Tausch (* 1949), chemist and university lecturer
Attila Dorn (born 1970), musician
Radu Voina (born 1950), handball player, coach of the Romanian national team
Harald Roth (born 1965), historian of Eastern Europe
Anne Fabini (born 1969), film editor
Gabriel Mureșan (born 1982), soccer player
Ralph Gunesch (born 1983), German football commentator, football coach and former Bundesliga football player in Germany (FC St. Pauli)