As a rabid fan of medieval hill towns, I was eagerly anticipating Sighișoara, whose 14th century citadel and historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Sighișoara is pretty, with pastel-colored houses all nestled inside a ring of towers. But mostly, Sighișoara is a Dracula kitsch-encrusted tourist trap.
Some Goth 23 year old graphic designer probably invented the Dracula font.
Vlad is the wrong Dracula anyway. (He’s the dad, not the torture-loving son).
Just so you understand the level of tourist trap we’re dealing with here: all in one building the lucky traveler to Sighișoara can visit the room were Dracula was born, a torture/weapons museum, and a Dracula themed restaurant. (The menu of said restaurant contains such delicacies as “Roll Chicken with Dracula Sauce”).
Okay, now I feel guilty for making fun of Sighișoara so here are some pictures showing it’s more historic and un-cheesy aspect. For example: this view, taken from our hotel balcony.
The Furriers’ tower.
Pretty houses built by Transylvanian Saxons.
I can’t figure out why this is called The House with The Antlers….
Personally I prefer trumpets over Dracula kitsch.
We wandered below the walled city and found this stately synagogue, which a neighbor unlocked for us. It was built in 1903, and though currently inactive, it has recently been restored by an American philanthropist.
Getting to Sighișoara was fun and distinctly un-touristy. The regional train we caught at Sibiu moved about half the speed of a car—all the better for looking out the window at flocks of sheep pouring down rolling green hills and the occasional striped chicken striding confidently across the tracks like she didn’t a damn. And it was cheap: less than $6 for the both of us for the three hour trip. Unlike on the faster trains, we traveled with many Roma (gypsies) and the train stops for their villages didn’t have platforms—they had to jump down five feet from the car into a grassy medium between trains. The sign above is from the station in Mediaș, where we changed trains along with a lady carrying a flopping live fish in a grocery bag.
Some of the wealthier Roma are building these flashy gypsy mansions, which we could glimpse at a distance from the train.
How we got to Sighișoara: train from Sibiu.
Where we slept: Pensiune Citadela Sighisoara. Price: €24.30 for a double. Recommended: yes.