Sibiu / Hermannstad
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Sibiu ([si'biw) German: Hermannstad) is one of the largest cities in Transylvania, Romania with a population of about 160,000. It straddles the Cibin River, a tributary of the river Olt. It is the capital of Sibiu County and is located some 282 km NW of Bucharest.
It is one of the most important cultural and religious centres in Romania as well a major transportation hub in central Romania. The city used to be the centre of the Transylvanian Saxons in Romania until World War II.
Sibiu was designated European Capital of Culture for the year 2007 together with Luxembourg.
The city was founded in 1190 by German settlers. It was probably built near a Roman settlement, one that would be known during the early Middle Ages as Caedonia.
In the 14th century, it was already an important trade center. In 1376, the craftsmen were divided in 19 guilds. Sibiu became the most important ethnic German city among the seven cities that gave Transylvania its German name Siebenburger (literally seven castles), and it was home to the Universitas Saxorum, the assembly of Germans in Transylvania. Common opinion in the 17th century ascribed Sibiu the quality of being the easternmost city to be part of the European sphere; it was also the eastern terminus of postal routes.
The city of Sibiu and its surroundings are one of the most visited areas in Romania.
The city also lies close to the Făgăraş Mountains - a very popular trekking destination, close to the Păltiniş resort - a popular winter holiday destination, and it is at the heart of the former Saxon communities in Transylvania renowned for its fortified churches.
Several festivals are organised yearly in Sibiu, the most prestigious of them being the Theatre Festival, organised each spring at the end of May. The ArtMania rock festival is held every Summer since 2006. The oldest Jazz Festival in Romania is organised here, as well as the "Carl Filtsch" festival for young classical piano players, the "Astra Film" documentary film festival, the Transylvania calling Festival a Multi Cultural 6 day Open Air Music festival! 26-31 July 2007, a medieval arts festival and many more smaller cultural events.