For my Erasmus, I choosed to go to Romania, more precisely Sibiu, located in Transylvania right in the middle of the country. Sibiu is a medieval city and therefore has a long history. It is also one of the most pleasant city to live in Europe according to the magazine Forbes, and you could never get bored here.
- History of the city – Sibiu, Hermannstad
Sibiu is a city of a bit less than 150,000 inhabitants located in Transylvania in Romania. It has been created in the 12th century by German colons, the Saxons, and stayed german until the 19th century. Nowadays the city is in majority Romanian, especially after lots of Saxons left the region because of the Second World War in the 1930’s. The german name of Sibiu, Hermannstad, stayed because of this big German legacy.
As you may know, Romania was under the communist dictature of Nicolas Ceausescu during the second half of the 20th century. His regime was very difficult for the country who lost for example very nice architecture, replaced by Communist buildings. Fortunately, Sibiu didn’t suffered this loss, and still keep a very nice architecture. The buildings have a lot of charm, with pastels colors and stones everywhere.
- A pleasant way of life
In Sibiu, you can have a very nice way of life. The city is beautiful, and you can only enjoy having a walk around the city center. The Large Square, the Small Square, the churches, the stairs and the secret ways under the buildings… Discovering Sibiu by walk is a pleasure. Of course, it’s not very big : you can see everything in more or less one day, and so by walk. Therefore you don’t need to struggle with transports in Sibiu : you walk where you want to go and it’s very pleasant. No crowded bus or trains, no car traffic…
Sibiu’s city life is located in its city center, around the two main squares. You can find a lot of nice restaurants and nice cafés there, among other shops. It will take you time to discover all the cool places of Sibiu, there are so many ! An other good surprise you will have is the prices. If you’re from Western Europe, I guess you must be used to pay your beer around 5euros in a bar? Well, in Sibiu it will be around 5 lei. So you know, 1 euro = 4,20 lei. Do the maths!
Also, if you’re a smoker, you will be pleased to know that in Romania you can smoke in all the bars and restaurants. It is very useful especially in the winter when the temperatures go very low… But I have to admit it is a bit difficult to get used to the smoke inside, and you might have to invest in some odors free products for clothes.
- Events all along the year
There are lots of events all along the year in Sibiu. When I arrived, at the end of September, the main square was hosting a mini-Oktoborfest : my first night out was planned! If you don’t know what is an Oktoberfest, well, imagine a big tent, very loud music, lots of beers and people dressed in their typical Saxon outfit, very drunk and singing very bad, but in a very cool and friendly atmosphere. Unfortunately I don’t have any photo of the event (or maybe it is for the best) but here are some small other events I went to during my first days :
More cultural, in october, the Astra film festival organises documentary shows during a week. The price is very cheap, around 5 lei per movie, and it is very interesting. The movies are from all around the world and some workshops are organized with some moviemakers.
In december, the Christmas market opens on the big square, and it is always a pleasure to go there for shopping or just for a hot wine!
The most famous event in Sibiu is the theatre festival organized every year at the end of may. The city at this time hosts artists from all over the world and lots of shows are organized everyday.
I am only here since a few months so my list of events is not completely full. Smaller happenings are programmed, among them a Jazz Festival which is, as far as I know, the oldest jazz festival of Romania. But, what we can conclude, is that you won’t get bored in Sibiu, no, never!