Last modified: 2002-03-29 by istvan molnar
Keywords: sighisoara | segesvar | schassburg | romania | mures | transylvania |
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Sighisoara is situated in the center of Romania at 121 km (75 mi) nothwest of Brasov, 328 km (154 mi) northwest of Bucharest.
First mention in documents of the town was made as early as 1280, but there is archeological evidedce of successive settlements for over 4000 years. Dacian, Roman and earky Romanian dwelling places werw in this area. Nevertheless the town as it is known today was founded by German colonists. Beginning with the second half of the 12th century German settlers were brought to Transylvania by the Hungarian kings. They founded many villages and towns among which Sighisoara is most outstanding. An early settlement was most likely a village with a fortified refuge on the Castle Hill of today, it was destroyed by a Tatar invasion in 1241, rebuilt, and in 1280 documanted as Castrum Sex. Soon the Dominicans took interest in this place-in 1289 Schespurch (Scassburg) is indicated as seat of their monastery-and later the Franciscans. The other German settlers to follow in the 14th century are mainly craftsmen and thus in 1367 Sighisoara is already known as town-Civitas de Segusvar. Under the threat of the Otoman invasions the town was fortified wall and towers were raised to sorround the whole town, about the year 1490. The 15th and 16th century are the time of the town's great prosperity. The craftsmen, well-organized in guilds, and traders, taking advantage of the major commercial routes passing through the town were the agents of this progress. Thus, the number of the crafts (25) equal Sighisoara to the main German towns of the time, and trade contacts went as far as the Netherlands and Persia. This makes Sighisoara to be the first of the settlements in Transylvania to gain the status of a town in 1517, and even legal autonomy. Besides having a history of their own, the townspeople of Sighisoara were involved in the major events concerning Transylvania and Romania. Thus they gave shelter (1431-1435) and support to Vlad Dracul in his attempt to get to the Romanian throne. It is one of his writings that the Romanian name of Sighisoara was first mentioned. Later the town supports the great Romanian Prince Viteazuul (the Brave) to conquer Transylvania. The citizens of Sighisoara were also involved in the Peasant's Rising of 1514, and in 1849 they are witness of the Hungarian revolutionary army's defeatt in the battle of Albesti, a place in the neighbourhood of the town. The town itself had several times been besieged, for tha last time in 1704, but never taken in. There were other hardships that affected the citizens, recorded as "the worst" in the town's history: a flood (1777), an earthquake (1738), the plague (1709), causing the death of 1300 out of 3000 inhabitants, a fire (1676) destroying 3/4 of the houses, later rebuilt of brick and stone.
István Molnár, 9 January 2001
Coat of Arms
located at http://www.ici.ro/romania/cities/sighisoara.html
István Molnár, 9 January 2001