When we walk into the historic old town of Sibiu on a Saturday afternoon, we know it is going to be crowded, even though the sky is grey. Since we need to avoid crowds, we walk the smaller streets, and then walk down the stairs to explore the lower town as well, where we find less people. We find the Saint Mary Cathedral completely covered by scaffolding, and can barely see the top of the tower, which has four turrets to let strangers know that the city had the right to sentence to death. Soon after we start walking, we notice the peculiar eyebrow dormers, the small windows in the rooftops, which are everywhere in town. They give Sibiu something special, and even gave it its nicknames: The City with Eyes, The City where Houses don't Sleep, or even just Seebiu. When a heavy rain starts to fall, we walk to the Small square, where we find a terrace protected from the rain.
After a night with a lot of rainfall, we are up very early the next morning, and walk the city again under a light drizzle. We have it to ourselves now: even the Great Square is completely empty, the cobble stones all shiny under a grey sky. We explore the three squares: the Great Square, the Small Square, and the Huet Square, all very close to one another. We walk to the Bridge of Lies, thwe second cast iron bridge in Europe, with a lot of legends attached to it. The main one is that the bridge will collapse in case someone tells you a lie while standing on it. We tested this out, but nothing happened when we told each other lies on top of the pedestrian bridge. Or couples would swear each other eternal love, with the girls saying they were still virgin. When this turned out to be a lie, the married men would then throw their wife off the bridge. The real origin of the name is different though: it was a misunderstanding for the German name for Lying bridge, not Bridge of Lies. Then again, legends are often more attractive than the truth.
From the area around the bridge, you get good views over the lower town below. We then make another loop, taking streets and alleys, see buildings we had not seen the day before. And everywhere we go, we feel we are watched by the omnipresent Eyes of Sibiu. They first appeared in Sibiu in the 15th century, and were built even in the 20th century. Here again, there is the legend that they were meant to frighten people by giving them the feeling they were constantly being watched. They were even used in an anti-corruption campaign. The more you are aware of them, the more you realise they all have their unique appearance, with some eyes looking surprised, others, menacing, or thoughtful, or suspicious. Some can even be spooky, for instance when there is a third eye between and a little higher than the two others. They certainly do give all the houses a personality. We bid farewell to Sibiu, to its eyes, and we are off to new adventures.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Sibiu (Romania). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Sibiu. Read more about this site.