Segesvár (Schäßburg-Schassburg or Schäsbrich in German, Sighişoara in Romanian) was included on the list of Romanian cities that were graded a 10 in a World Bank survey, reported the Agerpres news agency. Segesvár is the only city in Romania to receive this mark from the World Bank which is not a county seat.
”I am grateful for the acknowledgment; the rankings that international organizations give us prove that the city has become a true brand,” emphasized the mayor of Segesvár, Ovidiu Dumitru Mălăncrăvean, in his press release.
According to the release cited by Agerpres, the World Bank puts together a list of cities it has given a 10 based on various criteria. These include: public sanitation, air quality, tourist sights and attractions, the quality of hospitality services, the development level of its economy and commerce, the liveliness of cultural life, the outlook of the city, vehicle and pedestrian traffic, the quality of public services, the extent of the green belt, the level of civilization, and civic awareness of the population.
The other Romanian cities graded 10 by the World Bank are Brassó (Braşov, Kronstadt), Kolozsvár (Cluj-Napoca, Klausenburg), Nagyszeben (Sibiu, Hermannstadt), Bucureşti, Nagyvárad (Oradea, Großwardein), Temesvár, Gyulafehérvár (Alba-Iulia, Weißenburg), Temesvár (Timişoara, Temeswar), Iaşi and Constanţa.
Segesvár, located in the Maros (Mureş) County of central Transylvania is a highly popular tourist destination for its old medieval town, listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
Medieval Transylvania had seven fortified cities (hence its German name: Siebenbürgen): Beszterce (Bistritz, Bistriţa), Brassó (Kronstadt, Braşov), Kolozsvár (Klausenburg, Cluj-Napoca), Medgyes (Mediasch, Mediaş), Nagyszeben (Hermannstadt, Sibiu), Szászsebes (Mühlbach, Sebeş) and Segesvár.
Segesvár was built by the German craftsmen and merchants invited to settle in Transylvania in the 12th century by the kings of Hungary. These Germans became known as the Transylvanian Saxons. The 12th-century Saxon settlement of Segesvár, built on the site of a former Roman military outpost, received the rank of a free royal city by the 14th century. Thus, Segesvár was subordinated directly to the King of Hungary and was bestowed the privilege of being extended and fortified. And the Saxons of Segesvár did not fail to do so: During the 14th and 15th centuries, a fortified stronghold was built – today’s historical town.
The city became an important artisanal and commercial center of Transylvania as well as a military stronghold. The fortification system had 14 towers – nine of these still remain – and several bastions. Each tower was built, maintained and defended by a craft guild. The 14th-century Clock Tower is one of the most imposing ones. It controlled the main gate of the half-mile-long defensive wall and stored the city’s treasures.
Its steep stairways; narrow, cobbled alleys; and typical burgher houses all add to old Segesvár’s characteristic atmosphere, taking visitors quite a few steps back in time.
Title image: Detail of the 14th century Clock Tower of Segesvár