The southeast Transylvanian town of Szeben/Sibiu ranked a commendable 6th in the European Best Destinations 2020 contest, falling between Cascais in Portugal and Namur in Belgium.
“There is poetry and beauty on every street corner in Sibiu, and eyes on every roof!” the contest’s website wrote in its praise of the city. “This rich city is one of the most visited cities in Romania. Sibiu represents 800 years of history in an unspoiled site, but it is also one of the most modern and dynamic cities in Europe.”
Szeben was founded by Saxon settlers on the site of the previous Roman city of Cedonia. It was King Géza II of Hungary who had brought the settlers to the spot. In 1191, Pope Celestine III confirmed a free prepositure of the Saxons in Transylvania, and it was at this time that the area was first referenced, as “Cipin” and “Cibinium.” The headquarters for the new prepositure were in Szeben.
Szeben was honored as the European Capital of Culture in 2007. The city’s medieval old town was painstakingly restored for the occasion, and it continues to attract a great number of tourists.
Top rankings for the European Best Destinations Contest this year went to Colmar, France (first); Athens, Greece (second); and Tbilisi, Georgia (third).
Title image: Passage of the Stairs in the Lower Town, Szeben. (Source: Wikimedia Commons/Amorphisman)