"History of Sighisoara (part one)" Sighisoara Travelogue by codrutz
Sighisoara Travel Guide: 421 reviews and 1,136 photos
Archaeological findings show that the territory of the present town was inhabited by Scytians as early as the 6th century b.C. The Dacian fortress that was raised in the 3rd century b.C. was called Sandava. Roman castri (whose ruins have been preserved to the day), built after 106 A.D. (when the process of colonization of the Dacians by the Romans actually started), were meant to defend the roads coming from Alba Iulia and going towards Odorhei and the Oituz strait.
In the 10th century A.D., the area of Sighisoara was part of the voievodate Terra Blachorum ruled by prince Gelu*. Towards the end of the 10th century A.D., the Hungarians, settled down in the Pannonian plain and reached Transylvania too. Starting from the 12th century, the Hungarians would populate Transylvania with German colonists from Flanders, Saxony, the Rhine and the Moselle rivers; the role of the so-called "Saxons" was to strengthen the borders of the Hungarian Kingdom. In return, they were stimulated by privileges granted to them directly by Hungarian kings. The Saxon new-comers, i.e. craftsmen, farmers, tradesmen would set up their own settlements
*Gelu was defeated by the Hungarians, a migratory people coming from remote Asia. Led by Tuhutum, the Hungarians conquered his country. His residence town is, presumably, a still existing village, resembling the prince’s name, i.e. Gilau (near Cluj).
among, which Sighisoara soon became a flourishing medieval town.
The citadel was first attested in a written document in 1280, under the name of Castrum Sex (Fort Six). The name must have existed long before, as the Saxons built their walled town on the ruins of a former Roman fortress whose shape was an irregular hexagon. In 1298, the town was mentioned as Schespurch, while in 1367 it was called Civitas de Seguswar.
In the 14th century, the lower platform of the citadel was occupied by many craftsmen, organised in guilds, which were similar to those in Western Europe; the town saw an unprecedented economic growth. In 1937, Schässburg (Sighisoara’s name in German) was the second important town in Transylvania (after Sibiu)*.
The name of Sighisoara was first mentioned in a written document issued by Vlad Dracul, Vlad the Impaler’s father, in 1431.
In the 14th-15th centuries, the economic growth recorded by Sighisoara’s industrious craftsmen and tradesmen ensured financial means for the construction of a strong defence system provided with 14 towers and several bastions, with gunnery directed to all four cardinal points. Each bastion was built, maintained and defended by a craft guild. Their archaic and picturesque names i.e. Tinners, Tanners, Butchers, Rope Makers, Tailors, Shoemakers, Blacksmiths etc. borne also by the towers they attended to, bring out the wide variety of trades typical of the Middle Ages. A glance at the social structure of the town in 1488 complements the picture Sighisoara counted 600 inhabitants, most of whom were craftsmen and tradesmen, 3 clerks, two mill-owners, 9 poor men and 4 shepherds.
Crucial moments and history-makers are related to Sighisoara’s past. Vlad Dracul, Vlad the Impaler’s father and Wallachia’s prince between 1435-1446 lived in Sighisoara as a guard commander of the mountain passes into Wallachia before acceding to its throne between 1431-1435. His presence in Sighisoara is worth being mentioned as he coined money circulated both in Transylvania and Wallachia.
In 1514, Sighisoara’s mayor, who was a dictator, was killed during the peasants’ revolt led by Gheorghe Doja against Hungarian landlords and rulers.
In 1600, Sighisoara would welcome Michael the Brave, he who accomplished for the first time the short-lived union of the three speaking Romanian provinces, i.e. Wallachia, Moldavia and Transylvania.
Devastated by George Basta’s** soldiers in 1601, besieged by Gabriel Bathory’s*** troops in 1611, set fire to and raged in by plague and leprosy several times, Sighisoara was always rebuilt due to the love, devotion and abilities of its hard-working craftsmen and tradesmen.
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