Remarkably restored in recent years, with a roof reminiscent of St Stephen's Cathedral of Vienna, St Mary's Evangelical Cathedral of Sibiu is one of Transylvania's tourist gems.
The imposing Gothic monument was built between 1371-1520 upon the site of a 12th-century Romanesque basilica.
A climb into the church tower is a must, of course for those physically fit enough. Breathtaking views of Sibiu and the Făgăraș Mountains in the background from 55 metres up. The total height of the tower is 74 meters, only one meter less than the tallest church tower in Transylvania, that of the evangelical church in Bistrita.
The funeral stones now exposed on the walls lead you to the main nave of the church. Here your eyes will no doubt be drawn to the several imposing epitaphs carved in stone of some of the town's prominent notables wealthy enough to pay for the construction of these monuments designed to preserve their memory.
Just in front of the altar, beneath a glass floor, you can now see the foundations of the ancient 12th-century basilica. It is around it that the first walls of the citadel were built - on the outline of today's Albert Huet Square. Here, therefore, was the heart of the city. And in the altar on the northern wall, there is a superb large-scale representation of the Crucifixion, made in 1445, which survived the Reformation.
When you visit the evangelical cathedral, feel free to get in touch with Linus, an excellent guide of the site, who talks knowledgeably and passionately about this place of worship, the significance of its paintings and the alterations brought about by the passage from Catholicism to the Reformation and the life of the Transylvanian Saxons.
4-DAY PRIVATE TOUR: On TRANSFAGARASAN Mountain Road to the HEART of TRANSYLVANIA
SIBIU – Hermannstadt