September 24, 2016

2770, 2771 ROMANIA (Sibiu) - The Historic Centre of Sibiu and its Ensemble of Squares (UNESCO WHS - Tentative List)

2770 Sibiu in 1898
Located in Transylvania, Romania, Sibiu (German: Hermannstadt) straddles the Cibin River, a tributary of the river Olt. The first official record referring to the Sibiu area comes from 1191, when Pope Celestine III confirmed the existence of the free prepositure of the German settlers in Transylvania, the prepositure having its headquarters in Sibiu, named Cibinium at that time. The colonization of Transylvania by Germans was begun by King Géza II of Hungary (1141-1162), the main task of the Transylvanian Saxons being to defend the southeastern border of the Kingdom of Hungary.

2771 The Big Square in Sibiu in 1900

Although Sibiu is an ancient settlement dating from Neolithic, the overall form and shape of the city is medieval. Its evolving lines of strong fortifications, together with its characteristic street pattern, squares and building plots, developed and grew especially following the Tatar invasion of 1241. In the 14th century, it was already an important trade centre, and from 1366 onwards became known as Hermannstadt. In 1376, the craftsmen were divided in 19 guilds. Sibiu became the most important ethnic German city among the seven cities that gave Transylvania its German name Siebenbürgen (literally seven citadels).

At the end of the 15th century the Saxon University was founded, and from 1543 Sibiu became the focus for the introduction of the Lutheran Reformation into Transylvania and the shift away from Catholicism. Between 1692 and 1791 and 1849-1865 Sibiu was the capital of the Principality of Transylvania. During the 18th and 19th centuries, the city became the second and later the first most important centre of Transylvanian Romanian ethnics.After WWI, Sibiu became part of Romania; the majority of its population was still ethnic German (until 1941) and counted a large Romanian community, as well as a smaller Hungarian one.

The plan form and the architecture of Sibiu bear witness to the important political, religious and economic role that the city played for almost six centuries. Of particular note are the three interlocking squares of the upper town (Huet, Kleiner Ring, Grosser Ring), the succession of smaller squares in the lower town (including Fingerlinger and Dragoner), and the many narrow streets, steps and covered passages that link them. The historic centre displays an extensive stock of Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque architecture, as well as examples of late 19th to early 20th century date.

About the stamp
The stamp, depicting Viper's Grass (1.00 RON), is part of the series Flowers’ Clock I, about which I wrote here

Sibiu - Wikipedia
The Historic Centre of Sibiu and its Ensemble of Squares - UNESCO official website

Sender 2770, 2771: Ana
Sent from Sibiu (Sibiu / Romania), on 11.08.2013

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