|Piața Mare, the largest square in Sibiu. Called|
"Der Grosse Ring"when Lisi, my grandmother,
worked here for Mrs. Jickeli
In two previous Travel Tuesday posts, I wrote about my brothers and my visit to the small museum at the back of my grandfather Josef' Gartz's Neppendorf church, where we were astounded to find copies of our very own family photos representing daily life in Josef's home town (Spilling Secrets), as well as photos of our famous bandleader cousin, Michael Gärtz. After the church, our next stop was the “big city” of Hermannstadt ("Hermann's City,") founded by Hermann of Nuremburg in 1150), just a few kilometers distant from Neppendorf. It's called Sibiu by the Romanians; Nagyszében by the Hungarians. A beautiful medieval town, it is one of the “seven fortresses,” or walled cities, that make up the area of Siebenbürgen/Transylvania. It is also the city where my grandmother, Lisi, worked for Mrs. Jickeli, whose family owned a successful hardware store on what was then called "Der Grosse Ring," the Great Ring, but has been renamed Piața Mare, one of Sibiu's three main squares.
|Evangelische Lutheran Cathedral|
The church is a beautiful, soaring Gothic structure built between 1300 and 1520. Even the notorious Vlad the Impaler (see post, The Real Dracula) has a representative of his family entombed in this church: his son, Mihnea Vodă cel Ruă (Prince Mihnea the Bad--is that moniker any surprise?). He’s in a closed- off section behind the organ. We didn’t ask for entry, but visitors can.
Besides its peaceful light-filled ambience, a highlight of the interior is a superbly restored gigantic fresco (over nine meters high) painted in 1445 by Johannes of Rosenau. Outside the entrance stands a statue bronze statue in tribute to the renowned Bishop, Georg Teutsch, a strong advocate for Transylvanian Saxon culture.
|Sibiu's "eyelid" windows|
|Ancient Sibiu street|
|"Potters' Tower." Each tower in the wall|
guarding Sibiu was named after and
maintained by a different guild.
Just as Sibiu protected its Saxon inhabitants from invaders for hundreds of years, the city now guards the Siebenbürgen German's history for future generations. In the next Travel Tuesday post, we’ll visit the historical archives of the Transylvanian Saxons, where an ancient ledger held the key to finding my grandmother, Lisi’s, home in nearby Grosspold.