Sibiu is over 800 years old, a document signed by Pope Celestin the Second mentioned for the first time its existence.
Sibiu was founded by the Flemish and German colonizers brought by the king Geza the Second in Transylvania. The first houses were built in wood at the crossroads of the 9 Mai, Faurului and Ocnei Streets. The town grew rapidly. The destructions incurred by the Mongol armies in 1241 forced the inhabitants of Sibiu fortify the settlement with stone walls. Thus the old court of the count – the today’s Huet Square – became the first fortified precinct of Sibiu. This is rapidly followed by a second fortification circle around the today’s Small Square. In 1292 the first hospital on today’s Romanian territory was mentioned.
The continuous growth with the third fortification circle at the middle of the 14th century which comprised the Upper Town. The fortifying and the beginning of the construction of a Gothic church happened at a time when Sibiu was transformed into a town, and that was mentioned for the first time in 1366. In 1380 the first school on today’s Romanian territory was mentioned.
The next century, the 15th, is affected by the frequent Ottoman sieges which did not succeed in conquering Sibiu, citadel considered by Pope Eugen the Fourth a “bulwark of Christianity”. It was the century when in Sibiu Thomas Altemberger wrote the first rules of a town on today’s Romanian territory.
In the 16th century Sibiu was involved in the fight for the Hungarian crown and for the Principality of Transylvania after the military disaster of Mohacs in 1526. Besieged and abandoned by all its allies Sibiu recognized in 1541 the Prince of Transylvania, Janos Zapolya. In this agitated political and military life Sibiu is the place in which Konrad Haas, the inventor of the racket (1566) settled. In that time in Sibiu Lukas Trapoldner opened the first printing shop on today’s Romanian territory where the first book was printed, the first school textbook, the first science book and the first book in the Romanian language. It was the period when Sibiu became the richest town in Transylvania and one of the biggest in this area of Europe.
In the 17th century Sibiu was attacked in turns by the armies of the princes of Transylvania which wished to control its riches. In turns Gabriel Bathory, Gheorghe Rackoczy the Second tried to conquer it. Under these continuous attacks the inhabitants of Sibiu fought for their own identity and rights. The measures of the Count Albert Hue are to be noticed. At the end of the century the inhabitants of Sibiu got involved in the Habsburg occupation of Transylvania. For their merits and help the emperor chose Sibiu as a capital of Transylvania in th year 1692.
Under these auspices Sibiu goes into the 18th century in the era of Samuel von Brukenthal. The councilor of the empress Maria Theresa is appointed governor of the province. The administrative and the financial reform are the most important laws of the baron. He leaves Sibiu with one of the most beautiful palaces in Romania but also the first public museum, the third in Europe. At the same time in Sibiu Martin Hochmeister lives and works, the one who opened the first theatre in today’s Romania.
The end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century saw the increase of Romanian pressure. The bishopric moved to Sibiu, the first Romanian school in town was opened and more and more personalities come into the Transylvanian capital. Sibiu goes throught the turmoil of the 1848 Revolution when it was conquered and liberated a few times. Sibiu was the center of the emancipation movement of the Germans but also of the Romanians.
The second half of the 19th century sees the emancipation of the Romanians under the protection of Andrei Saguna, Metropolitan of Transylvania and of the ASTRA Association. The first Romanian Bank was established, the first Romanian party, and Ioan Slavici printed Tribuna, a newspaper which exists even today.
All these had as result that at the end of the First World War when Transylvania united with Romania in Sibiu the Governing Council, a real government of the province, functioned. The town grew and new quarters were built in the period between the wars. In the communist era the town lost its charm because of the disappearance of some important monuments. At the same time large block quarters were built, and the villages Turnisor and Gusterita became part of the town.
The Revolution of 1989 turned a bloody page in the history of the town of Sibiu, one of the hardest stricken in those days. Slowly the town of Sibiu throve and was remodeled. In the last ten years Sibiu has rediscovered its historical and cultural heritage. In 2007 due to these values but also due to the quality of life Sibiu was the Cultural Capital of Europe.