Sibiu (Romanian pronunciation: [siˈbiw]; German: Hermannstadt; Hungarian: Nagyszeben) is an important city in Transylvania, Romania with a population of 154,548. It straddles the Cibin River, a tributary of the river Olt. It is the capital of Sibiu County and is located some 282 km NW of Bucharest. Between 1692—1791 it was the capital of the Principality of Transylvania.
It is one of the most important cultural and religious centres in Romania as well a major transportation hub in central Romania. The city used to be the centre of the Transylvanian Saxons until World War II. Sibiu was designated European Capital of Culture for the year 2007, together with Luxembourg. It is ranked as "Europe 8th most most idyllic place to live" by Forbes.
One village, Păltiniş, is administered by the city.
Sibiu is situated near the geographical center of Romania at 45.792784°N 24.152069°ECoordinates: 45.792784°N 24.152069°E. Set in the Cibin Depression, the city is about 20 km from the Făgăraş Mountains, 12 km from the Cibin Mountains, and about 15 km from the Lotrului Mountains, which border the depression in its southwestern section. The northern and eastern limits of Sibiu are formed by the Târnavelor Plateau, which descends to the Cibin Valley through Guşteriţei Hill.
The Cibin river as well as some smaller streams runs through Sibiu. The geographical position of Sibiu makes it one of the most important transportation hubs in Romania with important roads and railway lines passing through it.
Sibiu's climate is temperate-continental with average temperatures of 8 to 9°C. The multi-annual average of rainfall is 662 l/mp, and there are about 120 days of hard frost annually.
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. It was probably built near a Roman settlement, one that would be known during the early Middle Ages as Caedonia.
In the 14th century, it was already an important trade center. 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 cities), and it was home to the Universitas Saxorum, the assembly of Germans in Transylvania. Common opinion in the 17th century ascribed Sibiu the quality of being the easternmost city to be part of the European sphere; it was also the eastern terminus of postal routes.
During the 18th and 19th centuries, the city became the second and later the first most important center of Transylvanian Romanian ethnics. The first Romanian-owned bank had its headquarters here (The Albina Bank), as did the ASTRA (Transylvanian Association for Romanian Literature and Romanian's People Culture). After the Romanian Orthodox Church was granted status in the Habsburg Empire from the 1860s onwards, Sibiu became the Metropolitan seat, and the city is still regarded as the third most important center of the Romanian Orthodox Church. Between the Hungarian Revolution of 1848 and 1867 (the year of the Ausgleich), Sibiu was the meeting-place of the Transylvanian Diet, which had taken its most representative form after the Empire agreed to extend voting rights in the region.
After World War I, when Austria-Hungary was dissolved, Sibiu became part of Romania; the majority of its population was still ethnic German (until 1941) and counted large Romanian and Hungarian communities. Starting from the 1950s and until after 1990, most of the city's ethnic Germans emigrated to Germany. Among the roughly 2,000 who have remained is Klaus Johannis, who is currently mayor of Sibiu City.
The city features in the famous novel "The Reader" (Der Vorleser) by German law professor and judge Bernhard Schlink, upon which an Oscar-winning film was based.
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