Sighişoara

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Sighişoara (Romanian pronunciation: [siɡiˈʃo̯ara]; German: Schäßburg; Hungarian: Segesvár Hungarian pronunciation: [’ʃɛɡɛʃvaːr]; Latin: Castrum Sex) is a city and municipality on the Târnava Mare River in Mureş County, Romania. Located in the historic region Transylvania, Sighişoara has a population of 32,287 (2002).

Contents

History

During the 12th century, German craftsmen and merchants known as the Transylvanian Saxons were invited to Transylvania by the King of Hungary to settle and defend the frontier of his realm. The chronicler Krauss lists a Saxon settlement in the actual Sighiṣoara by 1191. By 1280 it was known by the Latin name of Castrum Sex, and by 1298 by the Saxon name of Schespurch resp. Schaesbrich. By 1337 Sighişoara had become a royal center for the kings, who awarded the settlement urban status in 1367 as the Civitas de Segusvar.

The city played an important strategic and commercial role at the edges of Central Europe for several centuries. Sighişoara became one of the most important cities of Transylvania, with artisans from throughout the Holy Roman Empire visiting the settlement. The German artisans and craftsmen dominated the urban economy, as well as building the fortifications protecting it. It is estimated that during the 16th and the 17th centuries Sighişoara had as many as 15 guilds and 20 handicraft branches. The Baroque sculptor Elias Nicolai lived in the city. The Wallachian prince Vlad Dracul (father of Vlad the Impaler (Dracula), who lived in exile in the town, let coins to be minted in the city (otherwise coinage was the monopoly of the Hungarian kings in the Kingdom of Hungary) and issued the first document listing the city's Romanian name, Sighişoara.

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