Sighisoara is one of the seven fortified Saxon cities of Transylvania, together with Brasov (Kronstadt), Cluj (Klausenburg), Sibiu (Hermannstadt), Bistrita (Bistritz), Medias (Mediasch) and Sebes (Mühlbach).
Did you know about the history of the Pied Piper of Hamelin?
In short …
The story goes that one day the German town of Hamelin was overrun by a plague of rats. People, in desperation, sought the help of a Pied Piper who was hired to hypnotize the rats with his flute and make them drown in the river.
After completing his task, the piper demanded the town villagers the gold that was promised in exchange for his services. The people of Hamelin refused to pay. The piper, in revenge, took his instrument and hypnotized the town children into leaving, never to be seen again.
Well, so far so normal, what you probably don’t know is the Transylvanian version of the story.
It turns out that the Pied Piper was actually a gypsy, skilled in dark, powerful magic.
The lost children of the German people ended up in a cave in Transylvania, from where they came to inhabit these lands and found new cities.
The true story of the German presence in Romania
As much as I want to believe such a cool story including flutes, Gypsies and rats, the truth is that the presence of Germans in Transylvania has a much more boring origin.
The fortified villages were established in the twelfth century by settlers from the Moselle region. Saxons were brought to Transylvania by Hungarian rulers, who wanted the Germans to establish in areas of mountain passes to defend the kingdom from the Ottomans and Tatars.
For this reason there is a significant minority of Germans in Transylvania and that’s why there is a German cemetery in Sighisoara, located in the citadel, just behind the church.
Unlike other graveyards, Sighisoara’s German cemetery does not host any dead celebrity, nor does it have any monumental mausoleums, but its charm resides in its serenity and the mere fact of its existence.