Transylvania History in BriefTransylvania was not always a part of Romania. Today it occupies the northwestern portion of the country. However, anyone who visits there will understand that a variety of peoples have called the territory of Transylvania their home throughout the centuries. The Dacians, a people to whom the Romanians trace their roots, populated the region prior to Roman rule. Roman settlements began cropping up on Dacian land around the second century A.D.
A tumultuous period followed the fall of Rome, during which various tribes invaded the region. The Magyars, or Hungarians, conquered Transylvania. Hungary ruled Transylvania for a period, and it followed that Transylvania became absorbed into the Hapsburg Empire, then Austria-Hungary.
After WWI, Transylvania became a part of Romania. Disputes over the territory ensued, but Transylvania remains within the borders of Romania. Ethnic minorities, evidence of past rule and shifting borders, continue to play an important role in the vibrancy of Romanian culture.
Travel in TransylvaniaTransylvania is no ordinary travel destination. Besides its Dracula-related attractions, Transylvania is a region of complex history, intriguing legends, well-preserved architectural wonders, and bustling cities.
One city, Brasov, is often visited for its close proximity to Bran Castle. But Brasov is exciting in its own right. Festivals, including medieval jousting festivals, beer festivals, and holiday markets attract visitors year round. A mountain in the middle of the city provides views that can’t be beat and hiking opportunities for nature lovers. Medieval fortifications and churches in a variety of architectural styles are only some of the additional sights in Brasov.
Sibiu is a large city that preserves its German-influenced heritage in winding medieval streets, well-preserved defensive structures, tidy historic squares, and an open-air museum that brings visitors close to the reality of traditional village life.
Transylvania is also a place of great natural beauty. Hiking, biking, and other outdoor recreational opportunities abound. If you aren’t the woodsy type, you can also see the countryside from the window of a train, bus, or car as you explore the region.
World Heritage sites, or attractions known for their beauty or significance, may take some effort to get to if they are not located in or near cities. However, Transylvania is home to castles, caves, ancient churches, and other sights off the beaten path. If you are an intrepid traveler with a sense of adventure and a passion for out-of-the-way discoveries, Transylvania won’t disappoint.
You may be convinced that Dracula isn’t the only reason you should visit Transylvania, but if you’re still curious, visit Sighisoara, a well-preserved medieval city that is said to be the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler. Sighisoara is proud of its connection to this Romanian hero and it won’t be hard to track down its most famous historic resident while you are there.