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Although Sibiu is an ancient settlement dating from the Neolithic period, the overall form and shape of the city is medieval.Its evolving lines of strong fortifications, together with its characteristic street pattern, squares and building plots, developed and grew especially following the Tatar invasion of 124-1.The historic centre displays an extensive stock of Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque architecture, as well as examples of late 19th to early 20th century date. The plot shapes, layout and organization of the larger merchants' houses in the upper town, with their large courtyards behind, are also distinctive.The evolution of the city from its initial strategic stronghold protecting a rural settlement to a mercantile and artisan centre and powerful regional capital city is expressed in the important collection of vernacular buildings, to be seen especially in the lower town.Sibiu was colonized by Saxon settlers in the mid-12th century.They were invited to Transylvania by the Hungarian King Geza II (1141-1162), in order to defend and administer the kingdom's border territory. From 1366 onwards the city became known by the Saxon community as Hermannstadt.Set in the Cibin Depression, the city is about 20 km from the Făgăraș Mountains, 12 km from the Cibin Mountains, and about 15 km from the Lotru Mountains, which border the depression in its southwestern section.
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. Some were villages annexed by the city but most were built as the city developed and increased its surface.The Secretariat of the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the World Heritage Centre do not represent or endorse the accuracy or reliability of any advice, opinion, statement or other information or documentation provided by the States Parties to the World Heritage Convention to the Secretariat of UNESCO or to the World Heritage Centre.The publication of any such advice, opinion, statement or other information documentation on the World Heritage Centre’s website and/or on working documents also does not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Secretariat of UNESCO or of the World Heritage Centre concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its boundaries.The plan form and the architecture of Sibiu bear witness to the important political, religious and economic role that the city played for almost six centuries.Of particular note are the three interlocking squares of the upper town (Huet, Kleiner Ring, Grosser Ring), the succession of smaller squares in the lower town (including Fingerlinger and Dragoner), and the many narrow streets, steps and covered passages that link them. 1350; the Altenberger Haus (the old City Hall), 1475-1704; and the Brukenthal Palace, 1778-1788.