17. The First Gate and the Stairs Tower

Audio Guide


Strada Turnului, Sibiu, Romania


Return to the Stairs Tower, transformed into the House of the Journeyman. You are walking under one of the oldest defense buildings of the city, built of stone in the 12th century. The tower served as the gateway to the first fortification enclosure. Through this gate, the inhabitants of Cibiniensis retreated to the shelter of their walls, in case of invasions. A Mongol siege devastated the city in 1241, which was the reason why the inhabitants put a lot of effort into developing the fortification system.
After the first stairs, enjoy the ambiance of the inner courtyard on your right, surrounded by stone walls and a wooden tower. The tower belongs to the "Church of the Asylum", the first church of the city, transformed since the thirteenth century into a hall to care for the sick. Today, it is an Orthodox church, and its entrance is from the Asylum Street.
Maybe the items displayed in the windows of the local shops, or the flavors of tasty treats seeping from the kitchens of the nearby restaurants will tempt you.
In case you resist the temptations (or not), turn left under the curved buttresses. Gaze upward to see how steep the slope below the church tower is. Whether you choose to climb the stairs, or go around the wall on the path to the right, pay attention to the details around. The tunes of some musical instruments will reveal the building of the Art High School, on your right. The street is split in two by a former fortified wall. If you are close enough to the door of the high school, you will be able to admire the height of the tower house - part of the History Museum - the Altemberger House.

🤔 Did you know?

🔍 There was a garden in front of the tower house, known as the "Martyrs' Garden". It is said that the convicts were locked in the cellars of the building, and they were tortured below this garden to extract confessions.

🔍 The legend says that due to the arched shape, the street to the left side of the wall was named "The Dog's Spine".

🔍 The path below the Stairs Tower leads to Cibin Market. If you have time, the cheese tastings offered in the dairy hall are worth a gastronomic break.

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