3. The Samuel von Brukenthal National Museum
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Of all the buildings in the Grand Square, there is one particularly appealing. Notice the façade with the huge portal and the mansard steep roof. These elements are characteristic of the period in which they were built: the late Austrian Baroque, adopted in Transylvania in the eighteenth century. The imposing estate is the first public museum in Southeastern Europe, and the third in the world. It opened its doors in 1817, 14 years after the death of the baron who built it: Samuel von Brukenthal.
Brukenthal is one of the most important personalities in the history of Sibiu and Transylvania. He represented the interests of the Saxon community at the court of Empress Maria Theresa and became her personal advisor. From 1777 to 1787, he was the Governor of Transylvania.
His passion for art, literature, cartography, numismatics and science in general led him to collect numerous objects throughout his life. He gathered works of art, books, coins, minerals and other valuable objects in his palace in the Grand Square. He fought for the preservation of the rights of nations in Transylvania, in the face of the new administrative system imposed by Joseph II.
Brukenthal was also concerned with the development of agricultural crops and animal husbandry. He cultivated exotic plants in the Orangery of his summer palace in Avrig, and the whole Empire knew about his horse stud farm in Sâmbăta de Jos.
To get a closer look at the Baron's universe, take a few hours to visit the museum's collections. You can enjoy its bohemian atmosphere even with a quick stroll in the courtyard and the garden of the palace. You may have a chance to meet Donatello and Antonello, the museum's live mascots.
🤔 Did you know?
🔍 In addition to his buildings, Samuel von Brukenthal left 1300 paintings (Flemish and engraving), 13000 books (a large number of them unique and incunabula), 17500 antique coins, a cabinet of curiosities, a cartographic collection and a collection of Roman stones.
🔍 Brukenthal’s beautiful wife, Katharina Sofia, who was the daughter of Mayor Klockner, aided him.
🔍 The portal of the palace is decorated with the coat of arms of the Brukenthal family and of his wife. The stone bridge refers to Brukenthal's original name, Brekner. In the Saxon language, Bräk means bridge.