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Friday 22 Sep 2023
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History & surroundings

Brief history of the city and area

XII century - Hermannstadt (Sibiu) settlement is founded on the banks of Cibin river (Cibiensis), near another old Roman settlement known as Cedonia

1366 - Sibiu becomes city by an Imperial order

XV century - Sibiu develops great economic, social and cultural prosperity, and grows simillar in size to Wien

XVI century - Sibiu evolves protected by the fortified walls, the outside area being covered by lakes and marshes that serve for the defense of the city

1600 - The legendary battle of Şelimbăr takes place and expands beyond the city walls of Sibiu. Mihai Viteazul wins the battle and banishes the Bathory family from the city, then issues a series of decrees.

XVII century - the city is marked by the concern for fitting the glacis area, military defence system and reclaiming the land from the swamp area around the city. The gardens designed in this period are still visible today around Casa Cardinal, as well as a series of urban constructions.

XVIII century - There is a architectural plan of Sibiu dating from 1751 where we can find the Cemetery and the free area where is to be build the "Church in the Pit" 37 years later. This area is located near the defence fortifications of the city; some of them still visible today in the shape of terracing of land that serve as support for fortification with bastions belts. The Citadel is built based on ideal plans published in the Italian Renaissance. Skeptics say that there were never any fortifications in the area, but plans from the mid seventeenth century confirm the concern of the city for defense against numerous Ottoman attacks. The city seems to maintain a green belt in the glacis area, imitating the Viennese model. Although small, the "Cemetery in the Pit" is surrounded by a legendary aura and a series of stories that links it to the city's struggle to defend against invaders. Crossing nearby the Cemetery,  a stream flowing from the city, runs right on land where now lies Casa Cardinal. This stream will later be channeled and is not visible today.

XIX century - a time of great transformation, Sibiu gradually extends beyond the fortified walls, which will be partially demolished. Plans from 1857 to 1875 reveal a wide area used as county fair and the city's promenade, near the Casa Cardinal and in close relation with the downtown area. High rank officers strolled in the company of suave ladies. The surroundings are covered by large gardens with orchards. On today's Victorirei Avenue, near the "Church in the Pit", are constructed imposing judicial office buildings, including the Court House. A postcard dated 1887 shows the "Church in the Pit" and residential homes as well as Justiției street connected to Victoria Avenue and the Court House, all surrounded by a bohemian atmosphere. There is a modest house with a tin roof occupying the area where later, during the interwar period will be contructed the building now housing Casa Cardinal. 

strada 1887

"Church Street in 1887"

XX century - The well-known architectural plan of Sibiu, dating from 1914, shows Justiției street under the German name "Kirche Strasse" ("Church Street"). The main points of interest of this plan are the "Church in the Pit", the parish house, the old cemetery and the imposing Palace of Justice built in neo-baroque style, as well as the military garrison complex located on the promenade. Trinkbach Creek, mentioned above, is channeled and its route diverted. The small house is demolished during the interwar period and it is replaced by a new building, still kept today. The building is enlarged in 2008, without significantly altering the original body.


 History of Casa Cardinal

1991 - A property containing a interwar built house with ground floor and first floor is bought. The rectangular lot is oriented with its short side towards the street. The building is located in the protection area of the Orthodox Church "Bunavestire" ('"Church in the Pit"). The land slightly goes downhill from right side to the left side of the lot, this being the general trend in the land in the area, descending to the bed of Trinkbach Creek.

1992 – A minibar is arranged at the ground floor;

1994 – A billiards room is arranged at the ground floor;

1995 – An arcade is arranged at the ground floor;

1998 – As the billiards at arcade became unprofitable in relation to fees charged by the Romanian government, they are closed;

1999 – A kitchen is built and the place becomes a small restaurant with a capacity of 40 seats;

2000 – The restaurant is renovated;

2001 – A terrace with six tables for summertime is arranged;

2007 – The building consists of three levels: basement, ground floor and first floor; originally an L-shaped core built in the interwar period, with one side oriented to the street, the other to court. After 1990 the building was extended resulting a rectangular shape. The circulated terrace, accessible from the staircase shows infiltration, which is one of the reasons it is proposed to cover part of it. Ground floor and basement is used by the restaurant, while the first floor has residential function.

2008 – Regarding the functional transformation, the first floor is turned into a pension and extended into the attic. There are four bedrooms equipped with bathrooms on the first floor and similar four in the attic. Functional changes made upstairs are completed with minimal intervention on the structure. The existing terrace at first floor is enclosed, thus resulting an atrium and mini conference hall. The summer terrace is rearranged with a retro design and the Venetian mosaic floor is restored;

2009 - The new accommodation complex is opened and awaits you!
The initial proposal of the building extension belongs to architect Ioan Bucur, with great experience in restoration and historic architecture, and architect Mihai Popa. Thanks to my friend Răzvan Pop and Ioan Bucur who provided the historical plans for me.

2015 – The Restaurant at the ground floor is replaced with accommodation rooms featuring classical XVIIth century style. The breakfast area is reorganized.


A few word about the "Church in the Pit" and the "Cemetery in the Pit" 

The "Church in te Pit" is one of the most important historical monuments outside the fortified walls of Sibiu. It is one of the first orthodox churches built in Sibiu; it is dedicated to "Bunavestire" and was constructed between 1788 – 1789 and rebuilt between 1802 – 1803; type is church hall with a western tower in 3 levels. The rich interior painting was done after 1960 by well-known Nicolae Brana. There is a architectural plan of Sibiu dating from 1751 where we can find the Cemetery and the free area where is to be build the "Church in the Pit" 37 years later. Also, the church and cemetery appear on plans dating from late XVIII century. These plans, also known as "Ridicarea Franz Josefina", are part of the first topographical descprition of the "Red Citadel". The cemetery near the church has a great value, being older than the church itself. Here rest in peace the founders of the church: Stana Petru Luca, her daughter Pauna and her husband Hagi Constantin Popp. Also, here are burried personalities of the Romanian spiritual life of the XIX century: Vasile Moga (1774-1845) - the first orthodox bishop of Transylvania (1810-1845), Miron Romanul (1874-1898) - archbishop and metropolitan bishop of Greek-Oriental romanians from Hungary and Transylvania, Ioan Mețianu - doctor of theology, bishop of Arad (1875-1898) and metropolitan bishop (1898-1916), Moise Fulea - headmaster of National Romanian School in Ardeal, Zaharia Boiu - writer and teacher, Ioan Codru Dragusanu.