In 2007, Sibiu was the European Capital of Culture (together with Luxembourg). This was the most important cultural event that has ever happened in the city, and a great number of tourists came, both domestic and foreign.
The city of Sibiu and its surroundings are one of the most visited areas in Romania. It holds one of the best preserved historical sites in the country, many of its medieval fortifications having been kept in excellent state. Its old center has begun the process for becoming a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004. Sibiu and its surrounding area have many significant museums, with 12 institutions housing art collections, paintings, and exhibits in decorative arts, archeology, anthropology, history, industrial archeology and history of technology and natural sciences.
The city also lies close to the Fagaras Mountains - a very popular trekking destination, close to the Paltiniș and Arena Platos ski resorts - popular winter holiday destinations, and it is at the heart of the former Saxon communities in Transylvania renowned for its fortified churches.
Much of the city's aspect is due to its position, easily defensible, but allowing horizontal development. The old city of Sibiu lies on the right bank of the Cibin River, on a hill situated at about 200 m from the river. It consists of two distinct entities: the Upper Town and the Lower Town. Traditionally, the Upper Town was the wealthier part and commercial outlet, while the Lower Town served as the manufacturing area.