Visiting The Torture Chamber
As I mentioned in my last travel post, last Sunday I visited Sighișoara, one of the most beautiful medieval cities of Transylvania, as the Medieval Festival was held in the historical center, which is the citadel.
The Historic Centre of Sighișoara (Sighișoara Citadel) is the old historic center of the town of Sighișoara (German: Schäßburg, Hungarian: Segesvár), Romania, built in the 12th century by Saxon settlers. It is an inhabited medieval citadel that, in 1999, was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its 850-year-old testament to the history and culture of the Transylvanian Saxons.
Birthplace of Vlad III the Impaler (in Romanian Vlad Țepeș), Sighișoara hosts, every year, a medieval festival where arts and crafts blend with rock music and stage plays. The city marks the upper boundary of the Land of Sachsen. Like its bigger brothers, Sibiu (Hermannstadt) and Braşov (Kronstadt), Sighișoara exhibits Medieval German architectural and cultural heritage that was preserved even during the Communist period. source
It's not the first time, I've been there before quite a few times, but not recently, so obviously I wanted to enjoy and capture every single detail a cool place like this has to offer.
The citadel is on a hill, above the city, built there for a good reason. All medieval citadels, fortresses are build on a hill for strategic purposes. You can't miss it as it's visible from every single point in the city. The road to the entrance is steep and it's paved with cobblestones, my favorite, which is not surprising as stone was the main building material in those days.
At the time of our visit, there was a strange art exhibition as well. Artworks were on display starting from the main gate to the other gate.
The truth is, the whole place would need a good renovation as bricks are already visible, but there's either no funds, or they don't want to shut down the place as tourists love it. I'd say the first one, but who knows.
The torture chamber, former military prison of Sighișoara citadel, says the poster. There was an entrance fee, 6 lei for adults, which is a little over 1 euro, and 1.5 lei for students.
The whole place is weird, without even knowing what's been used for once. The door to the first room is what you see on the photo. There's a sign warning people to watch their head. This little lady had no problem entering, but I had to watch my head indeed.
I could not take a better photo of the door as there was a crowd behind us, waiting to get in, but if you look at it, it's a massive metal door you don't break it down with your shoulder, like you see it in the movies.
The first room as you enter, was so tiny, I could hardly take a half decent photo. On the right there was a stone bank or something like that and on the left there was a desk, where the tickets were sold.
Tickets are printed on the spot, after the payment is done and look like these. It's funny though, to get a ticket like that in a medieval chamber :)
Once you enter the first room, which is the only one actually and it is the torture room, you can see how thick the walls are. The door is again very small. This one was made of wood though.
There was a short history pinned to the wall and reading through it had to realize, times were tough back then.
This is one of the torturing devices, I mean a replica most likely.
These torturing devices are not all known by us as I doubt they are in use. Nowadays there are so many modern devices and techniques that there's no need for these. Therefore there were some drawings on the wall, with explanations in 3 languages.
Here you can see the tying of the hand and feet, as well as the position of the hands before tying, which was palms out. I suppose these techniques were tried out and found suitable for torture.
Here's another device I would never want to try out.
Hanging tied by the hand can never be comfortable.
More torturing devices. On the left, handcuffs with chain for hands and feet, from the 17th, 18th century. On the right you can see a yoke, that was used for moving prisoners, in the same period of time.
Of all the objects displayed in this tiny but painful museum, maybe this stone was the most useful.
Read the text above to learn about the use of the stone. In any case, public shaming was a huge thing back then. Imagine yourself tied to the infamy pillar, with this stone on your neck and people throwing eggs and tomatoes at you.
This is the Spanish boot, a torturing device I've heard of, but have never seen it till that day. Looks scary though.
A more detailed "Spanish Boot". Very, very scary!!!
Another device for torturing fingers.
If you look at these photo copies, you can see how detailed those drawings are. It's like at the engineering school, like a technical drawing.
Although I love these medieval fortresses and buildings, what scares me the most about those times is the way justice was done. As you can see on the paper above, they had all the right to do whatever they wanted, without any proof even. I mean if someone said some bad things about you, you could be tortured and even killed as there was no one to defend you.
All in all, it was nice to visit the museum as it's good to know what these torture methods have been over the centuries. The place itself wasn't scary as there were only a few devices, but when you look at the drawings and imagine how those devices were used, you have to be made of stone if you don't feel pain.