The Romanian names Transylvania or Ardeal, Erdély in Hungarian, denominate a geographical and historical area with a colourful history. Today, Transylvania belongs to Romania. The origin of the German name, Siebenbürgen, has not yet been finally determined. Although there is evidence that the German name Siebenbürgen has been used since the 13th century. Over time, this German name was related to the Seven Sees, or administrative units, established by the German settlers. For centuries, the term Transylvania had only been used in written texts. It is derived from the Latin name “trans silvas”, meaning beyond the woods – from a Hungarian perspective.
The Transylvanian coat of arms shown here has been known of since around 1590. The heraldic symbols represent the three Transylvanian “nations” or estates: Hungarians/Hungarian nobility (the eagle), Szeklers (sun and moon) and the Transylvanian Saxons (seven castles). Transylvania’s coat of arms was part of the combined coat of arms of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy and is now part of the national Romanian coat of arms.