> It's where even the communist nostalgics remember the dark side of the regime.
> The place where the former democratic leaders of Romania were held by the communists.
It is now the site of the Sighet Memorial Museum, part of the Memorial of the Victims of Communism. It once was the Sighet prison, used by the communist regime to hold political prisoners.
The prison in Sighetu Marmaţiei (often referred to just as "Sighet") was built in 1897, when the area was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, as a prison for criminal offenders. In 1948, once communist power had been consolidated in Romania, Sighet prison was reserved for political opponents of the regime. At first, it held a group of students, pupils and peasants from the Maramures area. Many of the surviving prisoners are still living in Sighet to this very day.
The graveyard of freedom
On May 5 and 6, 1950, over one hundred former leaders (ministers and other politicians, as well as academics, economists, military officers, historians, and journalists) were brought to the Sighet penitentiary, some of them sentenced to heavy punishments, and others held without any form of trial. The majority were over 60 years old. Many important figures of inter-war Romania died in custody, including the leader of the National Peasants' Party and former Prime Minister of Romania, Iuliu Maniu.
The Centre was founded 3 years after the Revolution by the Civic Academy Foundation and it is an institute of research, museography and education. The museum was by the Centre for Studies into Communism on the base of the former Sighet prison. The restoration of the prison building was completed in 2000. Each prison cell became a museum room, which together presented the chronology of the totalitarian system in Communist Romania.