Today we invite you on a trip into the heart of Transylvania to discover some of the gems of the land beyond the forests – the fortified churches built by the German settlers during the 13th and 14th centuries.
The Hungarian ruler of Transylvania in the Middle Ages invited settlers from Germany and Flanders to set here and create towns and villages in order to rise the number of inhabitants and take advantage of the hilly region.
In Prejmer, the local community built some of the most interesting fortified churches in this part of Europe. In 1200, the Hungarian king allowed the Teutonic knights to built fortifications inside Transylvania. Here, at Prejmer, they started building a church that was later on continued by the locals in Gothic style. A particularity of this fortification is that each family owned its own room within the walls. The local families and the guilds were in charge of maintaining the fortification in good shape and defending it during sieges. Each rooms had the owner’s house number and was supposed to host grains and meat all year long. Each season the food reserve was freshened. Not far from Brasov, Prejmer is a nice destination for those passing by or wanting to spend the night in the area.
Further into the region we reach Biertan. This village hosted the archbishopric center of the Germans in Transylvania for more than 300 years. Because of this reason, the fortified church was extended and extremely well guarded by 3 inner yards. If you climb on the highest tower you’ll have a magnificent view over the valley. You can take a look inside the locals’ yards and see how they are organized. Its close location, only 30 km away from Sighisoara, makes Biertan a must stop on the road between Sibiu and Sighisoara. In Biertan you will find a fantastic door with an ingenious lock with 23 latches which was awarded the gold medal at the Paris World Exhibition in 1900. Another interesting thing to see here is a small room used by the locals in order to close the matrimonial conflicts. The recipe was simple: one bed, one chair, one plate, one cup and one spoon. The couple who intended to separate, after days or weeks of forced cohabitation, finished by remaining together for the rest of their lives. The success rate is impressive: 3 divorces in 800 years.
Not far away, at Valea Viilor, you can find another masterpiece belonging to the Germans. In the 14th century, a well fortified Evangelical church was built here by the locals. You have the chance to meet an old lady keeper who will be more than happy to give you the keys of the defending tower. From up there, you can enjoy a nice view of the village. The area around the village was famous for its vineyards, and that’s where it got its name from: Vineyards Valley. Only 6 km from Copsa Mica on local road, the village is definitely worth a stop.
These are some of the most interesting places to see in Transylvania, an area full of surprises for the foreigners and for Romanians alike. The fall in the hilly region in the middle of Romania offers you a wonderful scenery. Come and see for yourself!