Cultural Corridors of South East Europe

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Villages with Fortified Churches in Transylvania

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Villages with Fortified Churches in Transylvania

About the site

Corridor: Eastern Trans-Balkan Road
Country: Romania, Transylvania
Type: Christian religious centre, Vernacular Architecture
Epoch: Middle Ages
Theme: Christian Monasteries
World Heritage: Cultural Heritage
Middle AgesChristian MonasteriesChristian religious centreVernacular ArchitectureCultural Heritage

These Transylvanian villages with their fortified churches provide a vivid picture of the cultural landscape of southern Transylvania. The seven villages inscribed, founded by the Transylvanian Saxons, are characterized by a specific land-use system, settlement pattern and organization of the family farmstead that have been preserved since the late Middle Ages. They are dominated by their fortified churches, which illustrate building styles from the 13th to the 16th century.



Biertan Fortified Church with Biertan Village

Biertan (Birthalm) is witnessed documentary since 1283, named as "oppidum" in 1397 and developed between the XIVth c. and XVIth. c. as a major community in the area of the “2 Seats” (Medias and Schelk). Biertan (Birthalm) is the place where the Transylvanian Assembly appoints Stefan Mailat as prince of the authonomous principality. Since 1418 Biertan (Birthalm) is granted the right of organizing a weekly market. Beginning with 1572 Biertan (Birthalm) is the seat of Sachsen Bishopry (up to 1867, when it moves to Sibiu/Hermannstadt). The hall church is built beginning with 1402, the citadel being extended until the XVIIth c. In 1993 Biertan (Birthalm) is listed in The UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage List.

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Saschiz Fortified Church

Earliest document about saschiz (Keisd) dates back to 1309. Old documents witness about the importance of the village, residence of the chapter and for a brief period even the centre of the Schassburg Seat. The village had a strategic role, witnessed by the citadel placed atop the hill and erected between mid XIVth and early XVth century. The fortified late gothic church is erected between 1493 and 1525, probably over an earlier one. Listed in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1999.

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Valea Viilor Fortified Church

The church of Valea Viilor (Wurmloch) dates back from the 13th century but has suffered significant changes between the 15th and 16th century, when a double defensive system was added. An oval stronghold wall and the fortification of the church itself, by building a strong west tower and supplying the choir with a defensive attic are the components of this defensive system. The church belongs to the Transylvanian late gothic hallenkirche type (XVIth century) while the interior decoration (altarpiece, choir stools) are from the baroque period. Listed in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1999.

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Read more about Villages with Fortified Churches in Transylvania at the Unesco World Heritage List.