Transylvania has always had an ora of magic about it. Legends abound around Transylvania fuelled by Bram Stoker who wrote Dracula based on the infamous Vlad The Impaler of Sighisoara. situated in the heart of Eastern Europe on the main routes from east to west, Transylvania has always been vulnerable from the invaders that swept west from the Steppes and the Middle East, as well as Medieval war lords who were constantly searching for easy booty. Many times Transylvania was so heavily sacked that the population declined to a point where the land lay fallow. After such periods settlers would slowly return and start farming the land again. The Saxons came to Transylvania and built Saxon style towns and Villages. To protect themselves from hostile raids they built fortified churches within which they could live and sit out a siege. Many fine examples of fortified churches remain in Transylvania most of which are seen to be so important that they are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Hope you enjoy the photos, Paul Williams.
Fortified Saxon Churches Slideshow
Photos of Fortified Saxon Churches, Transylvania
The Saxon villages of Transylvania appeared in the thirteenth century when the Kings of Hungary settled German colonists in the area. They had a special status among nations in the province and their civilisation managed to survive and thrive, forming a very strong community of farmers, artisans and merchants. Being situated in a region constantly under the threat of the Ottoman and Tatar invasions, they built fortifications of different sizes. The most important towns were fully fortified, and the smaller communities created fortifications centered around fortified churches, where they added defensive towers and storehouses to the inside of the church walls to keep their most valuable goods and to help them withstand long sieges.
The inside of the walls of the biggest Saxon fortified churches have rows of rooms 3 storeys high where a families grain & meat would be stored so during times of attack the inhabitants of the town simply barricaded themselves into the fort living in their rooms full of their provisions. Up to 2000 people could flee to safety in the huge church fortifications of Prejmer, Transylvania.
Over 150 fortified churches survive in Transylvania of which a group of six Saxon and one Székely villages is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Sites
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