Viscri - picturesque Saxon village in Transylvania, Romania
Fortified churches in TransylvaniaRomania is a beautiful and very interesting country. You can admire there magnificent scenery and a lot of splendid architectural monuments. Very interesting and picturesque architectural objects are fortified churches in Transylvania region. There are more than 100 of well preserved fortified churches from the 13th to 16th centuries.
Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Villages with Fortified Churches in Transylvania are seven villages founded by the Transylvanian Saxons. They are characterised by the great variety of architectural styles. They are dominated by fortified churches and characterised by a specific settlement pattern that has been preserved since the late Middle Ages.
Fortified church in Viscri - UNESCO World Heritage SiteOne of the most interesting Saxon fortified churches is located in the village of Viscri. The village is located in the centre of Romania, close to Sighisoara (40km). The name of the village comes from the German "Weisse Kirche", meaning "white church".
Saxons came to Transylvania during the mid-1100s from Germany. The result of almost nine centuries of existence of the Saxon community in Southern Transylvania is a cultural and architectural heritage, unique in Europe.
Unlike other Transylvanian fortified churches, Viscri was built around 1100 by the Szekler population and taken over by Saxon colonists at a time when the area belonged to the Kingdom of Hungary. Initially Roman Catholic, it became Lutheran following the Reformation.
The building was rectangular, with a semicircular altar of greenish-white limestone. Four Romanesque capitals that survive in the choir, including one used as a baptismal font, also originate in this period. The church was modified and extended many times. In the 14th century, the church was rebuilt and in the 16th century, the first fortification walls with towers were added. In the 18th century, the church was endowed with a second defensive wall. Inside, you can admire a classic 19th-century altar. The fortress and the church received a deep restoration in the 70s of 20th century.
There is The Museum of the Church inside the fortification. You will find details about the organisation and duties of the Saxon communities. There are furniture, typical tools of ancient crafts and the few original clothes.
It is also worth to climb the tower to see the magnificent view. Looking all around from the tower, you will see the tiled roofs of the village between the trees and the beautiful surrounding hills.
Saxon village of ViscriA visit to Viscri is an authentic experience of travelling through time. That beautiful village surrounded by gently rolling hills, far away from civilisation, hasn’t changed in centuries. People still live from their farming and animal growing, although the development of tourism has introduced a new activity in the village. Many peasants are now transforming their traditional authentic Saxon houses into guest houses but walk around the peaceful village and observe the traditional life and charming architecture is a fascinating experience.
Leaving the village, you can visit Rupea Castle, the beautiful and impressive refuge citadel (see: Rupea Citadel: One of Transylvania’s top Medieval fortress).
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