Fortified Church in Hărman, Romania
There are 25 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Romania. Seven of this list are Saxon villages in southern Transylvania. They are dominated by their fortified churches, which illustrate building styles from the 13th to the 16th century. One of them is Hărman Fortified Church. I have already presented the beautiful village of Viscri, which houses one of the fortified churches - also listed on the UNESCO list (click to read my article about Viscri). The church in Hărman is just as beautiful and it displays the typical characteristics of a fortified church. The village of Hărman (Honigburg in German, meaning Honey Castle) is located some 10 km east of Brașov, in the Burzenland region of southeastern Transylvania. When visiting Brașov, you must visit Hărman (and Prejmer too) (click to read my article about Medieval fortifications in Brașov).
Hărman was established and long inhabited mainly by Transylvanian Saxons. The church at Hărman dates back to 1240 when Saxons built the original structure. The fortifications were built to protect the village from attacks by the Ottomans and originally included three walls. Strong walls and bulwarks surrounded the church and on its sides, massive towers were added. The belfry tower was added in the 14thcentury, and the walls were constructed in the 15th century. Only two walls remain, an outer wall at 4.5 meters high and an inner wall about 12 meters high. Although the fortifications lost their defensive capacity as early as the 18th century, they continued to serve as places for secure storage and safe keeping.
The complex’s ability to defend itself is based upon the formerly tripartite circular wall with fortified towers, a circumferential moat, and a strongly fortified gate. and the fortifications retain part of the interior living and storage rooms along the walls.
The Church of St. Nikolaus located in the centre of defence structure has retained the appearance of a 13th-century Romanesque triple-nave basilica. The church is unfortified. The choir in the church was built in a square shape with a vault resembling a cross. It was surrounded by two chapels. The south chapel has been preserved in its initial state while the north chapel was rebuilt in the 15th century. The exterior vaults of the chapel are sculptured in stone and have a human face at each end.
The Baroque altar was completed in 1787 and the wooden pulpit in late 18th century. The women’s benches of 1753 constitute a unique feature in the central nave. They are made without backrests from pine tree trunks and were designated for married women, who could not lean back on account of their attire.
You can see the beautiful interior of the Chapel Tower. There is well preserved original 15th-century chapel painting. The painting presents a cohesive didactic image toward eternal salvation, which opens the door to immortality to those who have died. The original chapel building was integrated into the 13th-century oval wall that had already surrounded the Romanesque church. In the 15th-century the chapel was expanded into a fortified tower.
The fortified Church in Hărman, is a jewel among the Saxon fortified churches. Walls were repeatedly repaired and survived over centuries until the present day. The fortified complex still close to its original state. Visitors have access to some of the interior living spaces within the fortifications, as well as the walkway around the wall.
You might also like other articles about beautiful places in Romania (click to see)
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