The door of the fortified church in Biertan holds a world record

The sacristy door of the 500-year-old fortified church of Biertan, which was presented at the 1900 World Exhibition in Paris, holds the record for “the world’s most complicated lock”.

Built in 1515, the sacristy door of the fortified church in Biertan gained international fame after, in 1900, it was taken off its hinges and taken to Paris, at the World Exhibition. On this occasion, she received an award for the beautiful and complex lock she was endowed with, composed of a 19-point closing mechanism.

The World Exhibition in Paris, held between April 14 and November 12, 1900, on an area of 216 hectares, had over 51 million visitors, a considerable figure considering the fact that the population of France at the time was just over 40 millions of citizens.

Among the novelties of the time presented in Paris were the escalator, the talking film, the diesel engine and the inauguration of the first line of the Paris metro. The most complicated lock in the world” The World Record Academy established in 2022 that the sacristy door in Biertan has “the most complicated lock in the world”.

Biertan fortified church

The sacristy is a room where the priest prepares to officiate the service. Here, the priest keeps his clothes, but also the most valuable objects of worship of the church.

In Biertan, the villagers also used the sacristy to keep their money safe when they were threatened by war, which is why they thought this room needed a solid door with a strong lock.

The door was made of thick oak boards by the craftsman Johannes Reichmuth from Sighisoara, in 1515, with a metal lock mounted on it that was operated by means of a crank and a key. Practically, the door has 19 metal latches arranged around it, all being connected to each other.

The system was described by those from the World Record Academy as “a gem of medieval technology”, a conclusion that no doubt reaches anyone who visits the fortified church in Biertan, where the largest painted altar in Transylvania is also located, built in 1483. The fortified church of Biertan has been objectively included in the UNESCO heritage since 1993.

You can read more insights about Biertan here.

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