Carta – Sibiu, the only Cistercian Abbey in Romania
Carta Monastery is one of many fortified churches in Transylvania and one of the oldest religious settlements in Romania. It dates back from 1202, the time of the Cistercian monks who founded several monasteries in Romania. The church is located in Carta village, between Sibiu and Brasov.
It is one of the oldest Cistercian monasteries in Europe, representative for the early Gothic style. Not far from Carta, on Olt River‘s left bank, the monks built a wooden church which was later turned into a real Gothic construction. Stone masons were especially brought from France for the imposing church. The Church was cross-shaped built and it was one of the most important and majestic fortified churches in Transylvania. The territory on which the church was built was a gift to the Voivode Benedict of Transylvania from King Andrew II of Hungary. The first official documentation of Carta church dates back since 1223. Cistercian monks brought to Carta noble vine varieties all the way from Burgundy. Some say that, due to the food restrictions, wine was the only thing that strengthened them.
Carta Cistercian Monastery has played an important role over time in Transylvania’s history, from politically, economically, and also culturally point of view.
Over the years, the church has undergone numerous Turkish and Tatars attacks, in 1241 being almost completely destroyed, but it has always ended being restored. In 1474, King Matthias Corvinus dissolved the Church due to the numerous complaints he received from Carta’s villagers, oppressed by the increasingly taxes imposed by Raymund Barenfus, the Church Abbot in that period. Although it was abolished, the Fortified Church of Carta has continued its religious activity until present (the Evangelical community of Carta goes to church there). Despite its decay, the monument has kept its imposing architecture: column heads, vault heads, windows and consoles and even the western portal dating back to the 15th century.
The number of visitors in Carta doubled in the first five months of 2014, compared with the same period of 2013, with approximately 8,600 visitors having been registered, according to Agerpres.
The monastery was revamped with EU funds in 2013 .