Website on Transylvanian fortified churches now available in Romanian
The Romanian version of the Transylvanian fortified churches website has been recently launched, the German Embassy in Bucharest informed on Facebook. Biserici-fortificate.org has been initially available only in German.
“We wish you a good time in discovering wonderful places!”, reads the embassy’s post.
Transylvania is renowned for those over 160 fortified churches, whose history begins in the medieval age. To defend themselves against the numerous wars of that time, the locals in Transylvania started to fortify their churches by erecting defence walls around them. In case of attack, the walls would offer villagers shelter and protection. During ages, the fortifications have been strengthened and extended. Many of them were preserved until nowadays, while unfolding a unique landscape, particularly through the monuments’ density and variety. The fortified churches thus became a benchmark for the villages and the region in general, while also being listed on the UNESCO World Heritage.
The churches have been built, used and preserved mostly by the German colonists in the neighborhood, the Transylvanian Saxons. After over 800 years, most of the Transylvanian Saxon community left the region and the fortified churches remained in the administration of the Evangelic Church in Romania.
Due to Transylvanian Saxons’ immigration, the number of the parishioners saw a drastic fall, so many of these churches are not used anymore to host religious services.
During the recent visit of the German president Joachim Gauck in Romania, he and the Romanian counterpart Klaus Iohannis took over the joint patronage of the Fortified Churches Foundation, which is financed mostly by donations, subsidies and foreign funds. The foundation’s website provides thorough information about the fortified churches in Transylvania.