UNESCO: Valea Viilor Medieval Fortified Church

During our trip to Sibiu last December we didn’t only see the city, but managed to squeeze in a few short stops, to see the Old Town part of Medias, and other “hidden gems” of the area. Our stop in Valea Viilor was pretty spontaneous, when we decided to get off the main road when we saw the UNESCO signpost:

Valea Viilor UNESCO Site, Romania

Valea Viilor UNESCO Site, Romania

The road to the small village was pretty bumpy, but okay. The whole area was like a ghost town, only a few old ladies were talking on the side of the road. As we passed the signpost indicating we arrived in the village we immediately got to see the majestic church standing above all.

Valea Viilor Fortified Medieval Church

Valea Viilor Fortified Medieval Church

At first glance I thought the church was extremely beautiful and in pretty good shape. Getting closer, I couldn’t help but notice the unsteady tower, looking like it was about to fall right on us. We wanted to go in, but arrived too late (it was almost nightfall), so we decided not to bother the priest and his family on a Sunday evening (a sign on the door said they had the key to the church).

Valea Viilor Medieval Fortified Church Tower

Valea Viilor Medieval Fortified Church Tower

The guidebooks and the official UNESCO site say that the church was constructed over a Romanesque-style church, which was built in the 13th century. The church was re-built and enlarged in a Gothic style, and fortified sometimes between the 15th-16th centuries, with 6-7 meters tall walls. The church was constructed by the Transylvanian Saxon community, and there are several other similar fortified churches in this ex-Saxon area of Romania (of which I will be talking about in the next post).

Valea Viilor Medieval Fortified Saxon Church

Valea Viilor Medieval Fortified Saxon Church

There was a sign on one side of the wall stating 709 years, which would mean that the church was built in 1306. This is only a guess, since different books and sources mention different years, so the exact year of the “birth” of the church is not known.

Valea Viilor Fortified Saxon Church from behind

Valea Viilor Fortified Saxon Church from behind

There are, however, very old inscriptions which were kept on one of the towers, mentioning I think the years of fortification (1501) and some names, which were probably those who contributed in some way to the construction of this beautiful edifice.

old inscription on Valea Viilor Fortified Saxon Church

old inscription on Valea Viilor Fortified Saxon Church

The Valea Viilor Fortified Saxon Church was included in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list in 1999, under the category “Villages with fortified churches in Transylvania”, along with six other churches (one of them being Calnic Fortress, already mentioned on the blog).

Valea Viilor, Romania

Valea Viilor, Romania

To tell you the truth, I was a bit disappointed by the state the church was in. And I see it as a perpetual problem here in Romania: we can’t seem to take care of our heritage. Which is a pity, since I often consider these places the tourist-magnets of our country…

Note: as you are reading this, we are on our way to Amsterdam for a week, so you should know that all posts are scheduled. If you want to follow our journey, you can do so on Facebook and Instagram where we will try to post live-feed photos. 

If you’re curious about exploring the surroundings, take a look at Medias Historical Center, Sibiu, the Forgotten Saxon Fortified Churches and Carta Monastery.

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UNESCO: Valea Viilor Medieval Fortified Church Romania

7 Responses to “UNESCO: Valea Viilor Medieval Fortified Church

  • Any UNESCO sites will perk up our interest 🙂 What fabulous photos! And will be sure to duck on over and connect with you on Facebook and Instagram.

    • Thank you for the kind words and the follow! 🙂
      I’ll be posting new articles about more recent trips, so stay tuned! (UNESCO-related also 🙂 )

  • We passed by this church last winter too, but it was too cold and rainy to stop for a few pictures 🙁 It’s depressing that we can’t seem to take care of our country…

Trackbacks & Pings

  • UNESCO: Biertan Fortified Church of Transylvania :

    […] also covered Calnic fortress quite a while ago, as well as the spectacular and highly underrated Valea Viilor medieval fortified church. Don’t hesitate to check them out if you’re a UNESCO buff like I […]

    7 months ago
  • Carta Monastery :

    […] Carta Monastery is a short drive away from Sibiu, the UNESCO-protected Valea Viilor medieval fortified church and some of the Forgotten Fortified Saxon Churches of Transylvania. Would you visit this […]

    5 months ago
  • Forgotten Saxon Fortified Churches :

    […] you want to explore some other place in this area, check out Sibiu, the UNESCO-protected Valea Viilor medieval fortified church and Carta Monastery as […]

    5 months ago

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