Must-See Fortified Saxon Churches near Sighisoara

Fortified Saxon Churches Near Sighisoara Romania

The UNESCO-protected old town of Sighisoara attracts many visitors due to its well-preserved walls dating back to medieval times. After you’ve taken a small trip back in time, strolled around the narrow, colorful streets and admired the best view of Sighisoara, spend a few days in the Transylvanian countryside to get a taste of the olden days by visiting some exceptional fortified churches.

I’ve enlisted 5 must-see medieval fortified Saxon churches near Sighisoara, along and by the E60 main road heading towards Brasov. Check them out:

 SASCHIZ

Located by the main road 20 kilometers away from Sighisoara is the stunning Evangelical church and its impressive clock tower, built in the 15th century.

Saschiz Fortress, Transylvania, Romania

The building has been on the UNESCO World Heritage Sights list since 1999. Unfortunately the church was closed by the time we got there, so after taking a few photos of its facade, we decided to visit the fortress instead.

Saschiz Fortified Saxon Church, Transylvania, Romania

Saschiz Fortified Saxon Church

Overlooking the town on a hill above Saschiz, the fortress was constructed in the 14th century. It can be found at 2 kilometer’s distance from the church – you can do more than half of it on a dirt road by car.

Saschiz Fortress, Transylvania, Romania

Saschiz Fortress

After you’ve stopped your car you’ll need to climb a fairly steep hill to get to the ruins of the fortress, but its doable by practically anyone. Once inside, bear in mind that this is a 600 year-old construction, which isn’t all that stable, so make sure you don’t touch or try to move anything.

Saschiz Fortress, Transylvania, Romania

Saschiz Fortress, Transylvania, Romania

Saschiz Fortress, Transylvania, Romania

Before you start descending from the fortress, take a look at the view it offers of the town, the church and the rolling hills which surround it:

View from Saschiz Fortress, Transylvania, Romania

View from Saschiz Fortress, Transylvania, Romania

 CRIȚ

After travelling 12 kilometers South on the main road you’ll enter the village of Criț.

Crit Fortified Church, Transylvania, Romania

If you want to get to the church you’ll need to make a turn to the right at the signpost which signals the direction. The church is fairly easy to find, but if you happen to get lost, don’t hesitate to ask the locals – they’ll happily sort you out.

Entrance to Crit Fortified Saxon Church

Thanks to the small, but strong local Saxon community, the church of Criț has been totally rebuilt between 1810 and 1813. The walls have also been strengthened every now and then, so the fortification which you will see here is actually in impeccable shape.

Crit Fortified Saxon Church, Transylvania, Romania

When you’re done discovering the church and the fortress from inside, take a moment to admire the wonderful, colorful homes which surround the area – you won’t be disappointed!

Saxon Village of Crit, Transylvania, Romania

MEȘENDORF

Before returning to the main road, a detour to the lovely village of Meșendorf is definitely a must!

Mesendorf Fortified Church, Transylvania, Romania

The small secondary road leading to Meșendorf isn’t exactly of excellent quality – you’ll encounter both potholes and sections of dirt road during the 6 kilometer drive. It’s definitely worth driving around this area – because of the wonderfull hills, beautiful homes and the simple, friendly locals.

Mesendorf Saxon Fortified Church, Transylvania, Romania

The old church was built in the 15th century and was reconstructed in a gothic style later. Once you get inside, you won’t be able to shake the feeling that this is a congregation which cares deeply of its church. You will also have the opportunity to look around in the courtyard during your visit. Just remember that every fortress had a designated tower where the whole village kept its meat (everything from sausages to bacon). There was only one key for it and was opened every Sunday so that each person can get just enough for a week for himself and his family.

Mesendorf Medieval Fortified Saxon Church, Transylvania, Romania

BUNEȘTI

The freshly-renovated fortified church of Bunești can be found right by the main road, at the turn-off towards the infamous Viscri village.

Bunesti Fortified Church, Transylvania, Romania

Since we were in a rush to see Viscri, we didn’t stop at Bunesti (hopefully next time). As you can easily see, the church itself went through a bit of renovations not long ago, strengthening its durability through time.

Bunesti Fortified Church, Transylvania, Romania

VISCRI

Out of all the fortifications on this list, Viscri is probably the most famous one. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1999.

Viscri Fortified Church, Transylvania, Romania

First and foremost I must say that the road conditions after you’ve turned right from Bunești are less than ideal, giving you a chance to perfect your pothole-avoiding skills. I read that there’s an alternative road from Rupea, which is even more awful, so the 104L road is definitely the one to choose.

Road towards Viscri from Bunesti

Road towards Viscri from Bunesti

Situated 42 kilometers away from Sighisoara, the village of Viscri is a true spectacle in itself. With even, red-tiled roofs and colorful facades boasting impressive details, don’t hesitate to walk around in the village for a while, before delving in the mighty history of the fortified church.

Viscri Village, Transylvania, Romania

houses in Viscri village, Transylvania, Romania

Roofs of Viscri village, Transylvania, Romania

I was more than saddened by the fact that we travelled so far and ended up not going inside. We went to three different houses in search of the key opening the church, but nobody could help us (lesson learned, don’t go on a Sunday afternoon!). We did however sneak into the cemetery at the back of the fortification and managed to snap a quite different view of the church and the walls. Note to self: I need to go back!

Viscri Medieval Saxon Fortified Church, Romania

Viscri Medieval Saxon Fortified Church, Romania

Practical Info:

  • The best way to see these churches is by car. Public transport is scarce and itineraries are hard to find, so you can save a lot of time by hiring a car.
  • As you can see, the roads aren’t always perfect – make sure you do a bit of research when choosing your path.
  • You can get the keys and a guided tour from a local (generally a neighbor or the priest himself). The information about where you can find them is always written at the entrance.
  • After the designated person opens the gates, he/she will likely show you around. Be respectful during the private tour and don’t hesitate to ask questions, they are always happy to go into details.
  • At the end of your visit, tips are always welcome. They generally go either to the church or a poor family, so be generous.

In conclusion, these 5 stunning fortified Saxon churches near Sighisoara can be leisurely visited throughout a long weekend. Don’t hesitate to stay in one of the villages – if you can get a good translator, you might get a taste of the deepest secrets and the most exciting stories of the locals.

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Fortified Saxon Churches Near Sighisoara Romania

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  • Travels of 2016 :

    […] I guess the 7th officially marks the day of family outings, because we managed to escape the city for a day with my parents this time. We enjoyed eachother’s company while exploring the Must-see fortified Saxon churches near Sighisoara. […]

    5 months ago

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