Fortified Churches in Transylvania

The phenomenon of fortified churches in Southern Transylvania is unique within the context of European architecture due to the large number of structures and diverse architectural solutions implemented during their construction. It is estimated that about 300 fortresses existed.

Protection against invasions of migratory people was the main reason behind the construction of such a large number of fortified churches.

Initially, protection measures were primitive and included mainly deep ditches, filled or not filled with water, and earthen and wooden fences.

Between the 14th and 16th centuries, the Saxon communities of Southern Transylvania built small, but strongly fortified, citadels around their churches as the church was generally the most durable and strategically positioned building in the area.

In addition to the bell tower, various craftsmen constructed other towers and were tasked with the duty to protect it during the times of need and danger. Guard towers, including shooting crenels were also constructed within overall fortifications.

These Transylvanian villages with their fortified churches provide a vivid picture of the cultural landscape of southern Transylvania. Among them, seven villages (Biertan , Viscri, Valea Viilor , Prejmer , Darjiu, Saschiz, Calnic) were inscribed on UNESCO World Heritage List.