The small village of Harman is located in the central part of Romania, in Brasov county, about 10 km east from the city of Brasov. Harman’s principal attraction is its fortified church.
The powerful peasant fortress in Harman was built around a former basilica recorded for the first time in a royal document dating from around 1420.
This document granted several churches, along with their domains in Barsei County, to the Cistercian monks.
The Romanesque-style three-nave church, dedicated to St. Nicholas, has preserved the semi-circular apse and the original windows, with traces of mural paintings still visible on the outside.
Reflecting influences from the Cistercian architecture are the multifoil windows on the upper side of the middle nave’s walls and the square-shaped chancel framed by rectangular chapels.
The southern chapel, today a lapidarium, has preserved its barrel vault and Romanesque windows. The northern chapel was transformed into a sacristy and covered with a ribbed vault around 1500. On the inside of this chapel are figurative consoles and a piscina for liturgical vessels.
The side naves have preserved the ogival vaults and several figurative keystones. The vaults of the main nave and of the choir were destroyed by fire and rebuilt in 1595.
The belfry tower, located on the church’s western side was built in the 14th century. During the 15th century, the circular-shaped curtain wall surrounding the church was fortified with prismatic towers, and additional defensive structures including a moat and a zwinger to the southeast.
On the inside of the curtain wall, storage rooms are located on two levels around the wall’s perimeter. Particularly interesting are the storage rooms that were added above the basilica’s southern nave.
Located in the eastern tower’s ground floor is the 14th century funerary chapel which has preserved valuable mural paintings in Late Gothic style, dating from the late 15th century.
The frescoes are among Transylvania’s few completely preserved medieval mural paintings, illustrating three major iconographical themes: “The Last Judgement”, “The Crucifixion”, and “The Beatification of Saint Mary”.