Saschiz Fortified Church: 500 Years of History in Transylvania
Part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Romania, the fortified church of Saschiz is one of the highlights of Transylvania’s Saxon heritage. It’s also one of the best examples of medieval defensive architecture adapted to a religious monument, a common practice in the devastating times of Ottoman attacks and regional conflicts between the Hungarian Kingdom and the Habsburg Empire.
It all starts half a millennium ago
Located very close to Sighisoara, a town it once competed with, Saschiz was first mentioned in 1309. It was one of the villages founded by German colonists in the area of Tarnavelor plateau, previously inhabited by the Szekelys population. The main historical attraction of the village, the fortified church dedicated to Saint Stephen, dates from the 15th century. It was built between 1493 and 1525, possibly on the ruins of an older church as two Romanesque capitals found here indicate.
Planned and executed from the very beginning as a defensive outpost, Saschiz Fortified Church is a complex example of the troubled geopolitical conflicts from the medieval centuries in this part of Europe. Under constant Ottoman threat, the borders of Transylvania were often attacked, forcing the locals to hide in the village churches that throughout the centuries became real fortresses prepared to withstand long sieges.
The Late-Gothic fortified church from Saschiz is one of the strongest constructions of this type from Transylvania. It has 22 buttresses, a wall walk and an extra floor built above the nave and the choir, with rows of machicolations and loopholes. The military architecture is balanced inside by a beautiful Baroque altar from 1735 and the Baroque pulpit from 1709 and outside by the shiny bell tower that resembles the one from Sighisoara.
Beyond Saschiz Fortified Church
This magnificent church is only one of the attractions of Saschiz, a small village with an old history just waiting to be uncovered. Rent a bicycle or put on your hiking boots for a walk around the surrounding hills. Explore local traditions like beekeeping, learn how to bake bread, enjoy a horse cart ride, taste cheese directly from the sheepfold and enjoy the panoramic view of the village from the ruins of the 14th-century fortress uphill.
You can buy pottery, local jams and crafts from the small souvenir shop next to the church.
Book a night at Casa de pe Deal for the true local experience.
If you’re only passing by and don’t have a lot of time to try local food, stop at Pivnita Bunicii shop for a quick tasting of local products.