Calnic Fortified Church is one of the seven fortified churches from Transylvania included on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Farther away than Sighisoara and Brasov, around which most of the fortified churches were built, this small landmark is only a short drive from Sibiu and Alba Iulia.
Built as a private residence sometime in the 13th century by the nobleman Chyl of Kelling, the monument from Calnic was initially a small castle with a 14 meters high keep, surrounded by seven meters enclosing walls with a wall-walk and a gate tower. In the good tradition of the time, a moat circled the entire construction to make enemy access even more difficult.
The site from Calnic remained the private property of the family until 1430 when it was sold to the villagers. They turned it into a proper fortification that could save their lives during the numerous raids of the Ottoman armies. The preferred solution was the fortified church, a distinctive defensive architectural model widely used by the German colonists who settled in the region since the 12th century.
The villagers heightened the existent fortified walls and added storage rooms on their inner part on three levels. A small chapel was built in the interior court. Locals continued strengthening the site, and, in the 16th century, a second fortification wall replaced the moat, while the keep tower also known as Siegfried Tower was heightened with two levels.
Today, this impressive tower is a museum for ethnographic and medieval art collections with valuable pieces of furniture, ceramics, traditional clothes, religious objects, carpets, and wooden sculptures. For the best panoramic view of the monument and of the village, don’t hesitate to climb the stairs of the Gate Tower, also known as the Bell Tower after its four church bells.
Calnic Fortified Church
Calnic Fortified Church survived not only the Ottoman sieges, the most dreaded menace of the medieval centuries, but also the passing of time, and is today one of the loveliest fortified churches in Transylvania.
Visit the nearby citadel of Alba Iulia, one of the main historical attractions in Romania.
Take a one day trip to Sibiu, one of the most visited cities in Transylvania, and Sebes, another medieval town with centuries-old monuments.
You can visit the fortified church every day, from 10 am to 5 pm in winter and from 9 am to 7 pm in summer.