Brasov County and Southern Transylvania were the heartland of the Saxon communities
who were invited to colonise the area by the King of Hungary in 1143.
Although most of the Saxons have departed to Germany following the end of communism,
the landscape is still dotted with the Saxon villages and their churches. Their churches
were eventually fortified to protect the local population from the invading Turks
and Tatars and there are numerous fortified Saxon churches in the area.
One of the most spectacular fortified churches is Prejmer which is easy to access
by car from Brasov. Prejmer itself is a very unassuming place with hardly any restaurants
or hotels to speak about. However at the end of a muddy dirty potholed road there
is one the most spectacular fortified Saxon Churches in the Brasov area. The Prejmer
fortified church is now on the UNESCO World Heritage list and has quite rightly
received significant funds to preserve it.
The church was originally built in the form of a Greek cross in 1225 and from the
13th century was adapted to the Cistercian style.
The Saxon villages in the area came under frequent attack and after one Turkish invasion
of 1421 the church was surrounded by a five towered wall 12 metre high. The wall
had a room for every family in the village, which they would shelter in when the
village was under attack.
The Prejmer church has been beautifully maintained and offers a rich glimpse of how
the people lived all those centuries ago.
The Prejmer fortified Saxon Church also has a small museum on site.
Getting there: By train from Brasov take the Sfantu Gheorghe line. By car take the
E574 , turn right at Harman onto route 10.
Other Fortified Saxon Churches in the Brasov Area:
This fascinating church was built in 1293 with a strong citadel added in 1500. Visitors
can see a collection of carved grotesque heads and there is a chapel with Gothic
murals from 1460 with the Last Judgement as the theme.