Short history

The Transylvanian-Saxon fortified churches are important elements of the cultural landscape and history of Transylvania. There are around 150 fortified churches and fortified churches in Transylvania.

Viscri (ger. Deutschweißkirch) is one of the seven villages with a fortified church that has been declared an UNESCO World Heritage Site. The village is located near Rupea (ger. Reps) and can be reached via Dacia (ger. Stein) on a 7 km long road. The fortified church rises from the highest point of the village.

Archaeological surveys conducted in the early 1970s revealed that the present church includes parts of a church that was probably built by a Szekler community prior to the Saxon settlement in the early 12th century. This was a small hall church with a semi-circular apse. In the 13th century, a keep was built in the western part of the church, the chancel was enlarged to the east and the interior was extended up to the tower soon afterwards. During a third construction phase at the end of the 15th century, it can be seen that the church became a fortified church as it is today: the chancel and the west tower had been provided with a defensive walkway. The central wing was raised in the 16th and 17th centuries. As the inscriptions reflect, the defence towers were still being built during the 17th century.

Although this fortified church is neither large (it is one of the small, fortified churches) nor impressive in terms of its special works of art in the building and furnishings, the essence of fortified churches is perhaps the most visible here, due to the fact that all the essential elements can be found in a relatively small area. The austere living conditions and the remoteness of this community have left their mark on this impressive building that gives one the impression that time stood still.

Sources: Hermann and Alida Fabini “Fortified churches in Transylvania” – 1986 Publisher

Further information and historical data are to be received while visiting the fortified church