The long weekend for May Day – or International Workers Day – brought us on the road again and took us to delightful sites in our country, that we have never visited before: the Fortified churches of Harman and Prejmer, very close to Brasov city, enlisted in the UNESCO World Heritage.
Getting there, the rapeseed flowers were in full bloom, on both sides of the highway, creating this amazing contrast with the green fields, and I could not help myself from taking many pictures of them.
The Fortified Church of Prejmer
The Prejmer village is a small and picturesque municipality where the Saxones(“sași”) cultural legacy is encountered at every step.
When arriving at the Church we were really surprised that there was nobody here and we feared it was closed for the weekend. Luckily it was open and for a while we had the whole place all for ourselves to discover.
Practical Info: The site is opened every day to visits, there is a free parking place outside and for a ticket of only 2.5 EUR(10 LEI) you are given a priceless history lesson.
The fortified church is the biggest of this kind in Romania and one of the best kept from Europe, a remarkable place dating back to the early 13 century built first by the Teutons and then reinforced by the Germanic Saxons. When the invaders, mostly ottomans, were breaking inside the village, the population was finding shelter inside the fortification, a round wall of over 5 meters thick displayed in circular form around the church.
You enter through the main corridor into another era, stepping on the stone paved road, passing under the heavy iron gate that closed when danger was near. Once inside, you walk along the round wall, where you see displayed on 4 floors the rooms where the inhabitants lived for weeks or even moths in times of war. Small narrow wooden doors with numbers were keeping the people safe at night.
Only few of the rooms are opened today and display beautiful popular belongings gathered from the people in the village: a small classroom where children continued to get a proper education, the room where they lived, a workshop where they were sewing carpets or a workshop where they made arrows and did repairs…
The defense wall is crossed on it’s whole length by a corridor, placed behind the rooms, where the soldiers were at post when the battle signal was heard, firing bullets or discharging arrows through the small windows and throwing burning pitch on the invaders.
The Lutheran church in Gothic style is raised in the middle, still having here and there some mural paintings inside from the 13th century.
The Fortified Church of Hărman
Only 10 km away, on the road back to Brașov, you must stop to Hărman village and visit the Fortified Church. Although smaller in size than the first one, it is just as beautiful. and the cultural legacy you find here is as rich as the one you find in Prejmer. The Saxones built and fortified the church with the thick round walls in 13th century, adding also many defense towers.
Practical Info: opened daily to visits, there is a free parking place outside and the ticket is only 2.5 EUR(10 LEI).
At the entrance, the person selling the tickets was really nice and explained to us a lot about the place. He lives there and he is always available for any question you have.
Here the walls are not too high, disposed on 2 floors only but more rooms than at Prejmer were transformed today in little museums of the popular Transylvanian culture.
How cool is this wedding certificate from early 20 century?
The church in the middle is beautiful, with paintings dating way back to 13 century, old wooden benches and colorful pillows. I personally liked it even better that the one in Prejmer. Also, you get to climb to the big tower where you have a round a’clock view of the village. The bell rings every 15 minutes, and as the nice place-keeper man told us: “It is up to you if you want to be up there, close to it, when is ringing”. We avoided the ring because we wanted to get back home with a good hearing still.
In one of the rooms, they have a souvenirs shop and I took this cool spoon (isn’t it the coolest ever?), hand carved and hand painted and I’m still looking for the best spot to display it inside the house.
29 May 2017