The long weekend for May Day – or International Workers Day – invited us on the road again. We visited places in our beautiful country that we have never visited before: the Fortified churches of Harman and Prejmer, very close to Brasov city, enlisted as UNESCO World Heritage sites.
The Fortified Church of Prejmer
Prejmer is a small but picturesque municipality where the Saxones'(“sași”) cultural legacy is encountered at every step.
When arriving at the Church, we were really surprised because 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, dating back to the early 13 century. It was 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 thick walls of the fortification.
Walking through the entrance corridor feels like taking a journey back in time into another era: stone paved walkways, a heavy iron gate that closed with a strong noise when danger was near.
But where did all the people live for all that time, taking shelter from the terrible wars? The round wall that is over 5 meters thick had not only a defense purpose, but from the inside courtyard you have access to built-in living rooms, displayed on 4 floors, where entire families made a living for months or even years.
Only few of the rooms are opened today but they display beautiful popular belongings gathered from the people in the Prejmer village: small classroom, tiny living rooms, 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 to its inside, some mural paintings from the 13th century.
The Fortified Church of Hărman
Only 10 km away from Prejmer, on the road back to Brașov, you must also stop to Hărman village and visit its Fortified Church. Although smaller in size than the first one, it was built in the 13th century also and you’ll find this place just as interesting. A distinctive note here comes from the many defense towers.
Practical Info: opened daily to visits, there is a free parking place outside and the ticket is still 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 here and he is always available for any question you have.
Here the walls are not too high, disposed on two floors only but more rooms than at Prejmer were transformed in museums of the popular Transylvanian culture.
The church in the middle is beautiful, with paintings dating way back to 13th century, old wooden benches and colorful pillows. I personally liked it more 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 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, hand carved and hand painted and I’m still looking for the best spot to display it inside the house :).
Visited 29 May 2017