Where to see Saxon architecture in Romania

The Saxon legacy is one of the most impressive and important assets of Romanian tourism. There are almost 250 fortresses and churches built by the Saxons in Romaniaat the beginning of the 15th century up to the 18th century. The Saxons came from the West part of the Rhine and began to populate the areas of Transilvania during the 12th century. The majority of the Saxons were peasants: wood or stone carvers, carpenters, farmers. They were organized, hard-workers and disciplined. The main cities built by the Saxons were the seven fortresses that inspired the German name of Transilvania, ‘Siebenbürgen’: Bistri?a (Bistritz), Bra?ov (Kronstadt), Cluj (Klausenburg), Media? (Mediasch), Or??tie (Broos), Sibiu (Hermannstadt) ?i Sighi?oara (Schburg). Obviously, these are the places where to see Saxon architecture in Romania, so I’m going to tell you something about these cities.

Bistri?a (Bistritz)

In 1465, the medieval city ofBistritahad 18 towers and bastions. During this period, Bistrita became one of the most important cities of Transilvania along withBrasov, Sighisoara andSibiu. The fortress was defended by the city craftsmen organized in guilds, each with a defense tower. Nowadays, there is only one tower left – theCoopersTower, with three levels and 35 m high. Also, there is theEvangelicalChurch, which was built in the 15th century in Gothic style, with a 75 m high tower.

Bra?ov(Kronstadt)

This is one of the medieval towns best preserved. The settlement founded by the Teutonic Knights in 1211 was the meeting place of the rich and powerful men, the guild of goldsmiths, weavers, drapers who turned the city into a powerful craft centre. The fortresses ofBrasov, located at the foothills of mountainTampa, was erected at the orders of Sigismund of Luxemburg in 1395, to defend the inhabitants of the Turkish invasions. At that time, the city had impressive bastions and towers that remained intact along with large portions of the old city walls.

Cluj (Klausenburg)

In the thirteenth century, the first defensive walls of the city ofClujwere built being equipped with observation towers. The castle was on the right bank of the river Somes extended on 7 hectares. Two centuries later, with the support of craftsmen, other stone walls, with gateways and towers designed to protect the old fort were also erected. The fortification fragments, which have been preserved in their original form, are the Firefighters’ Tower and The Taylors’ Bastion.

Sibiu(Hermannstadt)

Sibiuwas chosen to be the ‘European Cultural Capital’ in 2007 so there goes without saying that this is a really special city. In the 16th century Sibiu was the most important Saxon city of Transilvania. The town was organized in 19 guilds. Walking on the streets of the old center of Sibiu, anyone can form a picture of what the city looked like in the past since its walls and ramparts have been preserved almost intact to this day. Therefore, I can say that this is one of the best places where to see Saxon architecture in Romania.

Sighisoara (Schburg)

Sighisoara Citadel is one of the few inhabited medieval citadel in Europe and is the most important attraction for foreign tourists visiting Romania. Sighisoara citadel was built in the 12th century and rebuilt in 2 centuries later. Currently, there are nine towers very well preserved, each belonging to a gild. The Medieval Art Festival has become a very famous summer tradition. During the celebrations, those who run the city streets are dressed with clothes reminiscent of medieval times.

Medias and Orastie are also beautiful Saxon cities but they are not as developed as the ones presented above. All in all, these towns have a charm of their own that is sure to impress everyone.

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