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CASTLES AROUND SIGHISOARA

Fairytale places dotted about the valleys and hills, the Saxon villages in Transylvania are soothing for your eyes and soul. Dwelling places rich in history and tradition they preserve the charm of the rural universe and a simple and cozy lifestyle, only slightly touched by modernity. The picturesque sceneries, the beautiful houses, the high wooden gates, the fortresses and castles call you to discover the wonderful lands from among the Carpathians. The old monuments carry you to the fascinating medieval epoch, revealing a mysterious and attractive world.

Transylvania

 

Saschiz

The Bethlen Castle in CriÅŸ

With a history of over 600 years, Bethlen Castle in CriÅŸ is one of the most representative architectural jewels of the Transylvanian renaissance. The nobiliary residence built at the beginning of the 14th century was fortified and consolidated with high bastions and an entrance tower. The five floor donjon, the oldest part of the building, also fulfilled the observation function. In the interior, the palace was decorated in good taste, becoming famous all over Europe. The doors and windows had sculpted frameworks, the rooms were ornamented with crests, paintings and tapestry, and the furniture impressed with its art and the precision of its carving. The family crest, a golden crown under which there was a snake holding an apple, is still present on the walls. The legend says that once, on the moors around the castle there was a snake which ate people. The noble Bethlen saved the locals by throwing an apple to the beast with which it choked and it died.

The domain consisted of a vast English park with a lake and exotic trees and a flower garden on the alleys of which knights and maidens went on relaxing walks. The heirs of the Bethlen family lived here until 1948, when the building was nationalized; they actually reigned over the entire village. Then the palace headed for a gradual degradation, the important objects were confiscated and the ones less valuable were burnt in the yard. The recent restoration works have managed to give back the glow of the castle which made it famous. Soon, the edifice and fortress in CriÅŸ will know a new period of glory.

Bethlen Castle Cris

 

Bethlen Castle Cris

 

Bethlen Castle Cris

The Peasant Fortress in Saschiz

Situated 20 kilometers away from SighiÅŸoara, Saschiz commune preserves one of the testimonies of the middle ages. The peasant fortress on top of the hill has been dominating the surrounding ever since 1347, when it was built to protect the locals of this area against dangers. The edifice had high and solid walls along with six towers:  two of them - gate towers and four corner towers connected through a footbridge. Each of them had a precise role and answered the needs of the fortress, as their names go: The School Tower, The Ammunition Tower, The Voivode Tower, The Priest Tower, The Gate Tower and The Watch Tower.

Inside the fortification, there were various constructions destined for living and for working, a chapel, two ponds and a 65 meter deep well. It is said that the well hides an underground gallery leading to the church village. What remains of the old fortress of Romanic and gothic influence is three defense towers, the shooting holes supported by wooden beams and the ruins of the walls determined to remain standing. From this height, the panorama opens generously over the surrounding woods, a well deserved reward after the toilsome climb.

You should know that they make a delicious rhubarb jam at Saschiz, renowned even abroad. If you find lodging in the houses of the Saxons you will have the opportunity to taste the steamy bread taken right out of the oven and the fir tree or mint honey, rarities among local products. Don’t hesitate to take part in the household activities and enjoy a holiday of inviting flavors.

Saschiz

 

Saschiz

Each Saxon dwelling place is unique in the Transylvanian rural landscape and deserves to be discovered for its specificity and picturesque atmosphere. The architectural monuments amplify the history of these places and keep the memory of the noble families and of the medieval period alive.

[An article written by Andreea Bertea]