THE LURE OF THE TRANSYLVANIAN BOROUGHS
Located inside the arch of the Carpathian Mountains, Transylvania is renowned worldwide for the bloody deeds of Vlad Ţepes, from which the legend of Dracula emerged. Its history begins in the 1st millennium (B.C.) with its grandiose Dacian colonies, with traces still visible today in Sarmisegetuza, Alba Iulia, Cluj Napoca, Turda, Moigrad-Pololissum in Sălaj or Călan or in Hunedoara.
But the greatness of Transylvanian history does not stop here. Over time, the “Land beyond the Forest” – Transylvania – in Medieval Latin, attracts plenty of peoples, exiles and royal secrets, each of these leaving its mark on Transylvania. There were fierce battles in these lands across many centuries, slaughtering barbarians and pacifist rulers, voivodes and traitors all in the same place.
With fertile lands and endless forests, with glorious and protective summits, with a rich material and spiritual heritage, it is easy to understand why these fairy-tale-like Transylvanian lands have witnessed so many migrating people and secular conflicts.
VESTING IN ETERNITY
Around the 12th century, with the occupation of the Transylvanian territory, the Hungarian Empire begins a process of colonization. For military and economic reasons, being constantly under the threat of the speedy strikes of the Mongolians or the Turks, colonists are dispatched here to colonize the deserted forest areas and to defend the borders. The Saxons, a Germanic people, are one of the most notable colonists brought from various regions allied with the Empire. With the Saxons, but generally due to the diversity of the people who came and settled or only transited this region in the medieval era for 4 centuries, Transylvania knows an influence that will keep forever.
The Fortresses And Fortified Churches Of Transylvania
The Lasting Heritage
In the period between the 12th and 16th centuries, although Transylvania is still the scene of many bellicose confrontation sand in spite of the political and military context in which the population is forced to survive, this region experiences a cultural, religious and architectural evolution. Thus, by building and rebuilding fortresses and fortified churches shaped on the Saxon model used more than a millennium ago by King Alfred the Great against the Vikings, the Saxons defend their lives and the lands of Transylvania, without knowing what inheritance they would leave to the world. These fortresses were actually castles, churches or even cities surrounded by walls of defence against external attacks.
Known as the Fortified Churches of Transylvania, more than 300 similar fortresses still survive in the Carpathian bosom of Transylvania. Seven of the villages where these fortresses are situated are part of the Unesco world heritage. (www.whc.unesco.org)
Siebenburgen And Its Urban Treasures
Enjoying a high level of autonomy in exchange of the duty to defend the Transylvanian region, the Saxons organized and created 7 seats or administrative units, what would become the seat of Siebenburgen. In literal translation, Siebenburgen means The 7 cities, but historians are still debating on the meaning of this word, many considering it to be the German translation of the name Transylvania. However, generically, Siebenburgen is represented by 7 Saxon cities, the 7 historical urban treasures: Sebeş (according to some sources, Orăştie), Sibiu, Mediaş, Sighişoara, Braşov, Bistriţa and Cluj-Napoca.
What Is The Present Lure Of This Circle Of Transylvanian Boroughs?
From the invitation of getting acquainted with the history of the places, of the museums with archaeological, ethnographic collections, heritage pieces from the life of the community, to churches with bells cast on the same spot for centuries, fortresses or castles with centuries-old mural paintings, furniture, altars and fascinating unmodified church organs.