Prejmer Fortified Church

In the summer of 2012 we did a tour of Transylvania. In the second part of this tour we scheduled several visits at the fortified churches near Brașov. Today we’ll write about Prejmer fortified church.

We searched the map, searched the Internet and we discovered this architectural and cultural beauty. Only 20 km away from Brașov in the village of Prejmer, this fortified church is perfectly conserved which is pretty amazing since it dates from the 13th century (the year 1211). So it’s over 800 years old!

Photo source: wikipedia.org

In the image you can see above you have a model of this impressive fortification. The buildings coloured in red don’t exist today but the rest (over 95%) can still be seen if you visit it 🙂
 
The beginnings of the fortification date from the time of Sigismund of Luxembourg which initiated a construction plan which had the objectives of building several fortifications in order to defend the region. Because Prejmer was the first one to be attacked by the Turks when coming from Buzău pass Sigismund ordered the church in Prejmer to be surrounded with solid defence walls and outside a large ditch full of water to protect it. The fortification is shaped like a circle and has 4 meters thick and 12 meters high walls. It also has bastions, iron gates and retractable bridges. 

Prejmer Fortified Church
Prejmer Fortified Church – entrance bastion
Prejmer Fortified Church – iron gate

You enter through the main bastion which has a small courtyard. There you can see a tunnel which you must cross in order to get to the main fortress courtyard. The tunnel is equipped with a massive iron gate with spikes and you really must trust it in order to pass under it :))


The Evangelical Church

Once in the main courtyard you realise the size of this fortification. First of all you can see the the Evangelical Church which dates back to 1211 when construction was started by the Teutonic knights. It was built in Burgundian Gothic style and the marks of it can be seen in the interior where you can observe the characteristic ceiling supporting arches.

These are painted in an orange/brown colour contrasting with the all – white background of the ceiling and the walls. The lower stone arches, hundreds of years old, are impressive and the old organ, also several hundred years old, still works today. Below you can see some more pictures of the church’s exterior and interior:

The Evangelical Church
The Evangelical Church
The Evangelical Church – the organ
The Evangelical Church – the altar
The Evangelical Church – stone arches
The Evangelical Church – ceiling Burgundian Gothic arches
The Evangelical Church – wrought iron chandelier


The defence walls

The defence walls have been constructed around the church. They have double usefulness: defending the church and harbouring locals in case of enemy attacks. The locals had 272 rooms on 4 floors at their disposal. Each family in the village had their own room and they were also given numbers. You can still see the number plates on the doors today 🙂

They also had special rooms where they could store grains, where a school operated and children could continue their studies. It’s interesting that they could think of school while being under attack :))

fortress “apartments”
fortress “apartments”
fortress “apartments”
fortress “apartments” with number plates 🙂
fortress “apartments”

The defence walls have special wholes called fire holes which were used to position weapons and attack the enemy. There is one special fire hole, called the organ hole. This was a death machine since multiple weapons were placed in it and all fired at the same time causing huge damage in the enemy lines. The most interesting part for the tourist is the watch road which is 10 meters high and is basically a way on top of the apartments, inside the defence wall where tourists can walk. You can walk the entire 360 degrees of the fortress 🙂 It’s quite cool!

the watch road

Transylvania is home to over 100 Saxon fortified churches but only 7 of them are on the UNESCO World Heritage list: Prejmer, Biertan, Câlnic, Dariju, Saschiz, Valea Viilor and Viscri. We’ve already visited some of them and they are beautiful. We already wrote a post about Biertan Fortified Church. We are preparing other posts from these picturesque and beautiful fortified churches in Transylvania which mainly date from the 13th and 14th centuries. We found a nice video of Prejmer fortified church filmed with the help of a drone. Enjoy! 🙂


Prejmer – biserica fortificata from Ghid Video Turistic on Vimeo.

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