Viscri – Prince Charles in the Transylvanian hills

 We finally got to write about the already famous Viscri village in Transylvania. As you may know, this village was made famous by Great Britain’s Prince Charles who bought a house here and who promotes maintaining Saxon traditions, houses and an authentic and sustainable way of life. He found all these here in Romania, Transylvania. 

Since we were in the area in our Transylvania tour in 2012 we decided to visit some of the fortified churches near the city of Brașov. Almost every village here has a fortified church which date from the 13th or 14th century. It’s a great wealth that we have, an astonishing heritage that unfortunately Romania does not promote. Well that’s what we’re here for: to make these amazing places known to the public and make you guys visit them! 🙂

streets in Viscri, Saxon houses
eco-friendly garbage bins

To get to Viscri you must drive a 13 km stretch of dirt road which take you from the main highway, E 60/ DN 13 which links Brașov to Sighișoara, right into this beautiful rural landscape that Viscri has to offer. This bit of road is pretty OK. You can go with any type of car. Slowly you cross the winding road and you get to admire the famous Transylvanian low-lands hills, valleys, meadows and wildflowers.

We left our car on of the village’s streets. We headed towards the fortified church since that was our main objective for that day. On our way to the hill where the fortified church is placed we got to admire the typical Saxon houses: with windows 3 meters from the ground with shutters and roofs with tiles shaped like fish scales. Something else we noticed was that many of the houses were painted in a vivid blue colour. We soon found out that this colour apparently makes flies go away :)) We have no idea if this colour has any effect but is very beautiful. Another interesting think we noticed is the eco-friendly garbage bins. They are in fact wicker baskets. Nice and smart touch! 🙂

Viscri Fortified Evangelical Church
Viscri Fortified Evangelical Church

Several minutes later we reached the fortified church in Viscri. Unfortunately it was locked. Greaaat!… We thought it was closed for good or something but we asked a local an he told us that the lady taking care of the fortification is on lunch break until 3 PM. At least there was some good news, we will visit it…after we waist an hours time in Viscri. It was fine and we got off to see some of the houses down the hill. We reached a house which advertised it was a coffee place. It was in the courtyard of a regular village house. We entered and they has a terrace where we stayed and drank some refreshing natural juice from plants gathered from the nearby hills. Really cool. A true traditional experience! 🙂

It’s a nice place, just the courtyard of an ordinary family living in Viscri which transforms their house for touristic purposes. Just before 3 PM we got going up the hill towards the fortified church and we waited for the caretaker to come and open the place. At exactly 3 PM an old lady came with a big iron key in her hand. She greeted all the tourists waiting to get in, we payed the entrance and we entered the beautiful courtyard. This old lady was very cool, very energetic and eager to tell the tourists all about this church and the surrounding fortification.

Viscri Fortified Evangelical Church
Viscri Fortified Evangelical Church – courtyard
Viscri Fortified Evangelical Church – inside the church

Let’s start with some details about Viscri Evangelical Fortified Church. This fortification part of the UNESCO World Heritage program since 1999. The church dates from the 13th century and it was fortified in the 15th century. It’s made out of 2 towers, 2 bastions, a watch road and the gate defence tower. Here, inside the fortification you can also visit a small museum with traditional tools and clothing.

The church inside the fortification is pretty small scaled, just enough for the small village’s needs. The organ is very beautiful and on the main corridor leading to the altar there are several wooden benches for the parishioners to sit on. If you go to the back of the church there is a tower in which you can climb right to the top. From here you can see a great panorama over the surroundings. Being up here, you can understand that it’s not some spectacular scenery that made Prince Charles fall in love with Transylvania, but the simplicity, the authenticity, the wildflowers smell, the hills, the meadows, the forests. All these are not much. You can’t really sell them in any National Geographic super-touristic destination, but we guarantee that once you experience it you’ll want to stay here longer than you planned 😀

Viscri Fortified Evangelical Church – Transylvanian landscapes
Viscri Fortified Evangelical Church – Transylvanian landscapes
Viscri Fortified Evangelical Church – Transylvanian landscapes
Viscri Fortified Evangelical Church – Transylvanian landscapes
Viscri Fortified Evangelical Church

After we visited the beautiful fortified church and admired the magical surrounding from the top of the tower, we returned to our car and then stopped at the house that Prince Charles bought here. We couldn’t miss it of course. It’s just another vividly blue – coloured Saxon house from Viscri. Nothing special. Simple, old, well conserved. You can get accommodation here just like in many of the houses in Viscri that have been transformed by locals in guest houses. Basically you’ll be living together with the locals exactly the same as they live day by day, no shows for tourists. All is authentic 🙂

houses in Viscri
house of Prince Charles
house of Prince Charles
houses in Viscri

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