In the Sântămăria-Orlea village there is a very old and valuable medieval church. The church was built in between 1270 and 1280 in late Romanesque style and it was built to serve a community of Catholic settlers near the Haţeg area.
The Sântămăria-Orlea Church was built by the Romanian Cândea noble family, one of the oldest and the most powerful families in the region. Later the Cândea family, under the influence of the Hungarian Kingdom, changed their religion from Orthodox to Catholic and also they changed their name to Kendeffy.
After serving at first the Catholic community in Haţeg, the church belonged to the Orthodox Christians until 1555, when it moved to the Protestant church.
Nowadays because there are only a few Catholic families in the village and they don’t have a place of worship, they use the old church. The brochure of the monument says that “currently, the church is a place of prayer not only of Reformed worship, but also the faithful Calvinists, Catholics, Greek Catholics, Orthodox and neo-protestant“.
Close by is the once rich and beautiful Kendeffy Castle. Unfortunately the situation of the castle is uncertain and while some people are fighting for the rights to use the castle, it stays locked for tourists and turning into a ruin day by day!
Another interesting place to visit is the Mălăieşti Fortress, at about 13 km from Sântămăria-Orlea.