Biertan is by far the most important symbol of the Saxon villages and of the fortified churches in the Sibiu County, having also been listed on the list of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1993.
The first mention of the village in a document was in the year 1283 and the church was built between 1468 and the XVI century. It was inhabited by the Transylvanian Saxons up until 1989, when, after the Communist regime fell, they decided to leave Romania back to their country of origin.
During the XIII – XV centuries, Biertan was an important market town, but started to lose its status when the cities nearby, Sibiu, Medias and Sighisoara got to grow faster thanks to their position in the country.
Biertan is now one of the most visited villages of Transylvania and it has all the reasons to be so. Excluding the fortified church that lies up on the hill in the center of the village, you will get the chance to see an extremely beautiful architecture in the houses of this small village.
The Fortified Church is one of the biggest and most imposing of its kind in Transylvania. It’s in a very good condition and can be visited from the 1st of April until the 1st of October, like all of the other fortified churches in the area.
With a late-gothic architecture, the church has heavy doors and double exterior wall. The altar inside the church is the largest Transylvanian multi-paneled wooden altar. The wooden door inside has a really ingenious locking mechanism with 15 bolts that can be simultaneously activated by a key.
The church’s organ features some 1,290 pipes, as well as 25 registers.
Around the church, the towers are still standing namely the Clock Tower, the Bell Tower, the Gate Tower and the Bacon Tower.
One interesting tower is the Counseling Tower. Here, couples who were on the point getting a divorce, where locked in for two weeks. They had to share one person bed, one glass, one fork, one plate until they were let out after the two weeks. It seems the method was very effective as, during 300 years, there was only one divorce in the village.
For a beautiful panorama over the village with its imposing church, try going up one of the hills on the outskirts of the village, you will be amazed by the beauty in front of your eyes.
We went to visit the Fortified Church of Biertan and the village itself during one weekend of visiting a part of the Saxon villages and it’s also where we spent the night in a lovely traditional guest house, called Oppidum Guest House. The guest house is located right next to the Fortified Church and it’s as old as the year 1800. We opted for breakfast and dinner and we had such a nice surprise to have them both cooked by a lady from the village. Everything tasted so good and it was nice to have a meal talking to the locals and hearing stories about the village.