Fortified Church


Biertan’s late-Gothic church, ringed by concentric walls and flanked by towers, is among the largest and most impressive in Transylvania. The triple-naved church was built between 1493 and 1522, housing superbly preserved Renaissance artwork, an intricately carved pulpit and mosaicked door. The church and its majestic fortifications won a Unesco listing, along with the medieval core of Biertan village.

Near the altar in the church is the sacristy that once held treasure behind its formidable door with an even more formidable lock: it has 19 locks activated by a single key, a marvel of engineering that made waves at the Paris World Expo in 1900.

Inside the grounds are many buildings of interest, including a small bastion, which is famous in local lore: couples wanting a divorce were supposedly locked in here for two weeks as a last attempt to resolve differences. There was only one bed, one table and one set of cutlery. The method has been so successful that stories claim that only one couple decided to go through with divorce in more than 300 years.

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