Worth a Trip: Saxon History in Mălâncrav

Many Transylvanian villages boasting fortified Saxon churches have emptied of their original inhabitants. But little Mălâncrav, 13km south of the Mediaş–Sighişoara highway, has the highest proportion of Saxon people of any village in the region.

Villagers still greet each other with Grüß Gott (in German, ‘God greet you’) and most buildings are faithfully maintained in Saxon style. The fortified church houses vast frescoes that are among the finest in Transylvania (some dating from 1375 to 1405), plus a well-preserved altarpiece dating to 1520.

For full immersion in Saxon flavour, book a stay at 15th-century Apafi Manor House, painstakingly restored to its 18th-century layout. It’s now a heritage guesthouse with a princely air: rooms are decorated in a palette of bright white and pastel blue, and as you slide into baroque-style chairs and snooze in shuttered bedrooms, it’s all too easy to dream of the splendour of centuries past.