We Love Viscri
Viscri, for such a remote and small village, is one of the most famous tourist destinations of Romania. It’s being like this since Prince Charles of Wales had discovered this amazing location, a fairy tale from the forgotten medieval times. Today, almost there is no travel book, brochure or advertise which would not present the image of this frozen in time town.
The village of Viscri, Weiskirich in the Saxon dialect, is located in the south-eastern part of Transylvania, about 8km (5mi) from the town of Bunesti, the last one been located on E60, 35km (22mi) from the famous Sighisoara. Once you have passed by the town of Bunesti you’ll drive on a bad road flanked by the Transylvanian hills.
Nothing foretells the secluded beauty of Viscri. Before reaching the village you’ll be able to admire from the distance the famous fortified church built around 1100. Since 1993 the medieval structure is being part of the UNESCO world heritage.
The Germans were brought in Transylvania by the Hungarian kings who had wanted to secure the borders of their newly conquered territory, to enclose the local population and to develop the local economy. The Germans had received many privileges and agreed to emigrate to Transylvania. Initially they had built 7 cities but then they built many others. The German colonists who came to Viscri in the 12th century found a chapel which had been already built by the Szeklers (probably a Turkic tribe related to the Hungarians who later adopted the Hungarian language). The chapel was integrated in the new church built by the Germans which makes it one of the oldest structures of this kind in Transylvania.
The church was modified and extended many times. In the 16th century the Saxon community had the church fortified with outer walls. The donjon, built in the 13th century, had been connected to the church before the fortification of the church. Do not miss the view from the top of the tower as it offers a great panorama over the village and surrounding hills. In the 18th century a covered corridor was built as a corn storehouse. Later on, some of the rooms were transformed into a school.
The interior of the fortified church is quite simple but still, there are several art pieces to be admired such as the altar, the old pews or the baptismal font dating back to the 13th century. The altar, dedicated to the Blessing of the Children, was made by an artist from Rupea in the 19th century. Beside the interior of the church you can spend some time in one of the towers which had been transformed into a museum. It displays old tools, traditional costumes, books, ceramics or dowry chests.
The beauty of the fortified church is matched or even outclassed by the quaint houses lined up on each side of the main road. Take some time and let yourself lost on these roads. Admire the architecture of the houses or enjoy an interesting chat with the locals. The reason the houses and the church of Viscri look so well maintained is because Prince Charles, through his trust, renovated them. More than that, he had purchased one of these old houses ant transformed it into a guest house without bringing any alteration of the original building.
If you look for accommodation then you should know that there are several families that transformed their houses into guest houses.
All these, the fortified church, the old houses, the unpaved roads, the animals on the roads, the people or the landscape,definitely make from Viscri a top destination of Romania.
Schedule of the Viscri fortified church:
Monday – Sunday: 09:00-13:00 / 14:00 – 18:00
Entrance fee: €1.5
text and pictures by Daniel Gheorghita