Explore Saxon Villages Romania



A Journey Through the Saxon Villages of Transylvania, Romania

Welcome to a captivating journey through the Saxon villages of Transylvania, an enchanting region where time seems to stand still. These villages, founded by German settlers known as Transylvanian Saxons during the High Middle Ages, are nestled amidst the rolling hills and verdant landscapes of central Romania. This tour explores the rich history, unique architecture, and vibrant traditions of these storied communities.

Explore Saxon Villages

Brasov Walking Tour

The Best of Sighisoara

Saxon Churches
Fortified Churches

Biertan – A Fortified Sanctuary

Begin your tour in Biertan, one of the most visited Saxon villages, renowned for its imposing fortified church. Standing majestically since the 15th century, the church is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The fortification features three concentric walls and several defensive towers, reflecting the village’s strategic importance. Biertan was also the seat of the Lutheran bishops for 300 years, signifying its historical and religious significance.

Viscri – A Royal Favorite

Next, head to Viscri, a village that gained international fame after a visit from Prince Charles, who has passionately supported the preservation of Romanian rural heritage. Viscri dazzles visitors with its white-washed fortified church dating back to the 12th century. Roam around the village to see traditional Saxon houses, many restored with the help of the Mihai Eminescu Trust. Take a leisurely carriage ride or explore local artisans’ workshops to see traditional crafts being kept alive.

Sighișoara – A Step Back in Time

No tour of the Saxon villages would be complete without visiting Sighișoara, one of the best-preserved medieval towns in Europe and the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler, the inspiration for Dracula. With its cobblestone streets, colorful buildings, and the iconic Clock Tower, Sighișoara is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Explore the history-rich citadel, dine in medieval-themed restaurants, and soak in the atmosphere of a bygone era.

Saschiz – The Taste of Tradition

Continue to Saschiz, known for its impressive fortified church resembling the larger church in Sighișoara and for its commitment to sustainable agriculture and traditional crafts. Visit local producers and taste homemade jams, freshly baked bread, or traditional Saxon dishes. Don’t miss the chance to explore the village’s eco-minded initiatives and purchase unique, locally made souvenirs.

Copsa Mare – Off the Beaten Path

For a deeper dive into rural Transylvanian life, visit Copsa Mare, a less frequented but equally charming village. Wander through quiet streets lined with age-old Saxon houses and visit the fortified church that overlooks the village. The serene pastoral setting offers a perfect spot for relaxation and reflection on the rich history of the region.

Malancrav – Architectural Gem

Finally, Malancrav, home to the largest Saxon population in the region, boasts a beautifully restored fortified church with some of the most stunning medieval frescoes and an ornate altar. The village is also known for its apple orchards, so consider a visit during the harvest season to enjoy the fresh, crisp flavors of local produce.

End of the Tour

As your tour of the Saxon villages concludes, reflect on the enduring heritage and culture preserved by these communities. The blend of German, Hungarian, and Romanian influences makes this region a fascinating cultural mosaic, offering insights not only into the past but also into the efforts to maintain these traditions in the modern world. Whether you’re interested in history, architecture, or simply the timeless beauty of rural landscapes, the Saxon villages of Transylvania promise an unforgettable adventure.

Saxon History

The Saxons who settled in Transylvania, part of present-day Romania, arrived in the 12th century. They were invited by the Hungarian king, who then controlled the region, to defend the frontier and cultivate the land. This move was part of a broader pattern of medieval settlement where kings used colonization as a strategy to secure and develop their territories. The Saxons were given land and privileges in return for their military service and their role in developing agriculture and commerce.

Establishing numerous fortified churches and towns, the Saxons played a crucial role in the economic and cultural development of Transylvania. They created a distinctive architectural style and fostered a strong communal sense which helped preserve their language and customs over centuries. The Saxon presence in Transylvania was marked by a high degree of autonomy within the Hungarian, and later Austro-Hungarian Empire, and their communities flourished until the 20th century.

However, the aftermath of World War II and the changes in political regimes brought significant challenges. The rise of communism in Romania led to land confiscations and a suppression of the German language and culture. Additionally, economic opportunities in post-war Germany attracted many Saxons. By the late 20th century, especially after the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989, a large number of Saxons emigrated back to Germany, drawn by better living conditions and economic prospects. This migration drastically reduced the Saxon population in Romania, leaving behind a rich architectural and cultural legacy that is still evident in the Saxon villages of Transylvania today.