Fortified Churches

When we planned our trip to Romania, we knew that the Romanians were a very spiritual Nation. There are churches in every village. Not just one, but several!  Each province has a different style. We have visited Saxon Protestant fortified churches dating from the Middle Ages. Exotic Orthodox painted churches and wooden churches with steeples reaching to the heavens. In order not to bore you silly I will send different blogs on the different types of church.

The Saxons came to Romania in 1437. They built their churches in the centre of their villages, but a century later the country was being invaded by Tartars and wars were raging all around, so they built walls round the churches and built tall lookout bell towers.  Today the churches look like castles.


The churches inside are plain.

The altar was brought from Austria in the 13th Century 
We decided the font was even older.
To our surprise all notices were in German.

The keys were very old and very large!
The bell tower, for some reason was always separate from the church.

We visited about four churches, all were very similar, but magnificent. 

The portcullis, was just to make sure the invaders didn't get in!

The area between the church and the walls was used to house the villagers -if there was an attack.

 From the top of the tower it was possible to see the layout of the village - all Romanian villages are laid out in this ribbon development. The long buildings are designed for humans to live in the front and the animals at the back - rather similar to medieval Spain I suppose!


We love the people and the faces of the people of the countries we visit. Sometimes it is difficult to photograph people and I always respect their willingness . Romania is one of those places where people aren't too keen. But, here are a few pictures that tell their own story and the story of the people's lives.


Another medieval  town, but better than Sibiu !
The clock tower dominated the city, and doubled up as the museum.
The clock face was very Swiss  like. Little figures were supposed to rotate as the clock struck the hour. But  the mechanism had broken many years ago.
The entrance to the city should have been used in a film!

Roof tops with tiles that must have been several hundred years old
Again, windows have to be beautiful!

But our hotel was superb, sometimes we treat ourselves.

Transylvania - Sibiu

This is the castle that everyone knows! Dracula lived here! But it is all a legend - according to the guides and information around the castle. We were not very impressed  probably because we got tied up with several large groups of tourists! So we wizzed  through and drove on through the Carpthian mountains. 

 Snow clung to the peaks and we clung to the double bends!

We stopped at a church where they were selling beautifully painted wooden eggs.

In Curtea de Argos the Church was magnificent both inside and out

 The priest was praying and talking to penetentes.
We arrived in the ancient city of  Sibiu .
We explored passages 

 Admired the roof line

 Were amazed to see that the Saxon population still wears German National costume
 And decorated their windows like the Germans.

 To end a great day a glass of Merlot wine was very welcome

A day at Zalantapak

The day is fine and a walk inThe hills is in order!
We passed the baby goat - we wondered if he wanted to come with us.
 A little climb gave us a view of the rolling hills.
We walked through the beech trees.

Looking back we saw the cart and horse ready to take the family group off for the day

We climbed higher, finding wild flowers.

But no bears, so we came back down the mountain and drove to see some of the villages around Zalantapak.
Hills stretching as far as the eye can see.
Ancient barns made hundreds of years ago

 What a shock ! Communications  - modern version!
 Thank goodness those satellite dishes were not attached to these wonderful roofs or chimneys.

We did think we had seen a wolf - but it is only a wild dog. So ended our time in Zalanpatak

Journey to and the stay at Zalanpatak

We had heard that Prince Charles owns an estate in Romania, so we researched it on the web -
he  does! The small farm has a series of small houses which have been renovated to let out on a B&B basis. So we booked! The farm is very isolated just north of Brasov. 
Once leaving Bucharest , travelling north through the mountains the scenery changes to rolling hills.
The mode of transport changes too.
This was one of the first carts we saw so we quite excited, but we have seen so many since we are now quite  blasé    about it.
We bought some local bread for lunch.
We were very glad we had a four wheel drive car. The road was awful and the rain had not improved the road.
As we drew near to Zalanpatak we came across charcoal makers.
What a dreadful job!
 The village of Zalanpatak has 150 inhabitants, they live by subsistence farming.
Some of the houses need a bit of support .
But Prince Charles's farm was restored.

We enjoyed our stay a lot. But more on that tomorrow.