Viscri – A Seemingly Untouched Romanian Village and Fortified Church

This little village and fortified church were on my list of favorite spots in Romania. The village feels secluded and remote, and the church doesn’t appear to have changed in hundreds of years. This place felt like the “real Europe” and one can quickly imagine what life was like here hundreds of years ago. The village has very few cars and no paved streets (one street was cobblestone). The church is visible as you drive into town, just follow your nose to find it. For a map of main sites visited in Romania click here.

The fortified church of Viscri.

Walking up to the entrance of Viscri fortified church.

While Viscri is not far (only 7 km) off the main route (E60) between Braşov and Sighişoara, the road is a bit rough—a combination of rough, broken pavement and gravel. Since there are few cars in Viscri, the locals probably don’t care that the road is not in the best shape, and the more difficult access means less visitors messing up the place! The only practical way to visit Viscri is with a rental car. The church is 13thcentury, and hasn’t changed much in the last 400 years; the old painted wood loft railings and creaky stairways are original from the 1600’s.

The interior of the Viscri fortified church–frozen in time.

At the top of the Viscri church tower, trying not to fall through the floor boards.

My son and I climbed up the tower of the church, through narrow stone stairways and over wooden boards where we had to watch our step or take a chance on falling through!  The fortified walls, built in 1525, contain storage areas and farm tools from many years ago.  There was an entry fee of 4 lei per person.

Inside the walls of Viscri fortified church.

A view of the village of Viscri and surrounding area from the tower of the church.

The village population consists of a few Saxons and mainly Roma (Gypsy).  We saw some displays of woolen socks as well as other woolen items (hats, etc.), and read afterwards that making these items is a major cottage industry of the village, exporting many of their hand-made goods to Germany.

A typical scene in Viscri.

You pass through the village of Bunesti on the way to Viscri – a view of rural life in Romania.

New home construction in Bunesti.

Children in the village of Bunesti pose for their picture.

See my post “The Fortified Churches of Harman and Prejmer” for a short background on fortified churches in Transylvania. Other references: Lonely Planet-Romania 2010 & Rough Guide – Romania 2010.