Biertan Fortified Church

In need of marriage counseling? Visit Biertan!

The grandest of the fortified churches in Transylvania – a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

If your marriage or partnership is suffering, visit Biertan fortified church in Transylvania. There is a room here where couples would be banished for two weeks in medieval times to work out their differences.  The room contained only one small bed and one set of cutlery. In 400 years, only one couple went through with divorce—not a bad rate of success!

The Lonely Planet Romania Travel Guide advises you to save this fortified church for last, if you are visiting several. We followed their advice, and I understand why now. Biertan is a picture-perfect fortified church in the village of Biertan, sitting on a small hill, surrounded by higher hills. Having taken a little detour from Sighişoara (Biertan is 27 km southwest of Sighisoara), we arrived from the south, and followed a dirt road into the village. For a map of our route in Romania click here.

The inside of Biertan church – the altarpiece paintings are from 1483-1515.

The frescoes inside one of the towers surrounding the church.

The church was built in the 15th century and is surrounded by walls and towers and has an old covered stairway climbing from the main square of the village up to the church.

Gravestones of the Lutheran bishops who served here from 1572 to 1867 are located in this tower.

One of the towers surrounding the church.

A view of the church from Biertan village square.

The sacristy door lock – 19 locks in one! A marvel of engineering that won first prize at the Paris World Expo in 1900. The church’s treasures were behind this door.

Leaving Biertan to the north, the road is paved to the main highway (Highway 14) connecting Sighişoara to Sibiu.

A view of Biertan village from the church, looking south.

If you only have time to visit one fortified church in Transylvania, this is the one. The entry fee is 8 lei per person (about 3.3 lei per US dollar).

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.