Many people are well aware that Transylvania hosts a wide array of medieval architectural gems, scattered all around the region. To help you out in planning your next medieval-themed trip to “the land between the forests”, we’ve gathered 10 amazing places located in Transylvania, which offer a picturesque medieval atmosphere:
The most famous medieval city of Romania, the old town of Sighișoara has been part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites List since 1999. Located in Mureș County, the city is one of the best-preserved medieval towns in Europe. With cobblestoned streets, colorful houses, old walls and 13th century towers, it’s no wonder that Sighișoara is among the most-visited destinations in the country. Take a walk around the old town, discover all the historical buildings and have a taste of the traditional local cuisine in one of the many restaurants and cafés which can be found between the ruined fortress walls.
The commune of Biertan is mostly famous for its fortified Saxon church, being one of 7 such churches enlisted amongst the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. But even if the main attraction of the town is the fascinating religious landmark built in the 15th century, there’s more to Biertan than this. Its enviable location is highly cherished by photographers, situated in a magical valley between green rolling hills. The drive to the village offers scenic views as well. Once you’re there don’t hesitate to climb a surrounding hill to get the best view of the church and the charming little homes surrounding it.
The largest city in the county bearing the same name, Sibiu is a beloved city break destination to local travellers and foreign tourists alike. The old town area offers many superb tourist attractions, but don’t hesitate to wander away from it towards the south-east direction where you can find the remains of the old city walls. You can still admire three towers from the 14th and 15th century respectively, along with an impressive section of the old wall. If you have enough time you can also check out the Natural History Museum located right next to the Cooper’s Tower, which hosts an exciting exhibition on local flora and fauna.
A fairly underrated destination, we discovered the abandoned fortress of Slimnic on our way from Sighișoara towards Sibiu. Unfortunately the landmark built in the 14th century was scarcely renovated over time and isn’t in such a good condition today. Nevertheless, the ruins of the church are definitely worth a short stop. You can access it from the main 14 road and you’ll need to climb a small hill to reach it. Besides admiring the architectural wonder make sure you take some time to enjoy the view of the village located below the fortress ruins.
Transylvania doesn’t get more medieval than the fabulous Corvin Castle located in Hunedoara. The Gothic-Renaissance landmark’s construction began in the mid-15th century by John Hunyadi, a prominent figure of Transylvania at the time. It boasts huge towers, double walls, numerous bastions and a myriad of windows and is still in excellent condition today. If you’re planning to visit, make sure you skip Romanian holidays and summer weekends, because it’s flooded with tourists on such occasions.
Built in the 13th century by the Teutonic Knights on a hill above the city with the same name, the purpose of Râșnov Fortress was mainly of protection from enemy attacks. It features a simple architectural style, similar to the houses of the time. You can easily reach the fortress on foot and can spend an hour or so wandering around it and enjoying the magnificent view of the surroundings. If you have kids, you might also want to check out the Dinosaur Park and Valea Cetății Cave, both located at merely a stone’s throw away from the fortress.
The largest city on the list regarding its population, Brașov is filled with medieval monuments scattered all around its old town. As you start your walking tour in the city, you’ll encounter old city walls, bastions, towers and even a big citadel protecting the city from above. But if you really want to get the whole picture, don’t hesitate to either climb or take the cabin car up to Mount Tâmpa, from where you can enjoy the perfect view of the narrow streets (by the way, Sforii Street is one of the narrowest in Europe), red-tiled roofs and medieval landmarks Brașov has to offer.
Approximately halfway between Sighișoara and Brașov you’ll encounter an impressive little fortress looking over the main road. Rupea is situated on a 120 meter tall basalt hill where it’s been standing for over 500 years. The fortress recently underwent heavy renovations with the aim of preserving it for future generations. For a small fee you can visit the fortress and admire the pristine view it offers over the geological reserve of Rupea.
Situated merely 20 kilometers away from Sighișoara, Saschiz is mostly known for its fortified Saxon church, one of 7 included in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites List. However, it also hosts a Peasant Fortress which was built in the 14th century and is currently in ruins. Although the climb up to the fortress is steep, the effort is totally worth it. The fact that the once-majestic landmark is in ruins, located on a hill next to the forest and its walls are covered in plants only adds to its charm. Not to mention the fantastic view of the surrounding hills, the fortified church and the village itself!
As someone who was born în Târgu-Mureș I am probably a bit biased about my last choice on the list. However, I think my small town and especially its medieval fortress have huge potential and I really hope to see it put to good use someday. The fortress has been renovated recently and looks pretty awesome; however I’d love to see more action inside the fortification walls. There’s enough space to open restaurants, cafes, more art galleries and also host a regular market to help small local businesses. For now, it remains a nice destination for a chill stroll or an evening walk with friends and family.
We hope we managed to pique your interest and you’ll enjoy planning your trip to see the best of what medieval Transylvania has to offer! Which other places do you think have an awesome medieval vibe as well?