Fortified churches from Transylvania - first mission - Day 1


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August 2nd 2008
Published: August 3rd 2008
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Sibiu 2008Sibiu 2008Sibiu 2008

Not so crowded as last year but still beautiful!
Perfect timing for a short summer holiday. We had the greatest weather, although the last month it has been raining all over the country.
For a long time I was planning to visit the saxons fortified churches. In Transylvania there are a lot of them, some very well preserved and famous, others very close to become ruins.

After I've done some research, I printed the maps and tried to establish an itinerary. We had only 4 days to acomplish this mission. As usual things dont go exactly as you plan them.
What have we managed so far:
Day 1 - Sibiu - Cisnadie - Cisnadioara
Day 2 - Sibiu - Medias - Biertan
Day 3/4 - Sibiu - Agnita - Bradeni

Returning to Sibiu I found the city with a new look. A lot of construction sites, many of the old traditional houses and historical monuments are being renovated but most of the work was already done. I booked myself a room at Hotel 11 Euro, of course that actually the cheapest room is 20 euro/night, but it was pretty nice. It was 5 minutes away from the central area and I had no problem getting around.
First day, early in the morning, we walked a little in Sibiu especially around the parts we missed last year.
After lunch we went to the Transmixt bus station near Sibiu train station. As I already knew they have buses towards all the places we wanted to go.
We decided to take the Cisnadie bus. The village is 10 km south of Sibiu, the buses are scheduled to leave every hour and a one way ticket is less than 2 euro. Of course if you dont speak Romanian or you dont have anyone around to translate for you it will be a difficult task to communicate with the staff at ticket office. I cant understand why they dont make an effort to learn at least some basic words in english, when most of travellers are foreigners and shouting at them in Romanian doesnt help.

After a 45 minutes ride we arrived in Cisnadie (Heltau). The village is absolutely beautiful, the church is right in the middle of it. Its an evanghelical church (Saint Walpurga's), build around 13 century and although by the time we got there it was closed for rehearsals (the village's days 2-3 august), we asked the guide if we can have a quick look and take some pics. The woman was so nice that she guided us inside and around the church, explaining us the church's history and after inviting us for the weekend party. In this fortified church they kept the famous Cisnadie treasure and after the renovation a part of the treasure is now at the Brukenthal museum in Sibiu. After the tower was destroyed a few times by thunders, in 1795 was installed the first lighting conductor in Transylvania, using a unique method at that time.

3 km distance from Cisnadie, is the village Cisnadioara (Michelsberg). We decided we will walk till there and it was the best choice. The landscape is amazing, the peace, everything in different shades of green, the 30 minutes walk it was like heaven. The church is situated on top of the Saint Michael's Hill, about 70 m altitude. The woman that sells tickets (about 1,5 euro) will give u the keys of the gates so who leaves last gets to lock them. When we arrived there it was already open, we had no guide but there were a few posters with details. Inside the church are kept the tombstones of the german officers and austro-hungarian soldiers who died in 1916. Compared to Cisnadie here there arent so many objects to see but the view from above is spectacular. Before we left we walked around the village and discovered another interesting church but unfortunately it was closed and no one seemed to be around.

It was already late and we had to catch the 9:15 PM bus from Cisnadie to Sibiu so we hurried back to the village. Although there are plenty of buses if we would have had more free time all this distance we would have prefered to walk. As we dicovered the next days in almost every village we passed there was a fortified church, and some werent even mentioned on the map so the best thing to do is to visit each village, enjoy the nature and talk to the locals... thats an awesome experience!



Additional photos below
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A flock of sheeps and goatsA flock of sheeps and goats
A flock of sheeps and goats

On the road to Cisnadioara
View from above..View from above..
View from above..

In the distance Cisnadie village


15th August 2008

about communication
You have wrong ideea about communication in general, with local people in Romania. I work on Romanian Railway i speak and write in : ENGLISH, FRENCH and ITALIAN ( if you see on my commentary) The old people are not have interest to learn one world language but all youngs have that interest. About that problem to communiate i have meet in Hungary- Budapest and on PARIS. In France, not all people are conait english language.
15th August 2008

When you're in Romania...
Each is entitled to an oppinion. I was writing about my own experience but also about other people I met on this journey. Maybe the guys from Austria or the couple from UK read this blog and they can tell you more about their travel experience in Romania. Btw I am Romanian and I had troubles understanding the trains timetable, although there was an electronic info point, most of the trains were canceled since last year but the database wasnt updated yet. ps: maybe you missed the part where I actually recommended to talk to the locals (it's the last phrase I wrote)! Enjoy the journey!

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