UNESCO: Câlnic Fortress

image via medievistica.ro

The Roman fortress represents the most valuable edifice in the small village of Câlnic in Alba county, Romania. Because it remained in a very good condition after all this time, and it lies in the middle of a locality that conveys the imprint of the German colonist civilization that have settled down in Transylvania, the fortress has become a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999.

The fortress had double function: not only that it was the residence of nobility (symbolized by the old tower), but it was also a place for the Saxon rural community. They started building it in the second half of the 13th century, under the Lord Lieutenant Chyl de Kelling. The extra wall you see around the initial one was built in the 16th century by Saxon peasants which considered that extra protection is always needed. Before that, the initial walls were surrounded by water. As you can see in the illustrated photo, the old tower as well as the smaller one were habitable, the noblemen lived there for about two hundred years before the fortress was sold to the village’s peasants. This picture also shows that the present state of the edifice was not built all at once, but is a result of centuries of work, fortification and renovation- that’s why it looks so good and was preserved in an amazing state until this day (although it’s almost 800 years old!).

Today the fortress can be visited, mostly in organised groups. The entrance fee is mostly symbolic (2 lei=0,5 Euros) and gives you permission to enter the winery and climb up to the defensive tower. The old tower now hosts a museum, with traditional and medieval art being displayed on two floors. There is also a chapel which you can visit. Although I am afraid of heights and very steep stairways, climbing up the defensive tower was worth every sweat. Not only that you can see the awesome mechanism of the tower bell, but the view from up there is exquisite. The beautiful Saxon village with it’s traditional houses and tile roofs is amazing. Here are some of the photos I took when we were there. Although it was a rainy day, we enjoyed the wonderful Saxon air and their traditional architecture. There are some photos of the fortress itself, some are of the village and some of the bell and it’s fascinating segments.

3 Responses to “UNESCO: Câlnic Fortress

  • Many fortified churches can be found around Transylvania. One of the best things about them is that they allow you to get a picture of the different aspects of the society they were built in.

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  • UNESCO: Valea Viilor Medieval Fortified Church | CityoftheWeek :

    […] The Valea Viilor Fortified Saxon Church was included in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list in 1999, under the category “Villages with fortified churches in Transylvania”, along with six other churches (one of them being Calnic Fortress, already mentioned on the blog). […]

    4 years ago

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