Unesco World Heritage Site

english

A hidden treasure

Deep in the heart of Transylvania lies a village of such beauty to be worthy of the UNESCO World Heritage title. With its german influences and candid inhabitants, you will feel at home.

Viscri is best known for its highly fortified church, originally built around 1100 AD by the Szecklers. In 1185 the church was taken over by Saxon colonists, and the Szecklers were forced to settle in southeast Transylvania. In the 14th century the eastern part of the church was rebuilt and in 1525, the first fortifications with towers were added. In the 18th century the church was enclosed by a second defense wall. Next to the church a cemetery with gravestones dating back to the Bjielo-Brdo culture is found.

The strong Saxon community which resisted with obstinacy so many barbarian attacks along the centuries had finally succumbed to the numerous afflictions brought on them by the communist regime. Shortly following the 1989 revolution, in a matter of months, the large majority of families left the village to return in the Western Europe after a stay of 900 years.

However, few of them found the clash of cultures irreconcilable and decided to remain and fight to preserve the rich heritage embedded in their parent’s land. Their efforts have been generously sustained by a well-known English royalty, HRH Prince Charles of Wales, who fell in love with the unspoiled natural beauties of Transylvania. In 2006, The Prince bought and restored an 18th Century Saxon houses in Viscri to help protect the unique way of life and promote sustainable tourism.

While the beauty and serenity of the village are reason enough to spend several days here, there is also a large range of activities that can easily fill a week-long stay in Viscri:

  • Visit the fortified church and the museum recreating the Saxon way of life;
  • Horse-drawn cart trips to the shepherd’s to watch the sheep milking or shearing, and taste the local cheeses (available between May and September);
  • Horse-drawn cart trip to the coal makers, a difficult craft on the verge of extinction (available between May and September);
  • Visit to the local blacksmith at work;
  • Go on a mountain biking or trekking trail linking two of the neighboring Saxon villages (Crit and Mesendorf) to Viscri over the hills and through the forests;
  • Go truffle hunting in the surrounding woods (available between September and December);
  • Go in search of the wild brown bear in the surrounding woods;
  • Join a local family to the pastures for traditional hay stacking (available in July). Admire the astonishing diversity of wildflowers, including many species extinct in the rest of Europe;
  • Simply stroll through Viscri and admire the pastel facades of the houses or watch the domestic animals wandering the streets. See the cows coming back from the pastures in the evening.

What have we been doing lately

Starting with 2012 we are preparing new kinds of experiences for our guests. We want you to feel comfortable, as always, however for the more inquisitive minds we have created workshops - special classes, taught by professionals in the industry, covering some of the most interesting subjects we could think of. Surely, if there's something more you would like to see in our list, just let us know and we will try to make it happen!

Gourmet Cooking
Workshops
Photography
Saxon Cooking
Pottery
Glass Icon Painting
Furniture Painting

Check out the Workshops page for the upcoming events calendar and details about each workshop and registration (or simply click here).