A hidden treasure
Deep in the heart of Transylvania lies a village of such beauty to be worthy of the UNESCO World Heritage title. 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.