Biertan

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Biertan Fortified church7biertanchurch1

The more accessible, but no less cooler, of the top fortified Saxon church villages. Biertan, 27km southwest of Sighisoara, has a truly awesome 15th-century Saxon double-walled church, the site of the Lutheran bishop from 1572-1867 and a Unesco World Heritage site since 1993.

The church’s sacristy once held treasures, kept safe by its over-kill formidable door with 19 locks! The astonishing engineering of these locks won first prize at the Paris World Expo in 1900.

The church grounds hold several buildings, including a small bastion which was famously used (according to legend) as a last-ditch effort to discourage couples wanting to divorce; the couple was supposedly locked in the bastion together for two weeks with only one bed and one set of cutlery. Apparently this method was so successful that only one couple decided to go through with their divorce in 400 years!

Crama Biertan is a scrappy winery on the south end of town. With a little luck and eyelash fluttering, you may score a short tour (free, 8am-3pm Mon-Fri, in Romanian), otherwise the shop has bottles starting at 4 lei.

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