Fortified church in Homorod

The fortification is evidence for the uncertain status which has dominated the political life, in the last years of the Hungarian kingdom and in the principality times. The place defending was ceded enterily by the local community that was predominant German (Saxon) ethnic.  This was concerned about the adaptation of the Lutheran (Evangelical) reform and the adoption of new artistic and cultural precepts in general.

In contrast with Saxon worship places from the XIII century, because almost all of them were built as a Romanesque basilica with 3 naves. Homorod possesses one of the very rare Romanesque church-halls, dating from the last third of the XIII century. Strong church – Homorod fortress was built in the second half of XIII century.

For the first time a restoration was done, in the first half of the XIV century, when the paint was amplified and was covered with frescoes of good quality. Then later in the end of the XV century the Romanesque church was fortified. Above the old altar was a tower, erected, and around the church rose they erected two curtains, one with towers and another without towers.

The seven levels of the tower reach 27.70 meter the eighth level forming a defense corridor with wooden railing, today here you can find the three bells of the church.

By this monumental dungeon tower built of stone blocks above the choir was in that time the defense of the church. The Roman triumphal arch that supports the weight of the western wall of the tower was filled with rocks to prevent from collapsing, so the choir was separated from the hall, and the hall of worship became impractical.

There is no known date when the triumphal arch was closed, but certainly before the Reformation, whereas in the choir uncovered Catholic painted murals were preserved.

Inside the tower we find some round holes (10-15 cm diameter) located horizontally at a distance of about 2 meters away from each other enabling the light to shine through. These are holes left from scaffolding use for construction. As we encounter many European medieval buildings, for example castles built in the XII century.

Over a wall elevated as a tall man, they have placed whole thin oak tree trunks surpassing the wall on both sides. Fixed by layers of rock, in their ends they set down planks serving as a platform for bricklayers. After raising the tower, they have dismantled the scaffolding successively, cutting the oak trunks in line with the wall, so that the range between the stones remains inside.  The rotted wood has been taken out by the wind or birds, so most of the holes are empty now.

In the end of the XV century a defensive wall 7-8 m tall, was built around the church with corners guarded by towers with two floors and roof. The defensive corridor was supported by wooden brackets, and surrounded by a wall in the top, passing also the courtyard towers facades. This is preserved today also on the west, north and east sides of the defensive wall. The center of the western side is guarded by a defense tower, with a plank dressed corridor. The inner courtyard is surrounded by a second shorter defensive wall forming a “Zwinger” preserved today on the south and west sides.

In 1623 a fire destroyed all the wooden parts of the church. An inscription on the eastern side of the tower commemorates the burned and renewed roof in 1626. “Anno 1623 dic 13 Aprilis incendio per incuram Andreas Henrich orto conflagrata haec turris restauratur 1626 jun. 19, pastore existente Georgio Vustio” ( In 1623  13th day of April because of Andreas Henrich negligence flaming fire surrounded this tower – restored in 1626 June 19, pastor being Georgio Vustio”). Also in this tower in 1932 three bells were moved, these were in the bell tower before.

Because of the community was growing, the lack of space has forced them in 1784 to create a new choir in the church by breaking the southern wall of the hall, unique solution in Transylvania. Before these changes, seats were supplemented by two overlaid balconies caught to the walls of the hall, and on the west side they built even three.  The upper balcony, called “Fortress calves’ boys who had their confirmation next year were sitting here, in the second year they could sit in the middle tribune among older lads. Men up to 50 year sat in the lower tribune of the north wall, the elders on the pews along the walls in the ground floor, the woman’s in the center of the church.

The hall later received a flat wooden ceiling, bearing an ornate medallion.

Inside the church there is a pulpit with panels painted in folk style and stands adorned with floral paintings. In the choir a painted wooden altar can be found. In its centre is Christ crucified with his name written in German, Latin and Hebrew. It is flanked by two statues – Saint Peter with a key and St. Paul with a sword. Above the altar stands the organ, and to its right is the current entry. Furniture of this church are the altar, organ, pulpit, pews and candlesticks. They are executed in Baroque style and dates from 1793.

 



Fortress in Jimbor

In 1486 “Sombor” belonged under the authority of Rupea. The names origin is ancient Hungarian. It could be a name that hails from the German Sommer burg.  There two arguments: the local community was originally German and continued to be so, until the Reformation, when they assimilated in terms of worship (there were only 9 Saxon families in 1653), but ceded completely to the Seklers (already certified 1502) colonization and emigration, becoming evangelicals. The variant with the meaning of “Fortress of the Sun” is taken into account, as the “Fortress of Zsombor”.

After the “settlers” appearing a noble initiative was possible, attested in the first half of the eighteenth century. Divining the village to a “Royal land” (Saxons) and a “Noble land” (counties) and surrounding the boundaries with diferent villages, for defense in the 19th century.

The Saxons used their knowledge in stone carving, and built resistant structures against long attacks, that could be able to give shelter for the entire village, and had large food storage place. The fortress of Jimbor is modest in size, but over the years served as defence for villagers. Preserved hundreds of years’ defence fortress walls still has the building coverage.

A very damaged and less legible inscription mentions a restoration of 1692 as a result of events that took place two years before – Tatar invasion helped the prince Emeric Thököly, in its fight against the Habsburgs.

Today, only one of the walls is kept in good shape and can still be seen on the southern corner, traces of rooms arranged on two levels, which were probably designed to preserve food, and in case of danger, the villagers sheltering refugees.

Formerly, in the fortress tower, peasants kept their bacon, a habit that you could find in all Saxon villages of Barsei country. No one was touching the bacons until spring when the cuckoo bird started to sing, everybody was putting a sign on their own bacon so they could recognize it when its necessary. This tradition lasted until 1945 among the villagers. Also in the fortress took place all Saxon holidays and habits.

What we see today is only traces of what was once, a brilliant fortress intended to defend locals.

Today, we can only admire and recognize the architectural value of this building, despite all inimical, managed to cope time and show us traces of a civilization truly exceptional.

 


 

Old oak tree in Mercheașa

This is actually an oak of Quercus sessiliflora, with an age of about 900 years. This is the largest sessile known so far in Romania and one of the largest in south-west Europe, it is declared winner of the competition “The oldest tree in Romania” held in 2009. This is above the village Mercheasa on a pasture with centuries-old oaks, about 1.7 kilometers from the village. This oak from Mercheasa has a circumference measured at a height of 1.3 meters from the ground 9.3 meters, a height of 21.3 meters and has a crown almost full, nicely rounded. In addition to the height of three meters from the ground, it has five stumps, traces of broken branches along his life.

 

GPS location of the oldest oak in Romania:

Oak coordinates: 46.0661965N, 25.3620458E

The exit from the highway: 46.0726315N, 25.3415295E


 

Homorod Baths (mud volcanoes)

Homorod Baths, geological located at the foothills of Perşani mountains in contact with Subcarpaţii Transylvania, at an altitude of 460m, in the floodplain at the Homoroadelor confluence. The occurrence of particular importance in the area of sludge emitted by underground gas pressure, called mud volcano.

Homorod Baths mineral waters were used for therapeutic purposes since the beginning of the twentieth century. In the interwar six springs in the area were captured in two pools. Functional spa resort of local interest until 1975, currently is in an advanced stage of deterioration, requiring major investments. The mineral water and mud from the mud volcanoes with have a high sulfur content, have been used with great success in the treatment of rheumatic disorders, dermatological disorders, endocrine disorders, neurasthenia, biliary and liver, digestive disorders. The curative qualities of water and sulfuric mud are recognized and used both at home and abroad, being certified by specialists from interwar. Around a former tourist resorts there is a beautiful area which is in the general urbanism plan and is suitable for holiday buildings.

 


 

Other local attractions

Fortified Evangelical Church in Mercheasa, Homorod municipal, Brasov county, was built in XIII century on an ancient Roman basilica dating from the twelfth century. The church ensemble consists of church, annexes, and a tower, fortified enclosure is a historic monument code LMI BV-II-B-11732. Although renovated in 1621-1623 the church was burned during the Turkish-Tatar attacks of 1658. And the furniture, with stalls and stands with inscriptions dated since 1788. The current bell tower appeared only around half of the nineteenth century. The enclosure around the church was designed in a form of a classic simplicity, namely a rectangle provided with corner towers. The tower is located at the southeast and preserved entirely, the memory of opposite imply that the installation was performed by corner slicing.

Almost the entire western half of the old church was demolished, or partially incorporated during the construction of rectory or confessional schools. The appearance of the corner building still attracts attention with its stepped buttresses.  In the preserved high levels (6-7m) are two rows of firing holes what can be reached by guard bunked roads. In the churches choir, you can still find remnants of mural paintings, and at the altar a 1.61 m high crucifix is exposed, dating from the transitions from gothic to renaissance.

Orthodox church in Mercheașa

The “Saint Nicholas” orthodox church in Mercheaşa was built in 1823 on the site of a wooden church. The church was built of stone and brick in Transylvanian style. Located on a hill in the village, the church is a true spiritual center and a Romanian hearth. The interior is exposed to a cross that was discovered by a local resident in a pine trunk. In recent years, the church was renovated on the outside and inside, changing the roof, windows, furniture, iconostasis. In 2006 the church was painted first by Victor Boart from Câmpulung Muscel. Sunday, October 17, 2010, His Eminence Laurentiu, Metropolitan of Transylvania reconsecrated the church and officiated at the rebuilt altar, place of worship, divine liturgy, being surrounded by a group of priests and deacons.

Fountain with salt water – part of the natural resources of Homorod. The untreated water is used for cooking, storing cheese, pickles and bacon.