0845 3000 247
+44 (0)1539 531258

These holidays support the
valuable work of the
Mihai Eminescu Trust
in the conservation and
regeneration of 'Saxon'
villages & communities


Cisnadie (Heltau)
Cisnadioara (Michelsberg)
Cristian (Grossau)
Sibiel Glass Icons
Seica Mica (Kleinschelken)
Valea Viilor (Würmloch)
Mosna (Meschen)
Biertan (Bïrthälm)
Medias (Mediasch)
Bagaciu (Bogeschdorf)
Crit (Deutschkreuz),
Cloasterf (Klosdorf),
Malâncrav (Malmkrog)
Viscri (Deutschweisskirch)
Homorod (Hamruden)

Sibiu (Hermannstadt)
Bruckental Museum
Astra Village Museum
Piatra Mare
Liars Bridge
Railway Museum
Sighisoara (Schässburg)
Clock Tower & Museum
Walls & Fortifications
Covered Staircase
Church on the Hill
Vlad Dracula House


Tarom now fly three times per week
from Heathrow to Sibiu, and twice weekly
from Heathrow to Târgu Mures,
both via Bucharest Otopeni.

Carpatair fly from Stuttgart & Treviso
via Timisoara to Sibiu;
Tarom fly from Munich to Sibiu

Frequent trains from Bucharest to
Sighisoara & Sibiu (5 hours);
it is possible to connect with
some flights at Bucharest.

Trains from Budapest & Vienna call at
Sighisoara; frequent trains from Cluj to Sighisoara, and Brasov to
Sibiu & Sighisoara

Read Mark Rowe's
excellent feature about the
villages of Saxon Transylvania
in the
Independent on Sunday


Village Holidays in Saxon Transylvania
Mihai Eminescu Trust

Stress-free eco-friendly holidays in the rural tranquility of the 'Land of Fairytales'
Stay in a historic village house restored by the Mihai Eminescu Trust as part of their Whole Village Project


Accommodation in Saxon Transylvania (Sibiu, Sighsisoara, Viscri, Biertan - hotels, guesthouses, pensions) ACCOMMODATION

Location Map - Saxon Transylvania LOCATION MAP

Flights to Romania FLIGHTS

Trains, Transfers & Travel in Romania with Transylvania Uncovered GETTING ABOUT

Car Hire in Romania CAR HIRE

CONTACT US (Transylvania Uncovered - Romania Travel Specialists) CONTACT US

0845 3000 247
+44 (0)1539 531258

Seica Mica (Kleinschelken)
Many thanks to the Mihai Eminescu Trust, Alan Ogden and Colin Shaw for the kind use of some of the photographs on this page, and to the Mihai Eminescu Trust for allowing us the use of their historical information for our descriptions.

[ Robert Browning ]

"In Transylvania there's a tribe,
Of alien people who ascribe
The outlandish ways and dress,
On which their neighbours lay such stress
To their fathers and mothers having risen,
Out of some subterranean prison
Into which they had been trepanned,
Long time ago, in a mighty band,
Out of Hamelin town in Brunswick land,
But how or why they don't understand."


According to legend the lost children of Hamelin emerged from the Almasch (Varghis) cave into Transylvania - just to the north of Baraolt. This is the 'romantic'explanation for what was, for many centuries a strange phenomenon: the presence of blond-haired, blue-eyed, German-speakers following ancient customs, yet isolated by hundreds of miles from Germany. The reality is that the fortified towns and villages of Transylvania were established in the 12th Century by settlers from the Moselle region, referred to locally as 'Saxons'. They were tempted to Transylvania by favourable market rights by the Hungarian rulers who wanted them there to guard the mountain passes against Tatar and Ottoman raiders. They created the 'Siebenbürgen', the seven fortified cities, while in villages they constructed fortified churches in which they could shelter during times of siege. Some of these churches are massive structures. The villages are often remote and although vestiges of the original populations may remain, clinging on to age-old traditions, many of them are in serious danger of losing their character as churches crumble. Various restoration projects have been initiated to rebuild the communities and to attract back some of the original inhabitants - many fled during the Communist years whilst after the 1989 Revolution the open door extended by Germany attracted many more to leave their way of life for the bright lights of the West. UNESCO has designated several of these villages and the mediaeval citadel of Sighisoara as Heritage Sites.


Of considerable importance is the tireless work carried out by the Mihai Eminescu Trust. The Trust is dedicated to the conservation and regeneration of villages and communes in Transylvania and the Maramures, and has been concentrating on a project to restore life to the the Saxon villages in Transylvania since 1995 . The aim of their Whole Village Project is to keep this fascinating, but often crumbling, legacy for future generations, helping local craftsman to re-learn forgotten skills and showing the villagers how to combine their heritage with a more modern approach. The Trust's first Whole Village Projects are in the Saxon villages in the area bounded by Sibiu-Medias-Sighisoara-Brasov, where the unique architecture of the houses and churches and the social cohesion of the villages are both under immediate threat owing to the emigration of the majority of Saxons.   These villages are often remote and although vestiges of the original population remain, clinging on to age-old traditions, many of them are in serious danger of losing their character as churches and dwellings fall into disrepair or are targetted by art thieves. Besides repair and conservation, theTrust is helping with sympathetic economic development, believing that the future of these villages should be intimately linked with their past.

The Trust is at present concentrating on two areas - the villages close to Viscri and close to Malancrav - approximately 40 miles apart which can be reached on foot or horseback, following cart tracks through the forest and valleys, and intervening villages. These are outlined below, for further information including restoration progress reports please refer to the excellent Mihai Eminescu Trust website:

Responsible Travel Awards 2004

The Mihai Eminescu Trust (MET), a British charity working
in the beautiful Saxon villages of Transylvania, won
the 2004 Responsible Tourism Award for Innovation,
given by responsibletravel.com in association with
The Times, World Travel Market and Geographical Magazine.
The awards were presented on10th November, 2004
at the World Travel Market.
The METs original approach to cultural conservation
and tourism, embodied in its Whole Village Project,
was recognised by a panel of judges as the most innovative
responsible tourism policy of the year, out of a
total of 700 nominees and 180 short-listed organisations.

63 Hillgate Place, London W8 7SS
T: 020 7229 7618; F: 020 7792 9998


Viscri (Deutschweisskirch)

"Fortresses of Faith" by Alan Ogden
A Pictorial hstory of the Fortified Saxon Churches of Romania
This is a superb photographic record.

Available from:
John Sandoe (Books) Ltd, 10 Blacklands Terrace,
Chelsea, London SW3 2RB; Tel. 020 7589 9473

By the same author:
Romania Revisited
Revellations of Byzantium
Winds of Sorrow


The fortified Evangelical churches have been in decline since the mass exodus of the Saxon population leaving the smaller congregations without the means to maintain these spectacular structures, high vaulted ceilings, imposing fortifications, fine interior decoration and furniture. 

The Mihai Eminescu Trust is keenly involved in the preservation of the fortified churches.  So far they have  completed small remedial conservation works on Dupus and Movile churches and larger conservation projects on Mesendof, Cloasterf, Roades, Floresti, Bunesti and Malancrav churches. They have also helped in the precincts of Viscri and Apold churches.  If there is no future potential for ecclesiastical use (e.g. the deconsecrated church in Floresti) alternative uses, such as community halls, concert venues etc, are being sought.

Viscri is first documented a record of church taxes dated around the year 1400, in which the village is referred to as being part of the Rupea parish. Its inhabitants consisted of 51 farmers, one school master, three shepherds and two paupers. In 1939 the village had 699 inhabitants of Saxon origin.
This delightful UNESCO designated village, dominated by its magnificent hilltop White Church lies northwest of Rupea and can be reached through Dacia on a 7 km unpaved road. The origins of the fortified church date from 1100 when the Szeklers built a small church with a single hall and semicircular apse. To this day, the church is surrounded by a cemetery with gravestones dating back to the Bjielo-Brdo culture. Around 1185 the church was taken over by Saxon colonists, and the Szeklers were forced to settle in southeast Transylvania (although in 1848, eleven Saxons, one Romanian and one Gypsy were attacked and murdered in Viscri by Hungarian rebels). In the 14th century the east part of the church was rebuilt. The first fortifications with towers were added around 1525. In the 18th century the church was surrounded by a second defense wall. After 1743 a covered corridor for the storage of corn was built.  A century later, two chambers in the defense corridor of the bastion were turned into school rooms. The classic 19th century altar has as centerpiece "the Blessing of the Children" by the painter J. Paukratz from Rupea. The font was made from a capital of the 13th century church. The flower meadows around Viscri contain a wide diversity of species while the church yard contains herbs that have been used in medicine since the Middle Ages.

The Mihai Eminescu Trust have been active in Viscri for many years, supported by the relentless enthusiasm of its Mayoress, Caroline Fernolend. Over 50 houses and facades have now been restored, including the priests house, the kindergarten (a World Bank project), the fire engine house and the Lutherian church. Pear trees have been planted along the village stream. See below for accommodation in the village.
Crit (Deutschkreuz)
Crit lies 31 km away from Sighisoara on the Sighisoara-Brasov road on the left of the river Balta Mare. In 1663 Crit was plundered  by a Moldavian prince's troops. The church was fortified  in the 15th century and possessed five towers each with two-three stories, pyramidal roofs and shooting holes. In the 16th century a prison was built in the north side of the wall.
In 1810 the old church was taken down and the construction of a new spacious one with a narrow choir began. Double belt arches supported by classic pillars separates one vault from the other.  There was more renovation in 1908. The south tower collapsed in 1925 and the north one in 1955.The well wheel in the church yard bears the inscription of the year 1753. The priest's house dates from 1843. The MET have been very active in Crit making general repairs and restoring facades below the church, on the town hall and the dispensary. Two large projects are houses 43 and 83, which had all but collapsed. Both have been shored up and ready for making habitable.
Cloasterf (Klosdorf)
Cloasterf, first mentioned idocumented in 1322, lies 7 km to the south west of Saschiz and 1 km from the Brasov Sighisoara road. The fortified church stands in the middle of the village on the east of the main street. The church, which was completed in 1524, together with a four cornered wall with four towers. Only three of the towers are still standing today.
The Bell-ringers house was built in the 19th century probably during the construction of the bell tower. The Baroque altar was made in 1716 by the painter Andreas Hermann from Sibiu. Late gothic benches dated 1532 are still preserved, bearing  coats of arms; others were made in 1688 and 1799. The Lutheran church has had four bastions repaired by the MET, all of which have needed careful restoration work and stitching. One collapsed bastion has been completely rebuilt and they have also shored up the entrance beside the Bellringer's house which was leaning over dangerously. Several facades have now been restored, repairs have been made to the school and Orthodox church, and the Bellringers house was completely restored, filled with Saxon furniture and extablished as a guesthouse (see below).
Mesendorf (Meschendorf) First documented in 1289, this village lies 4 km south west of Crit. The fortified church, which has an interesting tryptych altar, dates from the14th century as a simple early Gothic building, which was subsequently fortified in 1495. Some parts of the walls and the south west tower were taken down in 1958 as they were in dange of collapse. The MET have strengthened the walls, restored and repaired buttresses and entrances in tandem with the exiled Saxon community. They are renovating house No.53 and its outbuildings to turn it into a guesthouse.

Roades (Radeln)
The small village of Roades lies 16 km north west of Rupea and 1 km away from the Rupea Sighisoara main road. In 1469 the city council of Alba-Iulia asked the city council of Sibiu to grant the village exemption for taxes because it  had burnt down. It was burbt again in 1523 and 1552 then plundered by Turks in 1663.  The Gothic church on the west hill of the village reached its present shape in 1494. It is surrounded  by a polygonal defensive wall and consolidated by five three-storied towers. The church contained a magnificent triptych altar made in the 1530s, one of the best preserved altars of the pre-reform time in Transylvania. The tryptich was stolen in 1999 but discovered almost intact in Hungary a year later. It is now housed in the museum below the Bishop's house in Sibiu. It is hoped that it will return to the church when conditions are right. The church benches date from the 17th century, some of them were replaced in 1826. The MET ave restored several houses, facades and the village hall.


Malâncrav (Malmkrog)
Malancrav is particularily interesting for several reasons. It has the highest proportion of Saxons remaining in any village in Transylvania, 170 out of an original population (before the general exodus) of 900. There are also a high proportion of Saxon children in the village and even a resident Evangelical priest, Father Joachim Lorenz, a young and dynamic East German, who moved to Malancrav nine years ago with his family.
The church contains 15th century frescoes and the oldest complete altarpiece still in its original location in Transylvania, c.1520. Malâncrav has also retained very well preserved houses owing to its isolation down 13 km of unsurfaced road. In addition there is a Hungarian princely Manor House, which the former owners, the Evangelical community, sold to the Mihai Eminescu Trust in 2000 because it was unable to save the building, which was in danger. The Manor House is adjoined by an ancient orchard, which had been taken by the Communist state farm but which the trust has now bought. There are many traditional varieties of apples, pears and plums in the 200 acre orchard, and following the donation of juice making equipment by the British Embassy, the MET are now producing organic apple juice for sale throughout Romania. The Manor House is being restored as near as possible to its 18th century layout and will become a house for scholars and visitors to stay, and as a venue for weddings and large meetings for the villagers. Several houses have been restored and three of them are available to tourists (see below).

Roandola (Rauthal) Rauthal belonged to the Apafy and Bethlen aristocracy together with the villages of Malmkrog, Kreisch, Peschendorf, Felsendorf, and Neudorf, and this was recognised by Sibiu in 1340. In 1474 King Matthias Corvinus assigned Klara, widow of Michael Apafy of Malmkrog, and her sons Franz, Leonhard, and Nikolaus into the possession of Rauthal. In 1710 Michael II Apafi transfers Eppeschdorf castle, as well as the estates of Eppeschdorf, Hohnsdorf, Ergang, Malmkrog, Neudorf, and Rauthal, to his wife Katherine Bethlen and her descendants. The Gothic church dates back to the 15th century and the clock tower to 1792. The MET have been restoring house facades and have repaired and furnished the Doctors surgery.

Floresti (Felsendorf) The 14th century Church contains a plaque commemorating a member of the Transylvanian Bethlen family. It is deconsecrated and in a derelict state. The Lutheran Church elders have given the church to the MET on a long lease in exchange for restoration. The neo-gothic altar from 1899, and the remains of the old one (1550) are the Sighisoara Museum. Other MET work in the village has included numerous facades and roof repairs, work to the school and the start of restoration work on a guesthouse.

Nou Sasesc (Neudorf) This village was first documented in 1305 as a possession of the Apafi family, mentioning that Malmkrog and Neudorf formed an administrative unit. In 1658 much of the village was destroyed by the Tartars. A 15th Century church stands above the village (although in 1345 a Katherine Chapel was named as the only Home of God of the place). The font is carved out of the trunk of an oak tree with decorations in the shape of tendrils. Three builders from Nou Sasesc are being taught lime mortar technique on village houses by the MET, and several have now been restored.



Biertan (Birthälm)
Biertan is one of the best-known of the Saxon villages due to its magnificent fortified church, and was the first to be placed on the UNESCO World Heritage Site, in 1993. It lies south of the main Tarnave Mare, 11km from the Medias - Sighisoara road. The village is first documented in 1283 and as a trading center ("oppidum") in 1397.  The church is situated on top of a small hill. It is 44m long and surrounded by two circular fortified walls with a third one on the west-south-west side. In 1468 the most inner wall was consolidated by four towers and a bastion.
Coats of arms on the portal belonging to King Wladislaw 11 and to  Johann Zápolya, tell us it was built between 1510 and 1516.An inscription with the year 1522 on the triumphal arch names the builder: "venerabilis  domini baccalauri Johannis".  In 1753 Jakob Salzer renovated the church and in 1767 a side gallery and a gallery next to the pulpit was built, as well another one in 1777.  The exceptional altar piece is surrounded by a carved gold filigree wooden frame.
The lime benches were made at the beginning of the 16th century in the workshop of Johannes Reichmuth from Sighisoara. The style of the stone pulpit is in the transition period between Gothic and Renaissance decoration. The Gothic stone font decorated with lilies is part buried in the ground and it dates from the 16th century. There are three pre-reformation bells. In 1508 a clock was built in the clock tower. The church was severely damaged in the 1977 earthquake. Situated prominently in the main square, the house to the left of the church was bought by the MET in 2001. Its restoaration was difficult and took three years.  The building is now a craft shop, Artefact Biertan, and also acts as an information centre for MET restoration activities. 

The Mihai Eminescu Trust also began work in the MARAMURES in 1998 to try to save some of the best examples of the then rapidly disappearing 18th and 19th century wooden architecture of the area. The Maramures is not under threat from depopulation, but from the continuing destruction of its houses.   At the moment they are coming down at the rate of three or four every week. The Trust has set in motion a survey of the Maramures villages, noting their particular architectural importance. Through this survey they can pinpoint the 18th and 19th century houses at risk and alert people to prevent their destruction if possible. The Trust has bought a few properties to let out at a low rent.   Once a house has been acquired, they hope its previous owner will continue to work the surrounding land harvesting the plum trees, apple trees and hay. The building could also be used for temporary storage space until a tenant is found. These houses are far less expensive than in Transylvania since they are made from wood.

Transylvania attracts visitors to the churches, castles, palaces, beautiful landscape and with the Dracula myth. Tourism in the more remote Saxon villages is as yet largely undeveloped. Some of the villages with which the Mihai EminescuTrust is working have guesthouses with internal baths, showers and WCs, as well as more simple accommodation. Tourism in the villages needs to be developed with great care, so as not to damage in the long term the very reason for which the visitors love to come. The Mihai Eminescu Trust has sought to introduce limited tourism to the area in a manner that minimises the impact of tourism but brings benefit direct to the community. It is the landscape and the way of life that makes the Saxon villages so interesting to tourists. If tourism itself results in the loss of landscape management and a fundamental change in the way of life of the villages, ultimately the tourist attraction and the tourism revenue will dry up.

Restoration work in Cloasterf
Transylvania Uncovered can offer you accommodation in guesthouses that have been faithfully restored by the Mihai Eminescu Trust. These houses have modern bathroom facilities and are heated by traditional stoves. They can be rented for self- catering or meals can be provided. The houses are located in Viscri (Deutsch-Weisskirch), Crit (Deutschkreuz), Cloasterf (Klosdorf), Malâncrav (Malmkrog), and (new for 2005) in Biertan (Birthälm). A proportion of the cost of accommodation goes towards the MET's important work of restoring the Saxon villages of Transylvania.
Viscri (Deutschweisskirch)
Viscri is a delightful Saxon village which may be reached via Rupea or Bunesti on the main Brasov to Sighisoara highway. The road from Bunesti or the 7km from Dacia is unpaved but in good condition. The village has a bar, museum and a small clothes/ coffee shop which also sells ceramics and other handicrafts. There is no general store.

The MET house sleeps four, It comprises two separate, traditional buildings opposite each other within a courtyard. Each has its own shower, hot and cold running water, and an internal WC. The kitchen is separate with wood and/or gas stove.
Self-catering: £ 25.00 per person/ night
Bed & Breakfast:
£ 30.00 per person/ night
£ 35.00 per person/ night
£ 40.00 per person/ night

Crit (Deutschkreuz)
A pretty village just off the main Brasov to Sighisoara road, 14 km after Rupea. Convenient for sightseeing. There are no shops in the village but there is a bar. The MET house sleeps four and is in the place where the first church stood. It is set in a courtyard with a plum orchard and a barn. There is an indoor kitchen and an outside summer kitchen, an internal bath and WC.

Self-catering: £ 25.00 per person/ night; Bed & Breakfast: £ 30.00 per person/ night
£ 35.00 per person/ night; Full-board: £ 40.00 per person/ night

Cloasterf (Klosdorf)
The Bell-ringers House
Cloasterf is also relatively accessible and is ideal as a base for sightseeing. It is situated left off the main Brasov to Sighisoara, 15km after Rupea. It possesses one of the finest fortified churches.
The Bell-ringers House is set within the fortified walls. It was in a state of total disrepair but has been fully restored by the MET. It sleeps two in one room with two beds. There is an iron wood-burning stove, fridge, outdoor WC and basins with no immediate hot water.

Self-catering: £ 15.00 per person/ night; Bed & Breakfast: £ 20.00 per person/ night
£ 25.00 per person/ night; Full-board: £ 30.00 per person/ night

Malâncrav (Malmkrog)
This is a very well-preserved Saxon village on account of its location, 13km along an unsurfaced road which leads south from the Tarnave Mare valley into the hills and forests. You drive west from Sighisoara towards Medias. Turn left at Laslea then branch right to Malâncrav. There are three shops in the village selling basic food. The MET house (illustrated on the left) sleeps 5 plus one child under 8. It consists of two houses set together in a courtyard with a stable and barn, leading into an orchard. There are two large rooms in the first house plus a shower and WC. The second house has a room sleeping two people with a basically equiped kitchen, and a dining room with wood-burning stove. Outdoor summer kitchen

Self-catering: £ 25.00 per person/ night
Bed & Breakfast:
£ 30.00 per person/ night
£ 35.00 per person/ night
£ 40.00 per person/ night

The Hungarian manor House

NEW Biertan (Birthälm)
Details of the newly renovated MET house in Biertan will follow shortly.

Self-catering: £ 25.00 per person/ night; Bed & Breakfast: £ 30.00 per person/ night
£ 35.00 per person/ night; Full-board: £ 40.00 per person/ night

NEW Sighisoara (Schässburg)
Details of the newly renovated apartment in the old town will follow shortly. Not available throughout the year


Additional information for staying in MET properties

Minimum booking is for 3 days. You cannot check-in until 16:00 on the first day and must vacate the property by 11:00 on the final day

The houses are everything in them is the property of MET. Guests are expected to leave the property in the state it was when they arrived, Breakages must be reported and paid for. A deposit of Euro 50 is payable on collection of the keys. This will be refunded on vacation of the property if there are no damages.

Sighisoara offers a decent range of shops and is equidistant from the Malâncrav and Viscri areas. Medias is also useful for Malâncrav. Rupea is convenient for Viscri and has a market on Fridays.

English-speaking guides are available if booked in booked in advance - £ 20.00 per day. Horses can also be organised for riding though you must ensure you have adequate insurance if taking part in riding activities.

MET stock basic maps and a selection of useful books about the Saxons of Transylvania, and also a guide to walking in the region. Please contact MET direct for further information:
THE MIHAI EMINESCU TRUST, 63 Hillgate Place, London W8 7SS, Tel: 020 7229 7618; Fax: 020 7792 9998, www.mihaieminescutrust.org

We can offer a wide selection of tailor-made holidays based around the MET accommodation in Saxon Transylvania. In most villages a car would be useful due to their inaccessibility by public transport. However, we could offer transfers if you wanted to enjoy a completely stress-free holiday with walking, nature and fresh air! Guides can be organised and if necessary a day excursion to Sighisoara. You would need to consider full-board as shopping facilities in most villages are limited as outlined above. The following is a simple package based around scheduled flights and car hire.


o Return scheduled flights with British Airways from London Heathrow and airport taxes
o Car Hire for one week - Skoda Fabia 1.4 A/C - includes unlimited mileage, third party insurance, CDW, theft insurance & airport taxes
o 7 nights self-catering accommodation in the MET house at Cloasterf

COST: £ 429.00 per person (based on two people sharing)

Extra £ 60.00 per person fror Viscri, Crit or Malâncrav
Subject to flight availability; regional departures on request. Sometimes special offers enable us to secure lower prices.
Car hire based on high season (1 April - 31 August 2005); smaller car available but not recommended for unsurfaced roads

Experience a "Touch of Class" in Transylvania

Our popular TOUCH OF CLASS programme is based on private guesthouses, belonging to a forme
Transylvanian Count, in the tiny village of Miclosoara. This sustainable tourism project
provides a unique insight into the real Transylvania - the varied cultures of the
Hungarian-speaking Szeklers, the German-speaking "Saxons" and the Romanians
- interwoven with the history, architecture, natural history and scenic beauty of the region.
All activities and excursions are included, and are tailored to your own interests and requirements.

Click here for further details

Cristian (Grossau) / Cisnadie (Heltau)

Transylvania uncovered
is a Division of BCD Meetings & Incentives

1 Atkinson Court, Fell Foot, Newby Bridge, Cumbria, United Kingdom LA12 8NW
Tel. +44 (0)1539 531258 or UK local rate: 0845 3000 247; Email. [email protected]

ATOL 3319 - IATA 91267691

The air holidays and flights shown are ATOL protected by the Civil Aviation Authority. Our ATOL nrmber is ATOL 3319.
ATOL protection extends primarily to customers who book and pay in the United Kingdom.
Click on the ATOL logo if you want to know more.

Copyright © 2007 Transylvania Uncovered - the Romania Travel Specialists