VILLAGES WITH FORTIFIED CHURCHES IN TRANSYLVANIA: ARCHITECTURE, HISTORY AND INTANGIBLE CULTURE
Keywords: Middle Age architecture, Conservation strategies, UNESCO World Heritage Site
Abstract. Romania's significant German (Saxon) heritage is perfectly conserved in southern Transylvania, where Saxons arrived in the mid-1100s from the Rhine and Moselle river regions. Highly respected for their skill and talent, this population succeeded in gaining administrative autonomy, a feat practically unrivalled through a feudal Europe of absolute monarchies. The result of almost nine centuries of existence of the Saxon (German) community in southern Transylvania is still visible today in a stunning melting pot of cultural and architectural heritage, unique in Europe. Within the framework of the project “3d Past, Living & virtual visiting European World Heritage” the set of 7 villages (Biertan, Câlnic, Dârjiu, Prejmer, Saschiz, Valea Viilor, Viscri) listed by UNESCO since 1993, have been studied in detail. Strategies for maintenance and conservation have been analysed in order to contribute to the awareness and preservation of the principles of authenticity and integrity of those sites.