The Saxon Village – a wealth of landscape and eight centuries of unique history

Over 6 years, I got to both know and love the rural landscape and Saxon villages in the south of Transylvania. Here is a unique area, one of the most special in Europe, unique, fragile and in great need of official protection and sustainable development. This remote Romanian region, full of legends and mystery and guarded since ancient times by its mountains, forests and brave locals, offers an image of the real Medieval countryside.

John Akeroyd ( botanist and English writer)

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The landscape presents remarkable historical characteristics: fortified churches, authentic villages and varied traditional agriculture in equilibrium a wealth of wild flora and fauna. This type of countryside has been lost almost everywhere else in Europe.

Transylvania is an agricultural treasure because it combines a wealth of wild fauna with the natural foods and quality produce of the local area. I believe that a place such as Transylvania could be an example for the whole world for the provision of ecological and healthy products.

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales

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These landscapes are historic yet timeless. Indeed, the Saxon village has a quality that inspires happiness, spiritual peace and fulfillment. The beautiful Saxon houses are brightly colored, well maintained and follow the ancient tracks and roadways. The atmosphere is of a fairytale, trees with white and pink flowers flanking old stone roadways, a small river babbling along the house fronts and the people resting and chatting on benches, watching the world, and us, go by in wonder.

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Careful conservation of the pre-industrial villages from Transylvania, where history is kept in all of its diversity, means adding to the European cultural heritage.

The Guardian Newspaper

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During the fall of Ceausescu’s Communist regime between December 1989 and spring 1990, half a million Saxons left Romania for West Germany, in what might be called the greatest ethnic migration of recent times in modern Europe. At least 90% of the ethnic Germans packed their bags and left the Saxon areas and eight centuries of histories behind them on the road to the west, this area of the country now being very little known. This great return was called, metaphorically, “coming back to the paternal land.

German Politician: Hans-Dietrich Genscher.

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In their wake, the Saxons left a deserted land, the size of Wales, populated with meadows of wild flowers, forests and bears. Dotted about, in this area, are tiny Medieval Saxon villages, with Lutheran churches, schools and handsome houses.

For 800 years, the Saxons kept their traditions intact, spoke in a German language similar to the old Luxembourg dialect and successfully used their conservatism to reduce the impact of Communism.

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The towns of Sibiu, Sighisoara, Brasov form a border that limits the south of Olt (Saxen Land), which is an area that contains the greatest concentration of fortified churches in all of Europe. It is known that over one hundred and fifty are kept. In other words, “Nowhere in the world can be found again so many fortified churches in such a small area.”

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The Saxons brought and defended European civilization to this margin of the world, constructed towns in their original French, Belgian and Saxon forms, cultivated the land, made business and handicrafts. Their qualities are to be admired: hard working, skilled in all they made, organized and practical. Having the vocation of civilization and construction, no others acheived as much as the Saxons in Medieval Romanina.

Transylvania would be unimaginable without Saxons: the oldest Transylvanian towns were built by them, the celebrated villages between Tarnave and Olt were inhabited by them, Transylvanian commerce and handicrafts were developed by them.

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