• Registration Year


  • Registered Sector

    The Villages with Fortified Churches in Transylvania

  • Historical Function

    Defense and religion.

Location and site

Situated in Transylvania, within the Carpathian Crescent, Biertan was built in the midst of undulating hills with slopes covered with vineyards and orchards. The city itself is constructed at the foot of a small hill.

Urban Morphology

Biertan's church surmounts a small hill. The three successive fortifications surrounding it, reinforced with towers and bastions, constitute its defense system. The city developed at the foot of this fortified ensemble. The urban grid, which is made up of streets varying in width and opening onto the central square, was developed between the 13th and the 19th century and is very well preserved today.

The church, which is of late Gothic styling, constitutes the heart of the city and its fortifications. Renaissance and Baroque contributions, originating in Western and Central Europe, date respectively to the 16th-17th centuries and to the 18th century. The brick walls of the church are roughcast and painted, and certain structures are in stone. Numerous buildings erected in the 16th and 18th centuries are located around the central square. Dwellings with tile roofs contribute to the harmony of the ensemble.

Registration Criteria

The city of Biertan is an exceptional example of a community founded by the Saxons of Transylvania composed of an urban structure, numerous early dwellings and the most well-preserved fortified church in the region. (IV)

Historical Reference

  • In the 12th and 13th centuries, the kings of Hungary called upon the Saxons of northwestern Germany to colonise a part of Transylvania and exploit its mineral riches. Urban life had progressively disappeared in the region since the withdrawal of the Roman legions under Emperor Aurelius in 271.
  • In 1397, Biertan attained the status of a fortified city (oppidum), and then the right of the sword (jus gladii).
  • In the 16th century, the Reform, under Lutheran form, gained the support of the Saxons of Transylvania. The present-day church, surrounded by a 14th-century defensive enclosure, was constructed in the 16th century. An earlier church had occupied the site.
  • To resist the Ottoman drive, the Saxons of Transylvania erected fortresses around the churches in a manner that would allow their transformation into hideouts. In Biertan, a second enclosure, contemporary with the church, was erected at the foot of the hill, and a third one was constructed on three sides of the city at the end of the 16th century and the beginning of the 17th century.
  • Between 1572 and 1867, Biertan was the seat of the Lutheran episcopate of Transylvania. Numerous tombstones provide reminders of its bishops.
Mr. Mircea-Mihai Dragomir
Primaria Comunei Biertan
1 Decembrie 1918 , nr. 19
557045 Biertan, Sibiu, Romania