Top 5 Transylvanian Saxon Fortified Cities
5. Rosenau (Standard German)/Rusenå (Transylvanian Saxon dialect)
The Rosenau citadel (Romanian: Cetatea Râșnov) was built in 1215 by the Teutonic Knights. The German name of the citadel stems from the German word ‘rose’. During the 19th century, the Ancient Roman fort of Cumidava was discovered in the proximity of the citadel.
4. Mediasch (Standard German)/Medwesch (Transylvanian Saxon dialect)
The town was founded in 1146 by the Transylvanian Saxons, being thus one of the oldest cities in Transylvania. Mediasch received the ‘civitas’ (city in Latin) status during the 14th century.
It is the hometown of Stephan Ludwig Roth, a Transylvanian Saxon scholar who argued in the 19th century that Romanian should have been the official language of Transylvania.
Additionally, he also supported a strengthening of the German element in Transylvania, encouraging potential colonists to settle down. The city is also known for the local football team C.S. Gaz Metan Mediaș. It is located in south-eastern Transylvania, in the Sibiu county.
3. Schäßburg (Standard German)/Schäsbrich (Transylvanian Saxon dialect)
Schäßburg is one of the most oldest cities in Transylvania. It is reputed for being the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler (often erroneously depicted as ‘Dracula’ in popular culture), a Wallachian prince during the Middle Ages. The historical centre of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1999. Major touristic attractions include the Clock Tower, the Dracula house or the historical city centre.
2. Hermannstadt (Standard German)/Härmeschtat (Transylvanian Saxon dialect)
A reputed touristic attraction and former European Capital of Culture in 2007, Hermannstadt (Romanian: Sibiu) is the most important Transylvanian Saxon settlement in the area. The city was ranked 8th by Forbes in a top of most idyllic places to live in Europe.
1. Kronstadt (Standard German)/Kruhnen (Transylvanian Saxon dialect)
Kronstadt (which in German means ‘crown city’) was built by the Teutonic Knights during the round of the 13th century. The crusaders were given land by the then King of Hungary Andrew II in the region of Burzenland (Romanian: Țara Bârsei), southern Transylvania. Being initially a crusader stronghold, Kronstadt was initially designed as a seat of the Teutonic Knights but it later on went to be one of the most significant urban centres of the Transylvanian Saxons.
In spite of the fact that the Teutonic Knights were evicted from the fortress in 1225, the German colonists (stemming from Rhineland, Flanders and Moselle from modern day Germany, Luxembourg and Belgium) remained in the city and subsequently developed it. The principal demand of the Kings of Hungary toward the Transylvanian Saxons for the right of possessing land in Transylvania was to protect the eastern frontiers of the Kingdom of Hungary.
The city is also reputed for its Gothic cathedral, the Black Church (Die Schwarze Kirche in German) which is the largest Gothic chatedral in Eastern Europe. Additionally, the two other largest ones are also located in Transylvania: the second one built in Klausenburg (Romanian: Cluj) and the third one in Schäßburg (Romanian: Sighișoara).
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