About Prejmer Fortified Church
Prejmer Fortified Church is one of a series of UNESCO-listed historic churches in Romania, and is known for being the largest church of its kind in south eastern Europe.
Built from 1212, Prejmer Fortified Church was a construction of the Roman Catholic Teutonic knights. With its thick circular walls rising 40 feet, advanced weaponry and underground passageways, the church was heavily defended, demonstrating the turbulent nature of the region at the time.
Prejmer Fortified Church history
King Andrew II of Hungary gave the Teutonic knights permission to settler around Prejmer where in 1218 they began construction on a Gothic style church in a unique Greek cross plan then unseen in Romania. The Catholic order of the Cistercians took over Prejmer Fortified Church in 1240, finishing the building project.
The fortifications happened in several stages: 13th century 3 metre-thick walls were later heightened to 12 metres and gained a wall walk. Defence towers were built outside with a moat and accompanied by a 32 metre-long passageway with a portcullis. Prejmer Fortified Church could also host up to 1,600 villagers within rooms lining the inner circle of the defensive walls encasing the church itself.
However, the monks were chased away leaving the church to the local Saxon community who strengthened the church against attacks from the Turks and Tatars during the 15th and 16th centuries. The fortress was subject to 50 sieges – only one of which resulted in its capture in 1611, when the church was taken over by the Prince of Transylvania, Gabriel Báthori.
Prejmer Fortified Church today
Today, the perfectly-preserved church located in the heart of Transylvania provides a unique glimpse into how a medieval community fortified themselves against attack. Visitors can climb the many stairs to see some of the wall rooms, walking the corridors linking them to reach the battlements outside.
With entry only 15 RON, do not miss a chance to freely wander this incredible innovative site dotted with informative boards. Nearby you can also visit the fortified church of Harman.
Getting to Prejmer Fortified Church
Within the town of Prejmer, the church is just off the 112D road between Harman and Teliu. There is space for parking. On the Brasov – Bretcu and R train lines, the stop Ilieni is only a 18 minute walk from Prejmer Fortified Church. The regular Brasov – Prejmer bus also stops along Strada Mare, just minutes from the church.
Explore the impressive history of Romania in our guide to the 10 best historic sites to see, including the supposed home of Dracula at Bran Castle and the imposing Alba Iulia Fortress.