The Clock Tower located in the Biertan Fortified Church.

Explore The Transylvanian Village of Biertan

Published on October 22, 2023 by Zoltan Nyaradi

The village of Biertan is another important objective located in the heart of the historical region of Transylvania. Almost in the middle of the village you will find the old medieval fortified church. Also it’s important to mention that this village it’s closely tied to the Transylvanian Saxons, a group of German people who settled in the area in the 12th century. They brought their skills and a strong sense of community with them, and this helped Biertan to grow.

The village is one of the most picturesque villages in Transylvania, proudly holding a place in UNESCO’s National Heritage, yearly it is visited by thousands of tourists from all over the world.

How to reach Biertan?

If you are driving from the small city of Medias on DN14, you will have to make a right turn in the village of Saros pe Tarnave and after that you will have to continue driving on DJ141 until you reach Biertan. From Medias to Biertan by car you will make approximately 30 minutes.

Let’s explore this Saxon village

Once you will arrive in Biertan, you can leave your car in a paid parking place located close to the fortified church while you visit the village. Besides the old medieval fortified church, you can visit the beautiful Saxon houses in the village with their unique architecture.

Saxon house in the village.
Old traditional Saxon houses in Biertan
Another beautiful examples of traditional houses.
Another example of traditional Saxon house next to the Gate Tower.
Two houses with different roof heights.
A smaller and a taller house.
Green house next the fortified church.
Green house with a large wooden gate.

If you decided to make a shorter walk around the fortified church then you can easily spot the 3 different fortification walls which surrounds the entire church.

The fortification walls which surrounds the church.
3 fortification walls with the old church in the background on the photo.

Let’s explore the fortified church

Very close to the Unglerus restaurant you will find the main entrance, don’t forget that you will have to pay for a ticket in order to visit the place. After that you can go directly to the upper part of the fortified church under the covered wooden stairway.

The covered stairway.
The covered stairway will take you up to the church.

One of the most important things to see in Biertan, is the fortified church, which is a prime example of Transylvanian Saxon architecture. This big building was constructed in the 14th century. The fortified church is not only a place of worship but also a fortress which used to protect the villagers from dangers and attackers. The fortified church has 3 fortification walls with medieval towers and bastions which helped to increase the protection. In the center of the fortified church, built on a smaller hill, you will find the old gothic Lutheran church.

Exterior photo of the old church.
The exterior of the old church.

The Catholic Tower is located in the southern part of the fortifications. In the tower’s lower level, there used to be a chapel that was painted with frescoes. This chapel was used by people who didn’t want to change to the new Protestant beliefs during the Reformation.

The Catholic Tower.
The Catholic Tower

A long time ago, In the Eastern Bastion there was a so called “prison” for married couples who don’t get along each other. The story goes that the couples where locked in the prison until they resolved their issues and get along each other.

The matrimonial prison in the fortified church.
The matrimonial prison located in the Eastern Bastion.

Close to the Eastern Bastion, you will find the Mausoleum Tower where you will find the headstones of the priests who built the church.

The Mausoleum Tower.
The Mausoleum Tower.

Inside the church

The Biertan Church boasts Transylvania’s largest and most breathtaking Polyptych altarpiece. This magnificent altar comprises many panels with exquisite depictions of key moments in the lives of Jesus.

The altar inside to old church.
The altar.

Admire the village from the fortified church

If you take a walk around the old church, you will have many opportunities to admire the old traditional houses and of course the surrounding landscape as well.

A part of the village of Biertan.
A part of the village including the green hills which surrounds Biertan.
The school.
The school and other buildings near the main square.

After exploring the upper part of the fortified church, it was time to head down to the lower part on a path which starts right under the Clock Tower. A part of the path was made between the fortification walls.

Paved path between the fortification walls.
A paved path between the fortification walls which will take you to the Gate Tower.
The Gate Tower.
The Gate Tower.

On my way back from the Gate Tower, the path will take you right next to the Clock Tower, so it was the perfect opportunity to capture this iconic tower.

The Clock Tower.
The Clock Tower in Biertan.

Serving a coffee before leaving

Before leaving the village of Biertan, in order to recharge your batteries you can drink a very good coffee at Unglerus Medieval Restaurant which is right near the main entrance into the fortified church. So if are searching for a good place to drink a coffee or the eat a tasty traditional food than I highly recommend this restaurant.

The fortified church and the Unglerus medieval restaurant.
The fortified church with the Unglerus medieval restaurant next to the Clock Tower.

What can you explore nearby?

The village of Biertan is a great starting point for exploring other important attractions around it. Nearby, you can find:

Sibiu: This city is famous for its well-preserved medieval buildings and lively cultural scene.

Sighisoara: This medieval town is where Vlad the Impaler (the inspiration for Count Dracula) was born. It’s a fascinating place with a historic citadel. The objective is actually the closest one to Biertan.

Viscri: Another village with a fortified church, Viscri is known for its rustic beauty and traditional feel. It’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Malancrav: In this village you can visit the Lutheran church and the Apafi manor.