Calnic (Kelling): The Fortified Church (Biserica Fortificata)

UNESCO România
Mănăstiri Transilvania
Transilvania
    UNESCO România
    Mănăstiri Transilvania
    Transylvania


 

Calnic – an UNESCO world heritage monument from Transylvania

 

Built in the 13th century by Count Chyl de Kelling, the Fortified Church at Calnic (German: Kelling) is one of the most imposing defensive structures in Transylvania, consisting of massive walls around a big rectangular inhabited keep, an oval precinct with a tower on the southern side and a gate-tower on the northern side, completed with a moat. Built around the year 1200 and mentioned in a 1269 document, the fortress served as a residence for Saxon nobility until 1430, when it was sold to the peasant community of Calnic. Enclosed by one and a half rings of high walls fortified with a defensive tower to the south and a gate tower to the north, the fortress withstood several Ottoman sieges. Its defense system was completed in the 16th century when a small Romanesque chapel, surrounding walls and a water ditch were added by the Calnic community. The five-story-high Siegfried Tower, the landmark of the fortress, is endowed with defensive corridors and firing windows. An on-site medieval art museum displays various artifacts.

 

The peasant fortress of Calnic located on a promontory surrounded by a river at one end of the village plays a particular role in Transylvanian Saxon history. The combination between a Saxon noble residence marked by the keep of the fortress and the fortifications built up by peasants marked by the stores attached to the wall makes it different among the other fortified churches. In the second half of the 13th century, when the residence tower was erected, a rectangular building was raised too, over which, later on, was added a chapel. Peasants started to build a new wall, to fortify the gate-tower by a barbican and to build a chapel in the courtyard, on the ruins of the former construction. Inside the church are valuable fragments of a fresco from the beginning of the 16th century, a wooden stand (from 1733) decorated with panels. The panels were painted in the floral Renaissance style, inspired from folk art. Not far from the fortress is a former parish built in the 15th century.

 

Of large proportions, the Dungeon at Calnic, also called the Siegfried’s Tower, was built with raw stone, and has a quadrilateral plan (12.25 x 8.85 m). Its walls are 1 m thick. Formerly 14 m high, it is 20 m now. The cellar ground-floor and the first floor, which served as a residence house, were vaulted in a semicircular shape, while the other two floors were provided with a ceiling. The third floor, provided with battlements was very low, whereas the fourth one made a fortified room. The restoration works in 1962-1964 evinced a window framing featuring the early Gothic style and having the arch of each section three-cusped. Over it, there is a trefoil with tracery profiles.

 

The precinct of the Fortress is encircled by a wall of an almost semicircular shape, about 7 m tall. The wall is broken by the Tower which is oriented towards north. The defense system of the Fortress included also a 3-4 m wide moat that surrounded its walls, being supplied with water from a near-by brook. Entrance to the Gate Tower is made through a vaulted covered walk equipped with a kind of grill-gate ended in stakes which, pulled down swiftly, would isolate the besiegers vanguard from the bulk of their army.

 

After 1430, Johann Gereb of Vingard, the last descendant of the Kelling noble family, sold the fortress to the Saxon villagers at Calnic. Eight years later, sultan Murad the 2nd conquered the fortress without being opposed any resistance. Soon afterwards the villagers strengthened the fortress by building onto the precinct’s walls cells for provisions arranged on three floors. During the 16th century, the villagers encircled the fortress with a second defense wall strengthened by a barbican and by the Gate Tower. They also raised Siegfried’s Dungeon, which is 20 m high, in order to ensure a better defense system. The Chapel of the precinct is made of a rectangular room and a semicircular apse towards east, separated by a triumphant arch. The portal on its western side is carved in grit stone and is typical of the late Gothic style.

 

On the alley uphill, passing by the parish there is the Evangelic Church in the middle of a graveyard. The church on the hill was built in the 15th century by the Saxon community and was changed many times during the 19th century. Nowadays the church has a neo-gothic look. Still, it keeps a lot of elements from the original construction: two tabernacles and the sacristy’s portal in the Baroque style and two painted baroque pews from the second half of the 18th century.

Calnic – un monument din Transilvania inclus in lista patrimoniului mondial UNESCO

 

Construita in secolul 13 de Contele Chyl de Kelling, Biserica Fortificata de la Calnic (in germana: Kelling) are una din cele mai impunatoare structuri defensive din Transilvania, formata din ziduri masive care inconjoara un spatiu mare rectangular locuit, o incinta ovala, cu un turn pe latura de sud, și o poartă-turn pe latura de nord, completate cu un șanț. Construita în jurul anului 1200 și menționată într-un document din 1269, biserica cetate a servit ca resedintă pentru nobilimea saxonă până în 1430, cand a fost vandută comunitatii taranesti din Calnic. Înconjurată de un inel de ziduri si incă o jumatate de inel de fortificatii din ziduri inalte flancate de un turn de apărare la sud si un turn poartă la nord, biserica cetate a rezistat multor asedii otomane. Sistemul sau defensiv a fost completat in secolul 16 cand o mică capelă romanică, ziduri inconjuratoare si santuri adanci cu apa au fost adaugate de către comunitatea din Calnic. Turnul Siegfried inalt de cinci etaje, reper al cetății, este inzestrat cu coridoare de apărare si ferestre de tragere. Un muzeu de arta medievala expune diverse obiecte.

 

Cetatea țărănească de la Calnic situată pe un promontoriu înconjurat de un râu, la un capăt al satului, joacă un rol special în istoria sașilor din Transilvania. Combinatia dintre o resedinta nobila săsească marcată adăpostul oferit de fortăreată si dintre sistemul de fortificatii construit de tărani marcată de depozitele lipite de ziduri o face sa difere de celelalte biserici fortificate. In a doua jumătate a secolului 13, cand turnul de resedintă a fost ridicat, o cladire rectangulară a fost construită, deasupra căreia, mai tarziu, a fost adaugată o capela. Tăranii au inceput să construiască un nou zid, pentru a fortifica turnul-poartă cu o barbacana si pentru a construi o capelă in interior, pe ruinele unei foste constructii. Inăuntrul bisericii sunt fragmente de mare valoare ale unei fresce de la inceputul secolului 16, un altar din lemn (din 1733) decorat cu icoane. Icoanele au fost pictate in stilul floral renascentist, inspirat din arta populară. Nu departe de fortareata se afla o fosta biserica parohială construită in secolul 15.

 

De mari proportii, Cetatea de la Calnic, numita si Turnul lui Siegfried, a fost construita in piatra bruta, si are un plan rectangular (12.25 m x 8.85 m). Zidurile sale sunt de 1 m grosime. Initial de 14 m inaltime, a ajuns sa aibe la final 20 m. Pivnitele, parterul si primul etaj, care au servit ca resedinta pentru nobilii sasi, au fost construite cu bolti de forma semicirculara, in timp ce celelalte doua etaje au fost construite cu tavan. Etajul al treilea, prevăzut cu metereze era foarte jos, in timp ce etajul al patrulea a fost construit ca o camera fortificata. Lucrarile de restaurare din 1962-1964 au evidențiat un cadru al unei ferestre cu elemente ale stilului gotic timpuriu si avand arcul fiecărei secțiuni trilobat. Deasupra lui se afla un trifoi cu patru foi.

 

Incinta Cetății este înconjurată de un zid de o formă aproape semicirculară, de aproximativ 7 m inaltime. Zidul este fragmentat de turnul care este orientat spre nord. Sistemul de apărare a cetătii au inclus, de asemenea, si un șanț larg de 3-4 m care a înconjurat zidurile sale, alimentat cu apa de la un parau din apropiere. Intrarea in Turnul Portii se face printr-un zid cu boltă in care se află un fel de poarta grilaj mobila care, coborata brusc, izola avangarda asediatorilor de restul armatei.

 

Dupa 1430, Johann Gereb de Vingard, ultimul descendent al familiei de nobili Kelling, a vandut fortareata catre satenii sasi din Calnic. Opt ani mai tarziu, sultanul Murad al 2-lea a cucerit fortareata fara a intampina nici o rezistenta. La scurt timp dupa aceea satenii au intarit fortareata constrund in incinta zidurilor depozite pentru provizii desfasurate pe trei etaje. De-a lungul secolului 16, sătenii au inconjurat fortareata cu un al doilea zid de apărare intărit de o barbacană si de un Turn al Portii. Ei au ridicat de asemenea si Turnul lui Siegfried, de 20 m inăltime, pentru a avea un sistem de apărare mai bun. Capela din incintă este formată dintr-o cameră rectangulară cu o absida semicirculară spre est, separată de un arc triumfal. Porticul din partea de vest este sculptat in piatră dură si este specific stilului gotic tarziu.

 

Pe aleea care urca pe deal, traversand parohia, se afla o biserica evanghelică in mijlocul unui cimitir. Biserica de pe deal a fost construita in secolul 15 de comunitatea săsească si a fost schimbata de multe ori in secolul 19. In prezent biserica are un aspect neo-gotic. Insa ea inca pastrează multe din elementele de la constructia originală: două tabernacole si porticul sacristiei in stil baroc si două strane pictate in stil baroc din a doua jumătate a secolului 18.

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