Kaca (Photo: Lapidum)

Kaca (Romanian Cața, German Katzendorf) is a village in Brassó County, Romania, Transylvania. It lies 67 km southeast of Segesvár (Sighisoara) and 55 km northeast of Fogaras, on the right bank of the Nagy-Homoród where the Pálosi streams join it.

Kaca (Photo: Lapidum)

Due to the lack of written sources and archaeological excavations, it is not known whether there was a Hungarian, Székely settlement here before the arrival of the German Saxons. It is more likely that the settlement was founded by the Saxons in the 13th century. In 1299 the settlement was mentioned in documents as “Villa Felium”. Around 1400 it was mentioned in a document (ecclesiastical tax list) as the village of Kőhalom.

Kaca (Photo: Lapidum)

In the year 1453, Kaca was a free village in the area of Nagyszeben (Sibiu). The remarkable church fortress was built relatively early, in the second half of the 15th century, to defend against the Turkish raiding troops that often invaded Transylvania.

Kaca (Photo: Lapidum)

The fortified church

The fortified church of St. Miklós was built as a three-nave basilica in the middle of the 13th century, in the 1250s. This is confirmed by the preserved Romanesque stylistic elements: the semicircular double windows on both sides of the nave, the southern priest’s entrance (later the sacristy door), and the arcades of the nave resting on Romanesque pillars. The semi-circular triumphal arch has a simple cornice at waist level.

Kaca (Photo: Lapidum)

After 1400, the Romanesque semicircular apse of the sanctuary was transformed into a Gothic sanctuary with multiple vaults and a new cross vault on the south side. Two pointed arch windows were cut into the southern wall of the sanctuary, and a framed window was cut into the eastern wall.

Kaca (Photo: Lapidum)

In the 15th century, the nave was also cross-vaulted instead of the Romanesque flat ceiling, but with a simple ribbed ceiling; the nave and aisles were separated by three semicircular arches supported by rectangular columns. The doorways of the aisles are semicircular.

Kaca (Photo: Lapidum)

The inner wall of the church fortress and the four towers were built in the 15th century on the site of earlier walls. The irregular oval masonry was about 8 meters high. The old entrance to the four-story western tower was surmounted by a wooden portico. To the north, another four-story tower was added to the inner wall. Around 1500, a tower was built in the northeast, the last floor of which rests on stone consoles and was equipped with loopholes.

Kaca (Source: Ivo Stránský)

After the Crimean Tatar raid in 1658, a second enclosure wall was built on the south side of the church fortress. It was built as a pentagonal residential tower. Three of the 4 stories were heated. The tower was decorated with blue-white-red colored trim. In 1677, the Pfarrerturm Tower was built in the southeastern corner of the outer wall, with an ambulatory and a pyramidal roof.

Kaca (Photo: Lánczi Imre) Script: Die Lebenden rufe, die Toten beklage ich Az élőket hívom, a holtakat siratom / I call the living, and mourn the dead

Its three wall cavities contain Latin and German parables and information about the year of construction. In 1717 the castle walls were repaired and in 1781 the bell tower was renovated. Thirty-seven years later, the southern tower and the eastern part of the outer walls were demolished. In 1818 and 1826 two towers were repaired (one of them the parish tower). In 1884 the whole northeastern part of the northern tower and the outer wall were demolished to build a new school.

Kaca (Source: Benő Gyula)

The church building has undergone numerous alterations throughout its history. A wooden parapet was built in 1711.
In 1860, the western stone parapet was demolished. A sacristy was built on the south side. Between 1860 and 1864 extensive repairs were made to the interior of the church.

Kaca (Photo: Lapidum)

The most extensive rebuilding was in 1894, when one of its towers collapsed, causing serious damage to the building. The vault of the nave, the side aisles, and the western doorway collapsed. The western façade was rebuilt. Instead of the tower and the western nave, the church received a new western nave, a new porch, and a side staircase. The Gothic vault was replaced by a flat stucco ceiling. A simple portal was added to the west facade. In 1926, the architect Karl Schneiner, famous for his colorful constructions, painted the church.

Kaca (Photo: Lapidum)

In 1897, 650 gold pieces were paid to repair the east tower, which needed renovation. The remaining part of the outer wall was demolished in 1926-1927 and the northern tower of the outer wall in 1984-1985.

Now, the curtain wall of the church is in a poor state of repair but two huge towers still stand. Only one tower of its outer wall remained.

Kaca (Photo: Lánczi Imre)

The history of the settlement

In 1505 the first written mention of the village appeared under the name of Kachai, which is similar to the present name. Its medieval population became Lutheran during the Reformation. In 1658 the Crimean Tatars and Turks burned down the village. The fortified walls around the church couldn’t protect the inhabitants. In the following years, the village was destroyed by fire three more times (1683, 1706, and 1749).

Kaca (Photo: Lapidum)

In 1684 the troops returning from the siege of Vienna looted the church fortress and stole 337 horses. During Rákóczi’s War of Independence, the Kuruc troops camped in the village were unexpectedly attacked at night by the pro-Habsburg Labanc soldiers and many of them were killed.

Kaca (Photo: Lánczi Imre)

In 1910 it had 1343 German, Romanian, Gypsy, and Hungarian inhabitants. Until the Treaty of Trianon, it belonged to the Kőhalmi district of Nagy-Küküllő county. In 1992, its population, including the 2,491 inhabitants, was 1,034 Romanians, 808 Hungarians, 608 Gypsies, and 41 Germans.

Sources: Hungarian Wikipedia and Karczag Ákos – Szabó Tibor: Erdély. Partium és a Bánság erődített helyei. Budapest, 2012. 664-665.

Kaca (Photo: Lapidum)

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