Photo: Țetcu Mircea Rareș

Alsóbajom ( Boian, Bonnesdorf) is a Saxon settlement in Transylvania, Seben County, it is in Romania. It is 20 km from Medgyes (Medias) to the southwest. It was first mentioned as Villa Boneti in 1309. The fortified church of the settlement can be found in the middle of the village.

It used to be a settlement of the Saxon peasants of Küküllő County, belonging to Küküllő Castle. The priest of the settlement is listed in a document from 1309 because he refused to pay the one-tenth tax to the church so he got excommunicated. The village was gifted to Vizaknai Miklós, Vice-Voivode of Transylvania in 1447.  The Vice-Voivode passed it on to Ludbregi György in 1452. However, we can find the village listed among the properties of Küküllővár Castle again in 1462 and in 1507 as well. At that time, it belonged to Lady Affra, daughter of Vizaknai Miklós, and Miklós, son of Ferenc. (I’m using the Eastern name order for Hungarians.)

Photo: Țetcu Mircea Rareș

Nevertheless, between 1462 and 1507 it was the Hungarian King Matthias Corvinus who gifted the village in 1489 to Voivode Stephan III of Moldova as fiefs. Today, the coat of arms of Moldavia appears in the church and on the gate tower. The place went to Voivode Petru Rares in 1529. This ownership lasted until the reign of Alexandru Lăpuşneanu when the princes of Transylvania decided to reclaim the village. 

Photo: Andrei Kokelburg

Alsóbajom is famous for its Lutheran church which was built in 1402 on the top of a former church from the 14th century. The church had to withstand Ottoman attacks so it was mended and was fortified in 1506. The Gothic arch of the church has the date „1518“ on it. There are some scant remains of a previous fresco inside the church. The church was surrounded by a wall in the second part of the 16th century. The bigger bell was cast in 1477 and we can read this text on it: O REX GLORIAE VENI CUM PACEM while the smaller one was made in 1644 and its script says VERBUM DOMINI MANET IN ETERNUM .

Photo: Țetcu Mircea Rareș

Later, the church suffered more Ottoman assaults and it was repaired in 1766. When the Saxon population was “purchased” in 1975 by Germany, the Germans left the village. It was after this that the inner ornaments disappeared from the church, most likely stolen by the new inhabitants. Fortunately, the main altar (made in 1490 for the Virgin Mary) had been rescued in time to the Bruckenthal Museum of Nagyszeben (Sibiu) where it is on display. Now, the church is about to collapse.

Photo: Danagrad

The outer wall of the church is 6-meter-high and you can see two rows of loopholes, meaning that two ramparts were fixed behind them. The gate tower is also in very bad condition. One can only hope that the former German inhabitants could join forces and save this remarkable building.

Here is a short video about the church:

Photo: Plinul-cel-tanar


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