Baráthely, fortified church

Photo: Zsolt Deák

The fortified church of Baráthely (Brateiu, Pretai) is located in Transylvania, it is a Saxon settlement. It is in Romania. The village is in the valley of the Nagy-Küküllő River and it is just 5 km from Medgyes (Medwisch, Medias). The place is famous for its magnificent Gothic fortified church.

The Saxons were first mentioned there in 1283 when the church was devoted to Saint Mary Magdolna and it was built on a hill they called „Maons Mariae”. The church was rebuilt in the 15th century when they curved two pillar heads, one of them was a cat’s head while the other was a woman. The sanctuary was built in the late Gothic style. The murals of the northern wall have been revealed, we can see the three kings visiting Jesus Christ in Bethlehem and there is a number painted on a ribbon where we can read „1481”. The other parts of the fresco tell us a chronicle in the late 16th-century style, it displays events from the birth of Adam and Eve till the escape of Voivode Radu V who fled to Transylvania.

Photo: Tetcu Mircea Rares

The altar was made in the first part of the 16th century. The bell tower is from the middle of the 15th century just like the main gate under it. The gaps on it were walled in the age of the Ottoman threat for fortification.

Photo: Tetcu Mircea Rares

They fortified the walls and the tower around 1,500 AD. The outer wall was built at that time, too. There are two strong towers, one of them five stories high. The third bastion and a wall section were pulled down in 1906.  The inhabitants of the village used to be Saxons, although some Romanians were mentioned in 1532. Until the end of the 19th century, there were very few Hungarians, Székelys, or Jews there, 90% of the people were Saxons.

Photo: Tetcu Mircea Rares

Here is a short video about it:

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Photo: Tetcu Mircea Rares

Here are more pictures of Baráthely:

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