Bázna / Felsőbajom
Bázna (Felsőbajom, Bazna, Baiumul de Sus, Baassen, Ober-Bassen, Saxon Baußen) is a village in Romania, in the county of Szeben (Sibiu). It is famous for its German Saxon fortified church.
The village is located in a north-westerly direction from Medgyes and is reached by turning off the 14A road to Dicsőszentmárton at Balázstelke (Blãjel). It is just 9 km from Medgyes, and it is separated from the town by mountains of 5-600 meters.
The exact date of its foundation is unknown. However, it was a free village of the German Saxons, built in the 13th century in the Medgyes Seat Area. Presumably, the community was founded from neighboring Bonnesdorf, in the period between 1260 and 1270 – there is no proof of this, however.
A document from 1302 has been preserved which confirms the donation of the parish by the Hungarian King IstvánStefan V (1270-1272) to Comes Bozouch, son of Inok. Count Bozouch remained childless and bequeathed the community to the Gyulafehérvár chapter before his death, about which the aforementioned document was drawn up in 1302. In the Latin document, the parish is called “Bozna”, and the same name is used for the parish.
Later it was mentioned as Bazna in 1328, and Bayon in 1587. Its centuries-long border dispute with the Völc began in 1359, and in 1415 they brought it before King Zsigmond (Sigismund) of Hungary, who was at that time in the Council of Constance. The case was not finally settled until 1850.
In 1698 it was inhabited by 29 Saxons and seven Romanian peasants, two Saxon servants, eight Saxon widows, and four Romanian shepherds. Its Romanian inhabitants converted to Greek Catholicism in 1810. In the 19th and 20th centuries, its Saxon inhabitants made wide-brimmed straw hats and knitted brooms from buckwheat straw as a cottage industry.
The 15th-century Saxon Lutheran fortress church stands on a small hill in the village. Its oval defensive wall is reinforced by a massive square gate tower. Its tower has three bells, one of which dates from the late 14th century, another from the mid to late 15th century, and the third from 1455. It was burnt by the anti-Habsburg Kuruc troops in 1704 and damaged by an earthquake in 1880.
High stairs lead up to the gate tower of the church, which is also a bell tower. The oval fortress walls are only 2 m high and two bastions still stand. The first church was probably built at the turn of the 12th and 13th centuries, the construction of the present church began in the 14th century (in 1328 its parish priest was János, son of Henrik) and, according to the sacristy, was completed by 1504.
The sanctuary was topped by a three-level fortification, and the exterior of the church was also protected by strong retaining walls. A polygonal rampart was also built around the church, which was demolished to half its height in 1873. The church was originally built as a single nave, supported on four pairs of internal columns, covered by a late Gothic vault.
Its straight-arched, cross-vaulted sanctuary was rebuilt after the earthquake of 1880. The windows on the south side of the sanctuary are pointed-arched, while on the east side, there are two round-arched windows. The diaducal arch is also pointed.
On the south wall of the sanctuary, there is a double semicircular priest’s chair. Of the two sanctuaries in the church, the older is on the east wall of the sanctuary, and the newer is on the north. It is decorated with a crown of thorns in the shape of a relief of Christ.
On the shoulder of its larger bell, the minuscule inscription names the patron saint of the church, St Nicholas: “in honore (!) Sancti Nicolai”. The inscription is headed by a crucifixion plaque, the words are separated by the following medals in order: writing evangelist, enthroned king, evangelist before the lectern. According to the type of script, the bell is contemporary with the baptismal basin of the Black Church in Brassó (1472 ). On the side, two rows of unframed minuscule inscriptions in a spiral line can be seen:
“Bened(i)ctus.sit puius campine(!)sonus In no(m)i(n)e p(at)ris et fily et sp(irit)us s(an)cti ame(n) ca(m)pane destruatque aura(s) nociuas sancte t(r)in(i)tatis virtus.”
The central bell is decorated with vines and has a majuscule inscription on the shoulder: + O REX. GLORIE + VENI. It was cast at the end of the 14th century in a workshop in Szeben.
Inscription on the smallest bell is the next: “o rex glorie veni cum pace anno d(omi)ni mo ccc luo.” (1455 ) The words are separated by lilies, made in an unknown Transylvanian workshop.
Its medicinal springs were first mentioned in 1672 as “burning water”. What happened was that shepherds burnt the dry winter reeds and one of the springs caught fire. Between 1762 and 1779, Andreas Caspari studied their waters. In 1837, it was recorded that on hot summer days, the methane in the water began to flame. Later, the gas from the pools was piped to the main square and used to light up perpetual violets. A limited company was formed to build the spa in 1843 and by 1845 it had 647 guests.
From then on it was one of the most important bathing places in Transylvania. In 1877 it became the property of the Breckner family, but the heirs neglected it, so in 1905 the local Lutheran church took it over and developed it further. In 1908, 731 guests visited it. Of these, 354 were women, 243 men, and 134 children, of whom 358 were Hungarians, 260 Saxons (half of them farmers from the surrounding villages), 83 Romanians, and 30 Jews. The bathing staff consisted of 30 people. Some of the bathers were accommodated by local Saxon families. The hillside to the east of the baths was planted with pine trees in 1910. After nationalization in 1946, a large restaurant was built to cater to the new demand for mass tourism, but by the 1980s the baths had fallen into disrepair.
After 1870, a cross between the Mangalica and the English Berkshire pig was bred to produce the Bázna pig, which had a black stripe around the front legs and a light stripe across the front and spread throughout Transylvania after the First World War. In 1903, the Breckner family, who rented the baths, set up a salt distillery, which was soon bought by the Budapest company Édeskuty, which marketed the iodized brine produced there under the Victoria brand.
Test drilling for natural gas began in 1912. In 1914, a drilling probe caved in the ground, creating a crater 10 meters in diameter and 14 meters deep. The crater filled with water and became a bathing place for the children of Bázna. Soon after, gas exploitation began. In 1938, 19 072 km³ of gas were produced.
It belonged to Medgyesszék, from 1876 to the Hosszúaszó district of Kis-Küküllő county, from 1878 to the Dicsőszentmárton district. In 1922, the Evangelical Church built a brick factory, which was nationalized when the communists took power. Its first Romanian mayor took office in 1936. In 1946, fifty-six Romanian settler families were moved into the houses of Saxons deported to the Soviet Union, mainly from the two Küküllő regions and some families from Moldavia.
In 1723 there were 60 Saxon and 16 Romanian heads of families living in the settlement.
In 1850, 687 of its 1133 inhabitants were of German, 315 of Romanian, and 131 of Gypsy nationality; 687 were Evangelical, and 446 were Greek Catholic.
In 1900, 927 of its 1456 inhabitants were German, 515 Romanian, and 14 of Hungarian; 927 were Evangelical, 508 were Greek Catholic, and 12 were Reformed.
In 2002, 1,076 of its 1,727 inhabitants were Romanian, 518 Gypsy, 110 Hungarian, and 20 German; 1,448 were Orthodox, 87 Pentecostal, 80 were Reformed, 54 were Baptist, and 31 were Evangelical.
Sources: Wikipedia and http://www.kutyahon.de/erdelyi.templomok/bazna/
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