Gyergyószentmiklós (Gheorgheni, Niklasmarkt) is in Transylvania, it is in Romania. It is famous for its Armenian fortified church. The walls were built in 1743, a long time after the Ottomans had been driven out from Hungary but it is remarkable how the people were still afraid of occasional raids.
Gyergyószentmiklós used to be the administrative center of the Székelys’ Gyergyószék District, as part of the traditional Székely Land. It is located 59 km from Csíkszereda (Miercurea Ciuc, Szeklerburg) to the northwest. Its church was dedicated to Saint Miklós (Nicholas) as can be guessed from its name. The church is surrounded by a crenelated and fortified wall that now includes the fifteen Stations of the Cross.
The settlement dates back to the 13th century and it was first mentioned in 1332. The small but flourishing market town received a right to hold markets in 1607. A significant number of Armenian people settled in the place in 1637 who kept their own rituals but joined the Roman Catholic Church in 1687.
There was a smaller stone chapel from 1450 on the site of today’s church which could be seen in 1613 when a Roman Catholic parish priest had established a cemetery for foreigners behind the old Gothic chapel. The chapel was pulled down in 1650 and another was built there from stone. Prince Apafi Mihály of Transylvania allowed the Armenian settlers to come to the Principality in greater numbers from Moldova because they had been fleeing from the terrible destruction caused by Pasha Achmed there. The Prince welcomed these diligent tradesmen and craftsmen and settled them at several places in Transylvania.
Very unluckily, one of the last raids of the Tatars destroyed the city in 1716. No wonder they needed a strong wall after this experience. The church that we can see now was built between 1730 and 1734 by the initiation of Simon Theodorovich.
They used the stones of the old chapel to build the thick walls which were 3.5 meters high. The walls were fortified with two small towers as well. Here is a short video of the beautiful small Székely town and its surroundings:
We know that there were still the ruins of two stone towers on the border of the settlement, according to Orbán Balázs in 1860. The locals called the place “the castle of Hiripné”. Recently, archeological excavations have been going on in Gyergyószentmiklós, and according to the findings of Demjén Andrea, the traces of an old castle were found. The surfaced remains of stone walls and the found items can be most likely from the late Árpád Age. Dr. Ferencz Sándor thought it must have been like this:
Here are a few more pictures of Gyergyószentmiklós: