Photo: Tetcu Mircea Rares

Szászbogács (Băgaciu or Gogacea, in German: Bogeschdorf) is in Transylvania, Romania. It is a village located in Maros County, among the low hills of the Küküllőmente, at the Bogács Stream. It has a wonderful Saxon fortified church, dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The single-navel Gothic church was built in the 15th century, assumedly on the site of a former church.

Photo: Tetcu Mircea Rares

The village was first mentioned in 1351 as Bakach, then in 1534, we can find it as Bogachy. The Hungarian king invited Saxon settlers to Transylvania (Siebenbürgen) who arrived there in the 13th century and founded the village. They built their Gothic fortified church with a tough tower in the 15th century. The construction work was finished in 1421, according to an inscription in the sanctuary.

Szászbogács (old photo) Source: Benő Gyula

Due to the Turkish attacks in the late 15th century, the church was burned several times. After these raids, the square, squat tower in front of the western façade was given a rampart, and the nave and sanctuary were fortified with buttresses. At the same time, the church was surrounded on the east and north by a double, oval-shaped tall castle wall, supplied with ramparts. The protective wall is still eight meters high in some places today. There were several towers on the outer wall, too.

The decoration of the vine leaves and bunches of the western gate, as well as the richly framed, pointed arched, southern gate decorated with column heads, are both artistic stonemason works. The cross-vaulted Gothic sanctuary is framed by three sides of an octagon, and figural carvings – vines, animals, dragons – can be observed on its corbels. On one of the keystones, the head of Christ was carved. The sacristy door is quite simple, with a pointed arch and a stone frame. 

Before this time, the church used to have a ceiling made of wooden plates but in the 15th century it was removed and the nave was covered with a stone net vault. During the renovation in 1899, details of old murals from the early 16th century were found in the nave of the church. The exceptionally beautiful winged altar of the church was made in 1518 and restored in 1901. 

There is a curving in the church that looks like an owl and you can read the following interesting text on it from 1533: „ICH BIN EYN VOGEL UND HEYS DI AYL UND DER MICH HASSET DEN SCHENT DY AYL”

Szászbogács Photo: Lánczi Imre

On the southern side, the castle wall was demolished and replaced by the school building. To the southeast, you can see a three-story gate tower that used to have a portcullis. The defense tower erected in the northeast still stands, but the northwestern tower was demolished in the early 20th century. In the northern part of the outer castle wall, there are loopholes with double openings.

Here is a short video made by the Castrum Bene Association (2013) about it:

Photo: Plinul-cel-tanar

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Here are a few more pictures of Szászbogács: