Selected Passages from Hungarian-Ottoman Wars between 1372-1699

Szászhermány

Szászhermány (Photo: Albutiu Gabriel Gabor)

Szászhermány or Huntschprich in Saxon can be found in Transylvania, Romania. It is also called Herman or Honigsberg but our medieval documents used to call the place Mons-melis. This fortified church is only 8 km from Brassó (Kronstadt, Brasov) to the northeast. The first written mention of it is from 1240 when the Hungarian king, Béla IV gave it to the Cistercians.

Photo: Stancosty

The fortification is an outstanding example for Saxon fortified churches in Transylvania, it used to be devoted to Saint Miklós (Nicholas). The church was built in the first part of the 13th century. According to the archeological findings, the elements of the late-Romanesque and the early Gothic style were combined during the construction. 

Picture by: Asybaris01

King Lajos I (Nagy Lajos) placed the settlement under the authority of Brassó (Brasov, Kronstadt) in 1377. The Maria Chapel is famous for its 15th-century murals. The church was rebuilt and fortified with a double wall in the 15th century because of the Turkish peril. They got ready by the first part of the 16th century, so the marks of late-Gothic and Renaissance styles can be discovered. It was the time when the central nave got a new stone ceiling and most of the early-Gothic door- and window frames were changed.

The Maria Chapel (photo: Klaul)

The Saxon villagers could make good use of the fortification because the settlement was pillaged by the Turks in 1421 and it was attacked by the Voivode of Moldavia, Stefan, in 1532. The next assault arrived in 1552 when the place was put on fire by another Voivode of Moldova, Petru Rares.  

Photo: Stoschmidt

The church burned down in 1593 but two years later it was already rebuilt. Szászhermány was also destroyed in 1599 by the Wallachian Voivode Michael and the Habsburgs’ general, Basta did the same in 1602. When the Saxons rebelled against the tyrannical rule of Prince Báthory Gábor, Bethlen Gábor laid a two-week-long siege on the fort in 1612 but couldn’t take it. The Moldovians laid siege on it in 1658 but it was also in vain.

Photo: Albutiu Gabriel Gabor

Later, the Hungarian rebels called “kuruc” soldiers tried to take it but they could not succeed. During the anti-Habsburg Hungarian Revolution in 1848, the Hungarian Székelys were able to take the fortification, though.

Photo: Bogdan Stanciu

There are 200 chambers built into the walls for the villagers where they could shelter and keep their valuables in times of danger.
Under the moat, there was an underground tunnel as a second entrance into the fort. There are eight towers guarding the walls; the central tower’s roof was built in 1794.

Photo: Bogdan-Stanciu

The German Saxons have built about 180 wonderful churches in Siebenburgen and have contributed to making Transylvania great. You can read more about them here:

https://www.hungarianottomanwars.com/essays/who-were-the-german-saxons-in-transylvania/

 

Photo: Vutu

As for the Saxons, there was the majority in 1910 when there lived 2339 people in the village. In 1992, we can find 4,280 inhabitants there, of which 3,815 were Romanians, 241 German Saxons, 140 Hungarians, and 82 Roma people. The church was renovated in 1976–1978 while the murals were restored in 1996.

Photo: Adam Jones Adam63

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Here are more pictures of Szászhermány:

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