Mediaș - The Historical City Center

in Haveyoubeenherelast month

Today I'm going to post about another medieval city of Transylvania I had the pleasure to visit at the beginning of September and pin another location on the map that has never been pinned before.

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Mediaș is a mix of old history, communist era remains and new developments. It's not the first time I visited the city, so I can see the changes and every time I'm visiting, hoping to see the historical part intact or restored as keeping historical buildings in a good condition is important.

Mediaș (Medgyes in Hungarian and Mediasch in German), a small city with 44,169 inhabitants, is the second largest city in Sibiu County. The population is mixed, made of 36,764 Romanians (83.2%), 4,511 Hungarians (10.2%), 1,880 Romani (4.3%), 711 Germans (1.6%), according to 2011's data. Germans used to be a lot more but after the iron curtain was lifted, most of them have migrated to Germany.

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The Historical City Center

This is the view you get standing in one side of the historical city center. There's a small park in the middle, always well taken care of, full of flowers and with a nice fountain that is always working. On the other end of the city center you can see the The St. Margaret church that's I'm going to talk about later.

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The buildings standing here are protected by the city, which means these can't be demolished. You can repaint them but the original design must be protected. This is why the city center looks like a hundred years ago. Vehicles and cars are not permitted, this is a pedestrian area, which makes it more enjoyable.

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Even though there was a lockdown that lasted two months and gardening has not been a priority this year, the park looks like a jewel, full of nice flowers.

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The most famous building in the city center is the Traube, which is a hotel with a restaurant. At the time of our visit it was closed due to the pandemic restrictions. Despite the old look, the interior is as modern as it can be, set up with all you need these days.

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To give you an idea how much the cit center has changed over the last century, here's a postcard featuring the city center. I'm not sure how old this postcard is, but judging from the style, it must date back to the beginning of 1900. Please note the name of the city is in German, and the place is called Grosser Marktplatz, which means big marketplace in English. This was the marketplace once, where people came to sell their products.

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St. Margaret's Church

The St. Margaret's Church is a Lutheran church, built between 1437 and 1488 by the ethnic German Transylvanian Saxon community. At that time the region belonged to the Kingdom of Hungary. Thee church still stands and it's one of the tourist attractions you have to visit if you're in the town.

St. Margaret's church is located at the center of a large church fortress. About 150 of these buildings still exist in Transylvania. Seven of these villages with fortified churches are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It is listed as a historic monument by Romania's Ministry of Culture and Religious Affairs. source

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This is how the place looked like about a hundred years ago. The good thing is that those buildings are still standing today. A fountain has been added to this square along the years, which makes it more enjoyable, but the rest is the same. On this postcard the writing is in German as it must have been issued before Transylvania became part of Romania.

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This is the entrance to the church fortress.

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The arched entrance is in a very bad shape unfortunately. It needs immediate attention but probably lack of funding makes it a non essential project, especially compared to covid needs.

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This is the clock tower from the entrance of the fortress. One of the bells of this tower has an inscribed date of 1449. The fortress walls are surrounding the medieval city part.

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The German School

Left to the church there's the only German school of the town, called Stephan Ludwig Roth, named after a Transylvanian Saxon intellectual, teacher, pedagogue and Lutheran pastor, who lived between 1796 – 1849. What you see here is the elementary school, the high school is outside the fortress's wall.

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This is the Stephan Ludwig Roth gymnasium and high school with the Roth's statue in front.

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This is one of the bastions, at the entrance to the fortress.

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This is the house where Stephan Ludwig Roth was born in 1796, but the house wasn't open at the time of our visit.

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The side entrance of the church, which is used day by day. However, at the moment of our visit, the church was closed to the public because of the pandemic. Lucky me, I've been inside the church before but unfortunately photographing is not allowed.

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I'm borrowing this photo from Wikipedia to show you the beautiful interior. The side aisle of the church is decorated with rugs dating back to the 16th century and old, handmade and hand painted benches belonging to nobles of those times. This rug collection is one of the largest collections of the so-called "Transylvanian" rugs, 16th–18th century Anatolian rugs in Europe.

The main altar you see in the photo is a late Gothic winged altarpiece, dated between 1480 and 1520. Unfortunately, as I said, photographing is strictly forbidden, but I've found a wonderful photo gallery here, please click the link and watch the beautiful rugs, the organ, and the old frescoes.

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Typical Gothic door and window.

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Judging from how deep this door is, the wall must be more than 1m thick here. The fortress served to protect the people from the enemy, so you can figure what kind of defense they had.

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This is the most amazing door I've ever seen. It's a metal door incorporated in the brick and stone wall, featuring the sun. I don't know how old it is but it's old.

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The fortress church is on a small hill. These stairs lead to the historical city center. Must have been a safety exit hundreds of years ago.

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Side entrance of the church, that was locked and I believe it's not used these days.

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The clock tower or the trumpet's tower, the other name it is attributed to this tower. In 1969 this tower was among the highest with its 69m. It is called the trumpet's tower as at the base of the tower was living a guard who had a trumpet he used to warn people in case of danger. That little mascot is a symbol of the guard.

What you can't see from these angles is that this tower is not straight, it is heavily inclined. The enormous pressure of the tower on the sandy ground made this tower to become the brother of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

This is the first part of the post, stay tuned for the rest.

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Thank you @itchfeetDonica.

Awesome!! My girlfriend was born there 😂

Then you must know the city well :)