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Siebenburgen

25 Aug

It’s an old German legend from the 16th century that tells about a flute player who pretended that his playing would be able to eradicate the town of Hamelin of the invading rats that were spreading disease. The city dwellers accepted his offer and the man started to play his flute and all the rats aligned behind him and together they left the town. However when the musician returned to get his pay the city refused to give him any money so he started to play again and aligned behind him all children that left the town with him and were never seen again. A legend is a legend but many associate it with the time when the Germans left their towns and moved towards Eastern Europe to found their new towns here and never went back to the German towns again.

medias

Santa Margarita fortified church, Medias (Mediash), Romania

Siebenburgen means “seven towns” that were founded starting with the 12th century when a Hungarian king made an offer with large swaths of land to people speaking several dialects living in what is now Germany to move in the southern part of Transylvania in order to defend the border of the kingdom. The Saxons, as they were latter to be known, established here seven main towns that in a way surround Transylvania, extending from the original region around Sibiu-Hermanstadt towards the north: Bistrita (Bistritz), Brasov (Kronstadt), Cluj (Klausenburg), Medias (Mediasch), Orastie (Broos), Sibiu (Hermannstadt) si Sighisoara (Schasburg). Many Germans today when they refer to Transylvania call it by the old Saxon name, Siebenburgen. Besides these seven towns or citadels, surrounded by defensive walls and towers, at the middle of the 15th century a document mentioned Sieben Stühle, that were the seven Saxon “chairs” that administered the entire province, with a main “chair: in Sibiu-Hermanstadt: Orăștie (Broos), Sebeș (Mühlbach), Miercurea Sibiului (Ruzmargt), Sighișoara (Schäßburg), Nocrich (Leuskyrch), Cincu (Schenk) și Rupea (Reps), some of them preserving amazing fortified hill citadels overlooking the valleys. The German population dwindled in time and during Communist times it was literally sold by Ceausescu in his drive for foreign currency.

Medias is one of these original “burgen” that has in its middle a church preserving its original tower. The wall completely surrounds the church and on sides there are several other defense towers. Mediash was added in time to the territory administration becoming itself a Stühle , a Saxon chair.

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Posted by on August 25, 2016 in Blog, Romania

 

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