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Viscri - A Journey in the Rural Heart of Transylvania

In the heart of Transylvania, amidst the enchanting landscapes of Brașov County, lies the village of Viscri, one of the cherished destinations for tourists from all over the world. In turn, the Viscri Fortress maintains its grandeur and mystery through its fascinating history, serving as a vivid testament to the rich past of this region.

From its peaceful atmosphere to the white-greenish limestone church that dominates the landscape, Viscri invites you to step into a truly traditional world. With each old cottage and every unpaved street you wander, you delve deeper into the captivating story of this picturesque place.

Known and appreciated globally, this village came into the international spotlight with the acquisition of a property by King Charles III. So let yourself be enchanted by the story of the Viscri village and discover everything that lies behind it! 

About Viscri Village

The Viscri Village is located in the heart of Transylvania, more precisely in the district of Bunești, in Brașov County. Tucked away from the main road that connects Brașov to Sighișoara, the Viscri Village is home to one of the most spectacular Saxon fortified churches, being one of the six inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

In this village you will see many traditional Saxon houses lined up on both sides of the main street, and the architecture is colorful and slightly cheerful, with shades of green, white and cream enhanced with floral ornaments. Clearly, the tall wooden Saxon gates are a prominent feature of the landscape, although they are quite affected by the passage of time.

Short history – back in time

The history of Viscri Village

In the 12th century, the territory where Viscri is located was inhabited by Szeklers, brought here to guard the eastern border of the kingdom. It is interesting to note that these Szeklers are the ones who built the white-greenish limestone church. Originally the village was known as Giscriu, but it changed after the name of the church, which in the Saxon dialect is called Weiskirich (German: Weißkirch).

Historical documents reveal that Viscri Village has always been a free village, unaffiliated with a noble property. As early as the 15th century, the village hosted 51 households, 3 shepherds, a teacher and two poor people, indicating a diverse and active community life. 

Only around the year 1400 this village appeared in a register of localities for paying taxes to the bishopric of Rupea County.

Moreover, this village witnessed important events in Transylvania’s history, such as its role in the context of German colonization in the 12th-13th centuries and its influence on the social and economic life of the region.

Where is the village of Viscri? – Location

Located in the district of Bunești in Brașov County, the village of Viscri is recognized as one of the most picturesque villages in Romania, as well as one of the most emblematic rural Saxon settlements in Transylvania.

It is about an hour’s drive from the town of Brașov, on the route towards Sighișoara. The distance to Brașov is about 79 kilometers, while Sighisoara is about 42 kilometers away. 

The landscapes in the area where this village is located, are enchanting with forested hills, green fields and picturesque villages. This region stands out for its rural beauty and its atmosphere full of peace and authenticity.

How do you get to the village of Viscri?

How did the village of Viscri come to be known

If you’re looking for the quickest route to Viscri, you should start from National Road 13. For tourists traveling between Brașov and Sighișoara, the best option is to leave National Road 13 when they reach Bunești. 

To reach Viscri, after passing through Rupea, turn left towards the Dacia district. From there, follow a route of approximately 8 kilometers. The road is asphalted until the entrance to the village, and from there paved with cobblestone leading to the specially designated parking area for visitors.

At the village entrance, you will find signposts directing you to the visitors’ car park, located about 100 meters from the main road. It is important to note that this car park is free of charge, but you can only park in the designated parking space. 

How did the village of Viscri come to be known?

The journey to the fame that Viscri Village enjoys today began in the spring of 1998 when King Charles III first set foot in these picturesque Transylvanian villages. Fascinated by the landscapes and the atmosphere full of history and authenticity, King Charles III fell in love with this part of Romania from his first visit.

In 2006, King Charles III purchased the first peasant house in the village of Viscri. His objective was clear: to encourage involvement in saving and restoring the medieval architectural heritage of southern Transylvania. This house, built in 1875, follows the classic pattern of a rural Saxon settlement and later became the headquarters of the Prince of Wales Foundation Romania, a charitable organization established in 2015. 

Meanwhile, various organizations, such as the Mihai Eminescu Trust, have implemented hundreds of restoration projects in Viscri since 1999. Historic buildings have been restored, roads have been paved and local entrepreneurial development has been supported. 

As it became known for its rural beauty, this village has gained increasing attention from tourists and became a famous attraction. Every year, tens of thousands of visitors from both the country and abroad visit this place. 

What sights can you visit in the village of Viscri?

One of the most remarkable tourist attractions in the village of Viscri is the spectacular Saxon fortified church, which is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. This impressive historical monument provides a cool oasis on hot summer days and allows access to the tower for a stunning panoramic view of the entire village.

In the church yard, you can visit the museum which holds various Saxon objects, including traditional costumes, embroideries and weaving looms. Additionally, you will find an exhibition of pottery showcasing both traditional and modern works. 

The fortified church of Viscri (history and architecture)

The fortified church of Viscri

Originally built by the ethnic German community of Transylvanian Saxons, during a time when the area belonged to the Kingdom of Hungary, this church stands out for its beauty and strength.

Made of white-greenish limestone, the church is surrounded by a protective wall built of river stone and sand, giving it an imposing look and offering better defense against outside attacks. Originally Roman Catholic, the church in Viscri became Lutheran during the Reformation.

The architecture of the fortified church in Viscri is remarkable for its simplicity and functionality, reflecting the need for defense and safety in a rural area surrounded by dangers.

Although its dimensions are modest, every detail of the architecture is carefully planned to reinforce and protect the structure. The donjon, which also serves as a bell tower, is the focal point of the fortification. Originally constructed in a Romanesque style, it was later strenghthened and expanded, still retaining original features like the vaulted ground floor and the upper floor with its beautiful Romanesque frame.

The defense towers, strategically placed along the walls, add to the robust and impressive appearance of the complex. They have loopholes for shooting and serve as lookout and defense points against invaders. Buttresses and bastions complete the defensive system, providing additional protection for the Saxon community.

Viscri 163: House of King Charles III

House of King Charles III

The house of King Charles III has been transformed into an authentic and historically rich residence. The original structure was restored and supplemented with modern facilities while respecting the traditions and techniques of the area.

From the lecture hall, library and café to the bedrooms tucked away in the attic, each space has been carefully adapted and refurbished. The repair and restoration work began in the 2000s when the original owner, Frau Fernolend, still lived there.

Today, Viscri 163 is more than just a home. It is a symbol of commitment to preserving and promoting the cultural and architectural heritage of Transylvania.

Village and rural surroundings

Here, the tourist environment blends harmoniously with traditions and traditional village life, offering a unique experience to those who visit it. Tourists are invited to stroll through the narrow streets, explore each little house, and enjoy the surrounding picturesque nature.

The true experience of Viscri reveals itself during a walk, allowing you to truly feel the energy of the place and to directly connect with local traditions and customs. From the terraces of traditional houses, such as Viscri 32, you can admire the spectacular and wild landscape of the village, while walking through nature can lead you to hidden paths where you can meet domestic animals grazing peacefully.

What can you visit in the surroundings?

In the surroundings of the Viscri Village, there are many tourist attractions and picturesque places worth visiting. These include the nearby Bunești Fortified Church, a Romanesque-Gothic transitional style basilica.

A short distance from Viscri is the Rupea Fortress, less than a 30-minute walk away, with a rich history and impressive architecture, offering a great view of the surrounding region. At the same time, approximately 40 kilometers away is Sighișoara, a medieval town with a unique charm and remarkable cultural heritage, while the journey to Brașov reveals other attractions such as the Feldioara Fortress, restored and steeped in history.

Thus, a visit to the the surroundings of the village of Viscri can form an integral part of a wider trip, offering rich opportunities for exploring the history, architecture and natural beauty of the region.

Rupea Fortress

Rupea Fortress

Rupea Fortress sits on a rocky hill and dominates the landscape of Rupea town, captivating visitors with its mystery and rich history. Its centuries-old story adds to its charm, making it one of Transylvanian’s most remarkable tourist attractions. 

Its spectacular location on the hill of Cohalm offers an impressive view of the surroundings, with enchanting views of the hills, forests and traditional Transylvanian villages. Its resemblance to Edinburgh Castle in Scotland, both of which are built on basalt cliffs, adds a further element of interest and fascination.

The extinct volcano from Racoș

The extinct volcano from Racoș

This remarkable volcano, the last one to have been active in Romania, although its final eruption occurred 10,000 years ago, exudes an exceptional atmosphere of mystery and fascination. With an imposing height of 100 meters and a spectacular diameter of 400 meters, the volcano’s crater presents itself as a natural jewel, offering a landscape that seems to be from another world. Inside, various types of volcanic rocks are outlined, from pumice stone to basalt and slag, providing uniqueness and texture to the place. The volcanic materials extracted over time have been used in the construction of historical monuments and important buildings in the region, reinforcing the aura of authenticity and mystery of this fascinating place.

Emerald Lake

Emerald Lake

A remarkable view of nature unfolds before the eyes of visitors at the basalt quarry in Brazi, home to the Emerald Lake. In the middle of this impressive landscape, a geological section of the basaltic volcano is outlined, stretching 200 meters long and 50 meters high, offering an almost surreal atmosphere. The water sources that feed the lake come both from precipitation and snowmelt, and from underground springs, noted since the period of basalt mining. Local legend suggests that the intensive exploitation of the basalt dug so deep that it reached the water table, giving rise to the Emerald Lake.

Basalt columns

Basalt columns

These spectacular formations have appeared as a result of the rapid cooling of volcanic lava and rise to heights of between 10 and 15 meters. They represent a nationally protected area and are known as the Basalt Columns. This stunning landscape stretches over an area of approximately 1.10 hectares and is an impressive age of over one and a half million years. 

The Basalt Columns stand as witness to the volcanic activities in the region, highlighting the geological history of the Perșani Mountains in the Eastern Carpathians. Locals say that these formations exude a positive energy and their presence can contribute to improving your health.

Explore the hills by bike

In the area of the Transylvanian Hills around the village of Viscri, a wonderful cycling experience awaits you. You can rent a bike from one of the guesthouses in the village and go on an off-road adventure. As you cycle along the route, you will have the opportunity to discover nine picturesque villages and even the town of Sighisoara, if you have enough energy left. These trails mostly pass through beautiful forest roads, giving you a feeling of freedom and connection with nature.

Where are you staying? Choose Transylvanian Inn for an authentic mountain experience!

If you’re looking for an authentic and comforting experience in the heart of Transylvania, we invite you to stay at the Transylvanian Inn Villa.

Inspired by our desire to provide guests with the comforting feeling of „Home,” the villa is designed to be a perfect retreat amidst the nature and authentic beauty of the region. Here, you’ll find not just a simple accommodation, but a true sanctuary for the mind, body, and soul. With spacious relaxation areas and carefully crafted amenities, the villa offers you the opportunity to reconnect with yourself and enjoy the peace and beauty surrounding you.

Whether you want to relax on the outdoor terrace, indulge in a delicious meal prepared with local ingredients, or explore the spectacular landscapes nearby, the Transylvanian Inn Villa is the perfect choice for an unforgettable experience in Transylvania.

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