When the Sky is the Roof

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The Fortified Church from Garbova

When the Sky is the Roof

Garbova, ruins and legends

Transylvania, probably the most famous historical region of Romania, is also known for its minorities, especially the Hungarians and the Germans.

The last ones started to colonize Transylvania in the 12-13th centuries, being invited by the Hungarian kings who wanted to develop the area's economy, use the colonists as defenders of the borders, and enclose the local population formed by the Romanians.

The German colonists, mistakenly named as being Saxons, started to build their towns. Some of them became important urban centers, like Brasov or Sibiu; others remained just small towns scattered around the hills of Transylvania.

Many of these small villages have fortified churches, today being unique in Europe. Some of them are very well preserved, like those from Biertan, Prejmer or Viscri, while others are just ruins and far from the tourist roads. It’s the case of the church built on the hill right near the town of Garbova, Urwegen in German.

The top of the hill boasts a small cemetery protected by a concentric wall, about 3 meters tall. In the middle of the cemetery lies the ruins of the church, built in 1280. In the shape of a Romanesque basilica, the church was simple.

What makes it so interesting is that the church has no roof, which makes it look peculiar.

Garbova, Transylvania © Daniel Gheorghita

Also, there is a legend related to this church. It is said that once there was a lovely girl in the village, and her father was wealthy. Many young nobles tried to gain her heart, but she was in love with somebody else. Unfortunately, her lover was just a simple boy in the house, a poor peasant. That’s why her father forced her to marry Hans, a rich boy from the village, a person with the right status for his daughter. She couldn’t disagree with her father and was tormented by the pain; she agreed. On the day of the wedding, full of sorrow and very weak, she started to walk towards the altar, but on the way, she fainted and died right in the church. In this way, her story reminds me of Juliet.

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Daniel Gheorghita

Managing Partner at Covinnus Travel. I love to travel, to discover new places, to meet new faces and make new friends. I like diversity and to learn new things, to understand the others, their culture, and their history. I'm passionate about photography and you can see my pictures at bydaniel.me

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