FORTIFIED HERITAGE, CULTURAL TOURISM AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: THE SAXON’S FORTIFIED CHURCHES OF TRANSYLVANIA
References: 5th International Multidisciplinary Scientific Conference on Social Sciences and Arts SGEM 2018, www.sgemvienna.org, SGEM2018 Vienna ART Conference Proceedings, ISBN 978-619-7408-33-1 / ISSN 2367-5659, 19 - 21 March, 2018, Vol. 5, Issue 5.1; 129-136 pp, DOI: 10.5593/sgemsocial2018H/51/S17.016
More than 300 fortified churches have been built, since the 12th century, by the Saxons established within the perimeter of the Seven Cities (Brașov, Sibiu, Sebeș, Cluj, Bistrița, Mediaș and Sighișoara) of the Siebenbürgen. Erected mainly to defend their small rural communities in front of the various threats of those times, the walls of the fortified churches are still standing to remember a history that, fortunately, has proven to be slightly milder than expected by their builders and represent nowadays an enormous, yet less acknowledged and undercapitalized heritage.
The fortified churches that survived until today illustrate the strength of a true defensive system designed and completed by the Transylvanian Saxons. As a proof of their power to vividly picture the cultural landscape of medieval Transylvania, seven of these fortified churches – Biertan, Câlnic, Dârjiu, Prejmer, Saschiz, Valea Viilor and Viscri – have been inscribed, since 2010, on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Tens of other fortified churches from the former Saxon villages could and should deserve a similar international recognition.
Using secondary data describing the cultural heritage represented by the Saxon’s fortified churches of Transylvania, as well as data regarding the cultural tourism environment and performances, the paper assesses the current level and the potential extent of the capitalization of an architectural heritage of more than 800 years old, in order to support the sustainable development of the local communities who inherited it.
Keywords: Fortified architecture, cultural heritage, cultural tourism, sustainable development
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