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Fortified Church of Prejmer
(2006)
Fortified Church of Prejmer/Tartlau
Lying 7km east of Brasov, the village of Prejmer (Tartlau in German) boasts a fortress with the most fortified walls of all the fortified churches of the Transylvanian Saxons.

The construction of the Church of the Holy Cross began in 1218, when the church was given the floor plan of a Greek cross. The church was later adapted to the Cistercian Gothic style after 1240, when the village of Prejmer and the church started a new life under the patronage of the Cistercian Abbey in Cirta/Kerz. The church was initially fortified in the late 13th century. In the 15th century, after the Turkish invasion of 1421, it was surrounded with a wall 12m high. At the corners of this wall there were four towers, two of which still survive. More construction work was carried out in the 16th century.

Inside the fortress there are over 270 rooms on up to 4 levels. They were used for refuge and storage, and some of them now house museum exhibits. At the top level of the wall surrounding the church there is a gallery provided with holes used for shooting and pouring boiling pitch onto attackers.

The fortified church of Prejmer was restored between 1964 and 1970 by the Directorate for Historical Monuments. In 1992 the Munich-based Transylvanian Saxon Foundation took over the patronage of the whole ensemble, carrying out more restoration work. The citadel of Prejmer was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1999; along with other five fortified churches, it entered the list as an extended nomination for the church-fortress of Biertan, which was inscribed in 1993.

This is the 15th-century altarpiece, the oldest in the country, painted between 1450 and 1460 in Transylvania.
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