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Situated on the ‘citadel hill’ and surrounded on three sides by gorges, the village citadel of Saschiz appears to have been erected on the ruins of a roman fortification at a strategically important site, guarding the roman road linking Rupea and Sighisoara.

The year 1347 inscribed in the north-west wall of the citadel indicated the probable commencement of the principle construction work (or reinforcement) of the defence system. Seven neighbouring communes participated in the construction: Saschiz, Cloasterf, Archita, Daia, Crit, and two no longer in existence Diawaldia and Adamsdorf. In return, they received the right, in case of emergency, to seek refuge there.

The citadel takes the form of an oval, with a length of 92 metres and a width of 45 metres. It is composed of 6 towers: the guard tower, no longer existent, through which, via a narrow corridor, could be accessed the entrance tower (or “Turnul Slaninii”). These two towers, along with the priest’s tower, the imperor tower, the powder tower and the school tower, are linked by a guard’s path the length of the defence wall, and are partially supported by wooden and stone reinforcements, and by smaller constructions.

On the east side of the citadel, the first wall of defence is no longer visible.

In the internal courtyard, there were two fish ponds, a deep well of around 60 metres from which a tunnel leaves to emerge down in the village – the last investigation of this was made after the First World War, where 10 metres were still passable – and also a chapel which was used up until 1927 before being converted into a youth centre.

“A winding road is dug leading to the citadel to allow access to the top for carts”. Charles Bonner, English writer.

The existence of a citadel could explain why it wasn’t until 1493, the year of the terrible Turkish invasion of the region of Sibiu, that a fortified church was constructed.

It is said that those who wish the citadel “good night” or “good bye” receive a response of 6 or 7 syllables. And old virgin who was buried in the citadel is answering the greeting.

Today, the citadel is under UNESCO protection.

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Translation : Laura SUTCLIFFE

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