One of Transylvania biggest fans is HRH Prince Charles of Wales, who has a strong blood connection to the country: Queen Elisabeth the second’s great grandmother, Klaudia Redey, originated from Transylvania. The first in line to the British throne visits Transylvania almost every year and is patron of several projects which involve the conservation of the natural heritage, traditional agriculture and Transylvanian architecture. Today’s journey is going to take us to some of the places HRH loves so much.
In the morning we will depart from Sibiu and drive to the small village of Mălâncrav. It is situated in a very isolated area, at the end of a small country road, but it’s one of Transylvania best kept secrets. Here we will discover the Mihai Eminescu Trust (MET). founded under the high patronage of Prince Charles, a foundation active in many villages in the southern part of Transylvania. The foundation’s main goal is the conservation of traditional natural and traditional heritage and to encourage the locals to keep their archaic way of live. For this reason, the foundation has sponsored and encouraged a large number of projects such as conservation seminars for the locals or the promotion of agro tourism in these Transylvanian villages. In Mălâncrav, one of the main achievements was the restoration of the Appafy Manor, the former residence of a ruling family of Transylvania by the MET. It became a ruin after being neglected during the communist time, but was restored using exclusively local materials and labour and is nowadays a unique small hotel with a great library. The manor is situated in the middle of an old apple orchard, where one can taste some great organic juice, made under the patronage of HRH Prince Charles of Wales. Just a couple of meters away, we will visit the fortified church. It is a unique example of the Transylvanian religious tolerance: although the local German community has turned it into a Lutheran church after Martin Luther’s reformation, the catholic frescoes have survived until today. This can only be found here, in Mălâncrav.
From here, we will depart for Viscri, where some of the main projects of the “Mihai Eminescu Trust” have taken place. The highlight of the village is for sure the Gothic church, dating back to the 12th century, which was later fortified with big walls and towers to protect the villagers from the enemies. Nowadays, the old towers have been converted into an interesting museum of the village. Not only the church, but also the village itself, are under UNESCO patronage. Almost all of the houses were built in the 15th and 16th century, so bible quotations, proverbs and family coat of arms can be seen on the facades. We invite you to take a walk through the most beautiful village ensemble in Transylvania, to visit the fortified church and take a journey into an almost forgotten world… Probably Transylvania s biggest charm are the people who live here. Especially in the countryside, you will meet very friendly and welcoming villagers, who will be more than happy to show you around their homes and yards. We plan to have lunch with one of the local families and to enjoy home gmade Transylvanian dishes, cooked using home grown products.
In the afternoon, we will depart for Sighişoara, a medieval city founded by German colonists in the 13th century and placed strategically on the top of a hill to protect it from the invading enemy troops. Most of the fortification was kept intact and armed towers still guard the city. The Clock Tower, the former Benedictine monastery, the Lutheran Church from the upper part of the city, the narrow streets, but also the supposed birthplace of Count Dracula, give the town its enchanting medieval atmosphere. We will visit the museum inside of the Clock Tower, which hosts a medieval clock mechanism that is based on small wooden statues, representing Roman gods, who move every night.
In the evening we will return to Sibiu.