TRANSYLVANIA - Szecklers and Saxons

12-16 October 2017

After the first night spent in Sibiu, we travel eastwards to the great citadel town of Sighisoara, nowadays better known as the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler. It is one of the few medieval citadels still inhabited with a fine lower town recalling the importance of its medieval market. We then travel a few kilometres to the Renaissance castle of Cris, the seat of the Bethlen family, past princes of Transylvania and members of its intelligentsia.

Saturday is spent in the Szekler lands. The Szeklers are Hungarian speakers who were invited to defend the borders of Transylvania by the Kings of Hungary. You will see Roman Catholic, Unitarian and Calvinist churches which are fortified, often with fine frescoes. Their towns are witness to the rule of Austro Hungary. Cristuru Secuiesc boasts an outstanding small museum displaying mills from the area of the source of the river Tarnava and finds showing evidence of Roman, Saxon, Szekler and Turkish past. A different spirit is found in Odorheiu Secuiesc - known as the Szekler Athens for its rich cultural life. The architecture here is Baroque, Neo classical, Belle Epoque and Art Nouveau.

On Sunday we visit Malancrav which had a largely Saxon population in the village below the fine church and manor house. The Manor has been restored by the Mihai Eminescu Trust and is now a guest house. Biertan has one of the outstanding fortified churches of Transylvania. The valley grew rich growing vines, now there are only a few left but the nearby church of Richis is unusually rich in carved decoration including ‘Green Men’.

Dumbraveni has a fine Catholic Armenian cathedral which sits beside the Apafi castle. Medias has Dacian origins but the citadel is Saxon well frescoed and hung with Anatolian rugs. With the coming of the railway in the 1870s industry developed along with technical colleges. It is also the centre of the gas industry. We will lunch in the Saxon village of Hosman before continuing to Sibiu airport for the return flight to London.

Cost per person £1050 Single room supplement £120

The price includes best available hotels, ground transport in private coach, all entries and visits, all meals, tips and local guides. Not included are air fares to join the tour, personal expenses and drinks.

We recommend Mike Morton of Travel Counsellors, 0845 058 7326 and for all arrangements.

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