Location: Prejmer, Transylvania – Central Romania
Address: Str. Pietei 2, Prejmer - Brasov county
Nearest city: Brasov (11 miles southwest)
Nearest train stations: Prejmer, Brasov
Prejmer Fortified Church is one of the 25 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Romania.
The largest fortified church in southeastern Europe, Prejmer (Tartlau in German) was built by Teutonic knights in 1212-1213.
The powerful surrounding walls are 40 feet high and 10-15 feet thick.
Historical records attest that in its 500 years of existence, the fortress was besieged 50 times.
However, it was only captured once, in 1611 by Gabriel Báthori, Prince of Transylvania; the fighters defending the fortress have surrendered after not having no drinking water available for several days.
Endowed with bastions, drawbridges and a secret, subterranean passage through which food supplies could be transported, the church's most famed war device was the "death machine," made of several weapons that could shoot simultaneously, causing the enemy severe losses.
Access to the building was through a 100-foot-long arched passage fortified with two rows of gates. Each village family had a designated room for shelter in case of attack. The red-roofed wall accommodated 272 rooms, stacked over four stories and linked by wooden staircases.
The church, built in a cross-like plan, was completed in 1225 and later adapted to the Cistercian style.
The nave features late-gothic vaulting.
Prejmer fortified church is a UNESCO - World Heritage Site.