It is harvest season in Viscri, but people are not in a hurry to pick up autumn’s treasures.
This slowness is becoming the little Saxon village nested in the heart of Transylvania. And I’m feeling so thankful to see all the apples, pears and grapes still hanging above each beautiful wood panel window and door, all painted in the warmest colors, inviting you to slow down and wander around.
This is the authentic village life in Transylvania!
I take my time to catch every unfolding moment, thinking Prince Charles was right to choose Viscri for a small holiday house, thus accelerating the rebirth of this amazing place.
All the countryside details make me stop from time to time, and there’s this sense of peacefulness in the air that makes you want to breathe it in and have a taste of this serene way of life.
Viscri might be the only destination I’ve traveled to where each little house was admired and photographed, while pondering this could be the most colorful village in Transylvania.
Suddenly, two girls on horses slide into my picture. And they feel so natural in this landscape, although they are both wearing proper horse riding equipment.They play hide and seek with the trees not even knowing it, and that is the moment I start clicking my capture button. Later on, I saw their dad tending to a young horse near a beautiful blue house, and it felt like a British countryside postcard.
This dreamy place is so serene on this sunny autumn afternoon that time is passing by without me noticing. So after a few hours of careful studying each colorful house, it’s time to visit Viscri fortified church.
Viscri Fortified Church
The church is empty and there is a particular pleasant feeling of stillness and intimacy floating over this sanctuary, one you will never encounter in the gothic churches around Europe. You instantly feel attuned to this place. The painted wood benches invite you to pause and reflect for a moment.
*The nice thing about the old fortified churches in Transylvania is they all have defense towers that offer panoramic views over the area.
Going to the main defense tower of Viscri Fortified Church is a challenge. The wood stairs are a bit unstable, so every crack in the floor makes my heart race. I proceed carefully to the top, although no one is guiding us.
Fear stays with me until I reach the top, where the beautiful church and hills reveal themselves. The view from the tower is beautiful: lovely inner courtyard, red tiled roofs and green hills with autumn highlights here and there all around.
Wandering the Viscri museum
Viscri is an ethnographic incursion.
Traditional costumes and clothes, a 100 years old bed with lovely hand-knitted linen, beautiful treasure chests carved out of wood and hand-painted by the villagers more than a century ago and many of the objects of a traditional Transylvanian house are nested here.
Every corner has a detail that catches your eye, so a visit here is a true delight.
The rebirth of Viscri village in Transylvania, Romania
It’s fair to say that most small villages in Romania are almost in ruins. People still inhabiting the old houses don’t usually have the finances to restore them to their original beauty. So it’s a common (and fearful) thought that these lovely villages won’t last another century without proper restoration work.
Some of the villages are so beautiful that they were included in the UNESCO heritage sites, just like Viscri, thus making restoration a little bit harder for its inhabitants. I think it’s a good initiative to preserve the heritage and make people use only traditional materials in building reconstruction, but unfortunately these things happen slowly because locals don’t have access to that many resources.
Viscri is one of these many villages in Romania, so you’ll still find abandoned houses due to the lack of financing for restorations.
But something extraordinary happened here once Prince Charles bought a property in the area: more and more houses began to be restored to their original beauty.The attention directed to Viscri has led to its rebirth by tourism and by property acquisitions in the area, some made by English people, some by Romanians.
Viscri is now very close to full restoration to its old beauty, and maybe our children will get to see it the way our ancestors did.
So if you’re planning to visit Transylvania, make sure to visit Viscri village! And not only for its amazing colorful houses or its beautiful fortified church, but also to support its rebirth.
Travel tips for visiting Viscri in Transylvania
Where to stay? (accommodation & food)
We chose a small hotel in Sighișoara, the only inhabited citadel in Europe. Highly recommend you to “set camp” there and explore more around, like the two beautiful villages of Biertan and Viscri. Besides accommodation, Sighișoara has many attractions of its own (I’ll reveal them in a future article), and also lots of places to taste some local Transylvanian and Romanian dishes.
When to go?
My favorite time of the year to visit Transylvania is autumn (late September, early October), because foliage changing is making the landscape even more beautiful, but summer is more liked by tourists, and it can also be nice during spring.
How to get there?
If you’re planning to visit Transylvania, one way is to book a flight to Bucharest, and rent a car from there, so you can explore more.
Location: Viscri, Transylvania region, Romania | Visited: October 2015 | My mobile pictures only: © Ana Matei
Visual tour of Viscri
Autumn’s treasures in Viscri
Viscri’s Colorful Houses
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