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Panoramas / Churches and belfries

Roman Catholic Fortified Church

Sânzieni

In the north-eastern corner of the Upper-Treiscaune/Háromszék region, at the foot of the rocky Perkő Mountain, on the top of a slightly prominent hill, enclosed by a multi-angular tower-wall, there is a gothic aisle less church. The single nave is 22 m long and 10 m wide, while its sanctuary is 12 m long and 8 m wide. Painted on the exterior of the southern wall of the church, 1401 is allegedly marking the year when the gothic construction commenced – as the first church of the settlement was built in Roman style.

The ox head symbolizing St. Lucas, carved in grit on the first pillar holding the northern outer side of the nave, as well as the roughly carved angel-head symbolizing St. Matthew, on the upper quarter of the eastward second pillar, must have been preserved from the Roman period. Both carvings, in terms of their substance and degree of elaboration, show a significant difference from the beautifully carved, late gothic remains of the church interior. Due to the rather deteriorated stage of the late gothic structure, the church was re-vaulted in baroque style in the 18th century, preserving though the window- and door frames, as well as the chamber of the tabernacle in their initial place. Therefore, the sanctuary is now being lit from the south by lancet windows quoting the second half of the 15th century.

The western wing of the building is closed by a three-story tower that was meant to be the self-protected main entry.

The richly carved triptychs are part of the remains of the old interior. However, the 18th century main altar is the most beautiful, bearing the icon of St. Anna. The Way-of-the-Cross side-altar is another lovely and valuable item of the church.

The fortress consolidated with bastions, and the church within, is rather unique in Seklerland. There are pointed promontories on the northern, eastern and southern walls of the fortress, and cylindrical towers covered with shingle on all of its four corners. The southern and northern sides of the nonagon protection wall were provided with two outward acute-angled profiles each, and one eastward. The protection wall itself is 3, 5-4 m high on the southward and 3 m high northward. The towers meant to protect the corners are merely a little higher than the walls, and they are as thick as 80 cm.

The south-western tower is, actually, a ground-floor building, provided with an opening on its shingled roof. The wall erected in front of the western facade of the church is not less than 2 m thick, and the oblong arrow-slits are there to prove that it was built for defense. The wall of the fortress now is surely the result of several attempts of re-building, its present-day form being given towards the end of the 18th century, when the protection purpose of the tower churches was slowly subsiding.




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