Community Programme

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Community Programme for the Examination of Endangered Fortified Churches

The Transylvanian-Saxon landscape of fortified churches is one of the most important testimonies to German settlement history in south-eastern Europe. It consists of more than 160 fortified churches, the state of preservation of which is the responsibility of the Evangelical Church A. C. in Romania (ECACR) as the owner. The individual objects are threatened to varying degrees, and in some cases the amount of degradation has not yet been identified. Collapses such as those in Roadeș and Rotbav in 2016 testify to the vulnerability of individual buildings.

Against this background, the Fortified Churches Foundation has developed a Romanian-German emergency programme together with the European University Viadrina (Frankfurt/Oder), the Transylvanian-Saxon Cultural Council and the Superior Consistory of the ECACR. The aim is to have the stability of particularly endangered fortified churches examined by experts and – if necessary – to work out securing measures. The selection of the objects to be included was made by experts from the Fortified Churches Foundation in cooperation with the Superior Consistory of the ECACR and the five district consistories. The buildings included are examined by teams of experts consisting of structural engineers, geologists and other specialists with regard to their structural condition and stability. These examinations pursue the goal of proposing interventions on structurally particularly critical objects and structural components in the form of emergency rescue measures and compiling priority lists with necessary interventions. As a result, reports and recommendations for measures will be available.

The investigations were carried out between summer 2017 and the end of 2019. The joint programme is financed by the German Federal Commissioner for Culture and the Media, the ECACR’s Sustainability Fund and the Romanian Ministry of Culture. The project executing agency is the Chair of Monument Studies at the European University Viadrina, which has been an important project partner in Transylvania for many years with its Master’s programme Protection of European Cultural Heritage. The project is being coordinated locally by the Fortified Churches Foundation.

Map: For the examination of these 20 fortified churches, the German Federal Commissioner for Culture and the Media is providing the necessary funding. 

Funded by:


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Project partners involved:


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