Gherdeal / Gürteln / Gerdály

The church in Gherdeal, a small, secluded village in the valley of the Rohrbach River, is still surrounded by a well preserved defence wall with towers in all four corners. The southern tower was transformed mid 19th century into a gatehouse and served as a home for the castle guardian. The initial medieval church in danger of collapse was completely demolished in 1850 and a new hall church with western tower was built in the contemporary style, as the simple composition of the tower’s facade and the interior furnishing testify. Only the Baroque altar was saved from the old church and placed in the new one. The Baroque organ was built for the church in Cristian, but in 1842 it was brought and assembled here.

Place and surroundings

Until not so long ago, a visit to Gürteln was like travelling back in time, as the small and remote village was considered the “ghost village of Transylvania”. From the 1990s onwards, Gürteln was just a reflection of what must have once been a bright and cheerful place. The few remaining inhabitants could be counted on a few hands. The echo of the village’s name even travelled as far as Germany after Martin Nudow and Thomas Beckmann made the award-winning documentary film Gherdeal about the village and its last inhabitants in 2002/2003.

But the tide has turned in the last ten years: People from various parts of Romania and all over the world are spending time in the village in the summer months and the cultural initiative Anima Viva has breathed new life into Gherdeal and is setting up various projects.