Gherdeal / Gürteln
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
A visit to this location can be compared to a journey back in time, Gherdeal being known as “the phantom village of Transylvania”. The designation does not necessarily suggest that on the dusty path walks nor inside the deserted houses restless spirits are on the watch, but rather tells that Gherdeal is not merely a village anymore, but the memory of a cheerful, lively place that it used to be once upon a time. The few inhabitants can be easily counted on the fingers of few hands and the silence of the forest is rarely disturbed by a shy motor growl or the sound of a telephone ringing. Nevertheless the fame of the place has reached Germany due to the documentary movie “Gherdeal” that M. Nudow and Th. Beckman shot in 2002-2003, which presents the solitary life of the inhabitants and of the last Saxon family in the village.
The Orthodox and the 16th Century fortified Evangelic church are both signs of trust in a better future, as well as high faith that Gherdeal, the place that people forget, is not a God forsaken place.