One of the most picturesque fortified churches in Transylvania is located in Meșendorf. Situated between the upper reaches of the Hârtibaciu River and national road no. 13, the monumental building was part of an EU-funded renovation project ten years ago. What could not be completed at the time has now been tackled.
When the fortified church in Meșendorf was included in the first EU project 2010-2014, the church tower roof and the interior of the tower were not part of the construction project. Due to sporadic damage to the tower roof caused by the weather in recent years, individual roof tiles had fallen from the bell tower onto the newly covered roof of the nave, threatening to cause consequential damage. Following an enquiry from the very committed Saxon hometown community (HOG) to the Fortified Churches Foundation, Commissioner for the Preservation of Monuments Sebastian Bethge and workers from a local craftsman’s firm tackled the problem.
Consequential damage prevented
Firstly, the gaps in the church tower roof were closed by replacing intact roof tiles. Then a portcullis was installed around the tower above the battlements to protect both people and the nave from roof tiles that might fall in the future. In addition, the connection point between the roof of the nave and the tower wall was repaired where there were gaps. Rainwater could have caused serious damage here in th long term. The roof battens were also improved at this point.
The costs of just under 5,000 Euros for the two weeks of work in Meșendorf at the beginning of September 2023 were borne by the HOG, the Brașiv church district and the Fortified Churches Foundation.
The church in Meșendorf was built in the 14th century as an early Gothic hall church with an integrated west tower. Shortly before the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries, the defense level on the church tower, which still characterises the appearance of the fortification today, was added as part of the church’s development into a fortified church.
Text: Stefan Bichler