Places of interest22 August 2023

The fortified church of Darjiu, nicknamed “The Fort of Bacon” – a unique monument of world heritage storing for centuries the food of the inhabitants

Darjiu, a small village in Harghita, with paved roads and jolly houses painted in various colors, became a point of attraction for the many domestic and international tourists

The fortified church of Darjiu - UNESCO World Heritage site since 1999

The fortified church of Darjiu - UNESCO World Heritage site since 1999

The village begins somewhere from the heart of Homoroade Sub Carpathians, dominated by the high tower of the fortified church that rises towards the sky.

In the middle of the clump of houses, the church-fortress is located, the “soul of the community” as the inhabitants call it. Besides its spiritual and defensive role, the church is used for hundreds of years for storing food during winter.

The place of worship was erected in 1270, built in a Romanic style that was usual in those times. The writings from 1640 show us that the fortified works were financed by the Prince of Transylvania under the voivodeship of Rákóczi György.

The tall rooms of over five meters and the very thick walls create an oasis of coolness creating a climate favorable for food storage (smoked bacon, pork knuckles, meats and sausages etc.). The nails from which the food is hanged are inherited from generation to generation –in the past, this indicated the level of wellbeing of the owners.

All the rules and habits related to food storage and management were preserved. Therefore, in each Wednesday, early in the morning, the bell begins to chime informing the villagers that the gates of the fortress are open and they can come to take the food for one week. This ceremony can be attended by the visitors if this is notified with several days before. A solar watch, fixed on the south-western tower in 1662, shows the irreversible passing of the time, although in the small medieval village, the time seems to be halted.

The church of Darjiu, declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1999 is one of the most important fortified church of Transylvania.


Elena Radu




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