Axente Sever /Frauendorf Fortified Church
and Historic Museum

 

       

The village of Axente Sever / Frauendorf

Axente Sever / Frauendorf, formerly called "Frua", is situated on the DN 14 in county Sibiu, about 11 kms southwest of the town of Medias. The village is on the right bank of the Visa, a tribuary of the Tirnava River, 2 kms south of Copsa Mica. This village was very much polluted by soot and toxic gases from chemical industry during the communistic regime.

The village is mentioned for the first time in a docoment from 1305 and that time it is called Villa Dominarum. The hamlet must have been inhabited earlier. For in 1875 562 golden coins from the period 211-56 before Christ were found. The village was founded in the 13th century by "Flandrenses", colonists from Brabant and Flanders, later called Saxons. The village consists of a ribbon development, with in the middle a fortified church to provide refuge to villagers in times of danger.

The world history seems to pass Frauendorf for a long time. In 1821, however, Axente Ion was born in the village. This politician, pedagogue and prefect, who bears the nick-name Sever, plays an important role during the Revolution in 1848. As head of the department of propaganda, he is an important comrade of Avram Iancu.

In 1931 Frauendorf gets the name Axente Sever, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the death of Axente Ion.

 

Nowadays the village the village has 2300 inhabitants. The municipality consists of three villasges: Axente Sever, Agibiciu and Soala. The greater part of the original German speaking population left in the second half of the 20th century for a better life in Germany. In the village only about two famillies have left. The most important means of livelihood are forestry and small industry. In 2009 a part of the defence wall of the fortified medieval church was restored. In that part a museum was founded about the history of the Saxon Churches. In the fortress there is now alsoi a B&B facility.

This restoring project was an initiative of international cooperation between Foundation Opération Villages Roumains NL (now Foundation Comité Samenwerking Roemenië in Ossendrecht)

The Mihai Eminescu Trust

Siebenburgische Sachsisch Stiftung

Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt.

       

Useful addresses

Postal code 557025

Post Office: Strada Principala 164 Axente Sever

Primaria (Townhall), Strada Principala 165 Axente Sever

Muzeul Cetate (museum of the Fortified Church), Strada Principala

You tube has a film of the opening: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uk5l_hmvwTk&feature=related

  

The Fortified Church
Plan of the All Saint's Church (Allerheiligenkirche) in
Axente Sever-Frauendorf

The village is on the right bank of the Visa, a tributary of the Tirnava River (in Rumanian the Visa), 2 kms South of Copsa Mica. This village was very much polluted by soot and toxic gases from chemical industry during the communistic regime.

The Evangelical Fortified Church is first mentioned in 1322 and 1323, built in gothic style. The church has a single circle of walls. In the walls around the church are a number of rooms, where the population of the village could hide themselves in times of danger. The baroque organ of the church dates from the year 1777. The church is dedicated to All Saints. The gothic Hall Church consists of a nave, and a so called crossing tower above de cross between the choir and the nave. You can climb the tower from a door at the outside the church. You must overpass the Church Attic to reach the tower. In the de bells are inscriptions as: "Gloria in excelcis Deo et in terra pax hominibus" (the well-known hymn of the shepherds when Christ was born) "Miserere nostri Domine/ Anno 1699".

All around are galleries, the organ is on the West Gallery. The organ builder Johann Hann uit Sibiu built the first organ. In 1926 it was transformed into a pneumatic organ by the firm Ludwig Wegenstein from Timisoara. The pulpit made from bricks is on the south wall.

The baroque altar was made by Stephan Valepagi. The Mass is celebrated from the Predella, the table in front of the altar. The most important picture is the crucifiction of Christ, his mother Mary and the Apostle St. John are beside Him. Between the four Corinthian Columns are the apostles St. Peter and St. Paul. At the moment the church is in a poor condition and needs many repairs. The 8 m. high oval defence wall has 30 storage rooms for corn, they were also used as hidings in dangerous times. Ton van Rijen took the intiniative for the restauration. Discussions with the Evangelic Consistorium in Medias and OVR resulted in a profound restauration in 2006-2009 of the corn storage rooms in the north wing. In it is now located a historic museum and B&B.

Fortified churches are also in other countries, for example in the North of France. In Romania they are can be found in Transsylvania. Underneath is a map with the most wellknown churches, the total number is about 160, however. Outside these Saxon regions there are also fortified churches belonging to the Hungarian Reformed Church, for example in Aiud (jud. Alba) and in Sfantu Gheorghe (jud. Covasna).

 Short list of villiges with Fortified Churches in Romanian and German

 

 

 

 Open April till October daily from 10 am to 6 pm

Sundays from 12 am to 6 pm

GPS code: N 46.5.36 E 24.12.727

Visit the museum.

An amazing history about the Middle Ages, the Colonisation period of Flandrenses and Saxons. About the attacks of the Tatars and Turks

and the bravery of the villagers. A joy for every visitor, with its models, maps and other exhibits.

  Spend a night in the special atmosphere of the church

Bed and Breakfast in the four rooms of the fortress. Every room has its own toilet and bathroom. Room capacity 14 persons. Rooms for 2,3,4,5 persons. Many photographs are in the photobook.

Per night per apartment for 1 person €10,  Breakfast € 5

Possibility of bike hiring in the fortress. Walking-tracks are clearly indicated. Horse riding in the neighbourhood can be arranged.

Reservations 0040(0)7.35.569.996 e-mail :muzeulcetate@yahoo.com

Breakfast room

Shop

A new publication!

For architects, tourists and all those who love history and medieval monuments

Transylvania, the Saxon Legacy”, by Tudor Seulean, Maarten Ruijters, Ton van Rijen

A brief description

There is but little information available in Western Europe about the fortified churches and peasant fortresses. This book comes to fill the gap, by portraying a number of these monuments of faith and endurance built by the ethnic Saxon community in Transilvania, Romania.

Their more than 800 years old culture raised hundreds of medieval village churches, but only 160 of them are still standing with fortifications, strongholds, bastions, heavy impregnable walls and massive towers. “Transylvania, the Saxon Legacy” shows more than 50 of such proud fortified churches in full colour and accompanying texts in five languages about their architectural and historic features.

The Dutch architect Maarten Ruijters outlines the architectural aspects, the variety of types and forms, the development of those small village churches into such strongholds, the alterations throughout centuries to withstand the changing warfare.

The beautiful photo work of Tudor Seulean is supported by drawings, detailed artwork of ground plans and sketches at the hand of Maarten Ruijters and further written details.

The history of the Romanian Saxons and their churches is presented in a dense, but clear overview: starting from around 1150, when inhabitants of the Low Countries came to settle in the Carpathian basin and up to the exodus that took place between 1950-1990. In that period of time most Romanian Saxons left for Germany in search of a more secure future. Finally, in 1990, with only a few Saxons left in their original villages, that unique and rich culture in the European landscape completely and silently imploded …

One of the chapters in the book mentions a special museum in Transylvania, devoted to the medieval construction of these churches. It offers answers to the following questions, who built the churches, when were they built, and why, and explains their significance for these small, strong, mainly rural communities..

The book presents a variety of subjects in a compact and practical form. It also contains a list with telephone numbers for direct contact with the conservator of the described church. A small map guides the visitor to these sites.

The book has 200 pages, of which 50 pages with information in English, Romanian, German, French and Hungarian language..

Format 23 x 24 cm

ISBN 978-073-126-163-8

Printing: Editura Grinta Cluj/Napoca 2009

Ordering:

From Holland, Belgium, Germany and Switzerland

Price: NL/B/CH € 22,50 Germany € 18 (includes shipping-costs)

Contact: A. van Rijen, Tel: 0031 164 673703E-mail: ajpcvanrijen@online.nl

ABNAmrobank 525213562 Bic ABNANL2A IBAN NL16ABNA0525213562

From Romania Price RON 60 (includes shipping-costs)

Contact: Tudor Seulean, Tel: 0040 728 8390560040 728 839056 or E-mail: tudorseulean@gmail.com