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Cultural heritage
NIRAJ VALLEY

Good to know

 

Carved wooden gates

Among the gates of the region the ones that are worth to be mentioned are those in Mătrici. The most typical are the roofed pedestrian gates, among which the most significant ones createdby Kajcsa Jakab and Nagy László carving masters. The Kajcsa-gates were made in the first decades of the 20th century.They are famous for their engraved elements related to farming. Another particularity of the region is the stone carved pedestrian gates with arched transoms, with ornaments carved in the stone pillars or the simple round medallion at the bottom of the pillar. Towards the end of the 19th century, bigger, attached Szekler gates were made, mostly by carvers from Odorheiu Secuiesc. These gates were made from wood but in some exceptional cases one can see lofted Szekler gates on stone pillars too.

VEIT STOSS masterpiece in Eremitu

One of the most valuable oeuvre d’art of the whole region is to be found in the 19th century church of Eremitu: a carved wooden crucifix. For a long time it was believed that this masterpiece is the work of the famous,late Gothic and early Renaissance sculptor Veit Stoss, who workedin Krakow and Nuremberg. It is more likely, however, that the crucifix is rather the handwork of Stoss’s two sons, Johann and Veit Stoss junior,who settled in Transylvania –establishing a workshop in Sighisoara.

Franciscan monastery and church

Perhaps the most valuable religious edifice of the region, the monastery was built in the 17th century, in the years of counter-reformation. At the beginning Bosnian, then Hungarian Franciscans established monastic and educational institutions with a library here. Its octagonal tower and the crypt below the church are both very interesting aspects of the edifice. The crypt was the burial place for both noble laymen and ecclesiastic notables. Among the most significant artistic creations from an architectural perspective are the two carved, wooden gates. Their style is unique in Transylvania; some researchers say that they contain German mannerist elements, typical for that time. The arched windows of the church are decorated with sgrafitto decorations. In 1666 Iohannes Caioni becomes prior of the community and launches the construction of a new monastery.

Kacsó Sándor memorial house

The native house of the poet Sándor (1901-1984) is dedicated to the memory of this outstanding creator inthe TransylvanianHungarian literature. The exhibits evoke the life and career of Sándor Széllyes, popular Transylvanian humourist and actor, whose witty rhymes brought countless moments of joy in people's livesovershadowed by the communist regime.

Roman catholic church

The papal record of tithes from 1332 already mentions Hodos’ church. It is almost completely rebuilt in the 15th century, in gothic style. Today the gothic ”touch” is only visible on the main gate’s stone frame. The actual look dates from 1880, when the church was again rebuilt. The larger bell dates back to 1504, the smaller one dates back to 1660. The baptismal font was made in 1486, the altar in 1683.

Ethnographic collection

One of the memories that Sâmbriaş can be very proud of is Béla Bartók’s visit to the village. Bartók arrived in the Niraj Valley in 1914 as a part of his research. On the 11th of April he collected material in Eremitu, and then he spent a few days in Mătrici and Sâmbriaş. The memory of his staying here has been preserved by the locals’ stories as well in the local museum

Protestant church, 14th century

Reformed church from Bâra, supposedly built in 1385, having Gothic and Romanesque elements as well. The village got its name from the church, which was named after the saint cross, and it appears under the name S. Cruce in the register of papal tithes. The church which once served twelve villages stands on a hill with its fortress-like stone walls. One can see interesting frescos here as well as runic writings and handwritings on the walls of the tower. The biggest of its bells – which, according to Orbán Balázs has 15 quintals, being the biggest bell and having the most beautiful chime in the region – has a Latin circumscription: „Veni Rex glorie cum pace S.R. 1542.” 

Protestant church and bell steeple

The Gothic Church in Eremieni was already standing in Árpád’s Time. Supposedly it was built by the settlers in the 13th century in honour of Prince Imre. During its restoration some valuable architectural treasures were discovered: the sacristy door, the tabernacle and the remains of old frescos. The bridging and the chancel of the church are traditionally painted blue, the parapets are decorated with traditional embroideries made by the women of the congregation. This beautifully located church confers the atmosphere of medieval times to the village with its wooden belfry built next to it.

Unitarian church

One of the most prominent landmarks in the region, a unique architectural chef d’oeuvre within Szeklerland. Built in the 13th century, its sanctuary and the coffered ceiling of the nave were manufactured in 1667. This is one example of the oldest Renaissance coffered ceilings made in Transylvania, decorated mostly with plant motifs and geometrical – figural elements, painted in red, grey and black. Other interesting elements of the church are the lidded chairs, made by Tóth Mihály and Tóth István in the 17th century, the massive stone towers with four turrets from the beginning of the 18th century, as well as the wooden palisade that surrounds the building. The gate carved in 1673, put on display in the church garden is one of the oldest roofed gates in the region. Near the entrance of the church, the “stone of shame” can be seen. This is where those who disobeyed the community and church laws were pilloried on Sundays.

Protestant church, Bethlen crypt

Once a possession of the Sükösd family, the dominion was donated to János Bethlen. In the 19th century count Kamilló Bethlen a ordered the construction of a castle, which was brought to ruins during care World War I. On the hill near the village a pyramid was erected in memory of the royal and imperial chamberlain Lipót Bethlen and his wife, as well as a crypt, the lair of Farkas Bethlen.
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Cultural heritage

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