Str. Principală, nr. 111
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In the years 1205-1206 a group of Cistercian monks came to these parts of Transylvania from the monastery of Igriş (county of Timiş), i.e. the first Cistercian monastery from Romania, founded in 1179.
Not far from today’s Cârţa, on the left bank of the Olt river, they erected a modest wooden building; but a couple of years later they brought on some skilled stone masons from France who built a true gothic construction. In fact, the new church played an inspirational role in the architecture of the future fortified churches from Transylvania.
The Cistercians had a very strict lifestyle and focused all their work on the benefit of the seculars. They brought to Cârţa varieties of noble vines all the way from Burgundy… they say that due to their severe eating diet, wine was the only thing giving them strength.
In summertime, the monks from the Cârţa Abbey used to go to their mother abbey from Pontigny, France, to learn about the latest discoveries. In order to build a better defence against their enemies, they built two grottoes near the monastery, where they could hide. Legends say that they even dug a tunnel from the church altar to the Olt river.
In 1474, the king Mathias Corvin dissolved the abbey because the neighbouring locals were constantly complaining that it was the abbey which caused the constant enemy attacks.
In spite of the decay, the monument has kept its impressive architecture: capitals, keystones, windows and consoles and even the 15th century western portal.
Today the church is frequented by the evangelical community of Cârţa.
For further details, please go to: www.biserici-fortificate.com
Did you know...?
In 1980 two human skeletons were discovered in the church yard, each over 2 m tall. They say that in the Middle Ages they used to send people with all kinds of physical anomalies to this monastery.
The place of the former main nave was taken by a cemetery of German soldiers fallen in the First World War.