Another world                                                  audio (1)

 You have left the world of everyday life. With the ascent of the mountain of St. Michael, you are following the footsteps of the medieval pilgrims, who under the guidance of the Cistercian monks had already been on their way for several days to reach the church, where forgiveness of sins was promised. At that time the path meandered around the mountain to allow time for psalms and contemplation.

 The Panorama                                                 audio (2)

Once at the top, the pilgrims were greeted by an impressive panorama, a symbol of the transition from the smallness of our world to the infinity of God. The often snow-covered Fagaras Mountains - with the peak Suru in the foreground - were the backdrop of great religious emotion.  The pilgrims arrived exactly at sunrise: from darkness into light!

The entrance                                                     audio (3)

The entrance to the sacred circle was not through the present door, but through a narrow staircase leading up from the foot of the surrounding wall to  main church entrance. So the first thing the pilgrim - who was used to wooden cottages with a thatched roof - saw, was the magnificent stone west portal. It was built in 1256, made by western Hungarian stonemasons. 

 The Basilica                                                      audio (4)

The construction of the Romanesque St. Michael's Basilica begun in 1180 by the Sibiu (Catholic) Provost's Church, which ecclesiastically supervised the western settlers who arrived in that century. From 1223 to 1474 the basilica belonged to the Cistercians of Cârța, who provided this place of worship papal indulgences. After the Reformation (16th century) the basilica lost its cultic significance. 

The interior                                                       audio (5)

We immediately encounter the austerity of the Romanesque space. However, we must imagine it full of candlelight and with Gregorian chants in the background. Today the apse contains the tombstones of German and Austrian soldiers who fell around Sibiu in 1916. Their remains were transferred here in 1942.

The wall                                                              audio (6)

The courtyard is surrounded by a stone wall that separated the sacred from the profane.  When the Mongols invaded Europe in 1241, it was equipped with a running ring for archers and embrasures. All trees were removed from the mountain, to allow immediate notice of any movement.

The towers                                                        audio (7)

The wall was strengthened by defensive towers. One stood against the west and can only be recognized today by its foundation. Another one in the south, which protected the cart path and at the same time gave shelter to the priest. A third stood outside the ring, to the east. 

 The weddingstones                                        audio (8)

Round stones of different sizes can be found in some parts of the courtyard. These used to be rolled down by the Saxon villagers against attackers. But how did they get up? Every young man willing to marry had the task of rolling up one stone. It is said that the size of the stone was proportional to the greatness of his love for his future bride.