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The Mosna Fortified Church

 

Those with a passion for history in general and medieval or even more ancient history in particular would do well to include the village of Moşna, Sibiu County, in their list of places to see. And once they set foot in that community that literally exists since the beginnings of time – archaeological proof has been found indicating that the current village is a continuation of a I-III century settlement – it would be unforgivable not to visit the Evangelical fortified church erected by the Saxons towards the end of the XIV century.


There are many remarkable things about this church, not the least of which is its size and the impressive skill displayed by those who worked to erect it, but its beauty is hardly surprising considering it was built by a wealthy community of Saxons, striving to establish themselves as the best in a competition against the villages of Mediaş and Biertan.

The Mosna Fortified Church (copyright: creative commons)

The Mosna Fortified Church (copyright: creative commons)

 

About

Local history
The first official record of the village of Moşna goes back to 1283, but a coin thesaurus that was discovered in 1780 seems to indicate the settlement actually dates back from the times of the Roman emperor Nero.

Construction
The Evangelical-Lutheran church was erected by the local community between 1480 and 1486 at the site of a former basilica, using some of the remaining materials from its ruins. Construction was supervised by master stone cutter Andreas Lapicidas of Sibiu. Upon completion, the church was dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

The Evangelical church of Moşna is a late Gothic construction, structured around three naves with ribbed vaults for ceilings. The naves are separated through four pairs of columns, the ones in the west side having been made of bricks and decorated differently so as to preserve the eastern group of columns intact, since the latter was erected using stone from the pillars of the former basilica. Inside, the most striking elements are the door to the sacristy, with a stone framework made by master Andreas Lapicida who also authored the stone pulpit, both of them considered some of the most beautiful examples of late Gothic sculpture, as well as the monumental tabernacle, measuring 11.05 m in height.

 

Must see

While defense towers are a common occurrence with most fortification complexes, the church of Moşna stands out through the number and size of its various towers. The stronghold has, in all, five towers. The actual tower of the church was built in the XIV century, ultimately reaching a height of seven levels, and it currently includes three bells, the oldest of which dates from 1515. The gate tower in the south-eastern corner has five levels. The northern side of the fortification is guarded by a four levels tower. A shorter, three-level tower was erected to the south, not far from the Lard Tower, a structure that was used, as the name indicates, to store lard. The southern tower currently hosts a museum dedicated mostly to the trades and customs of the Saxon community but which also includes exhibits discovered during various archaeological explorations, such as coins and fragments of weaponry.