Jugendzentrum Seligstadt

 

History

 

SeligstadtThe first record of Seligstadt dates from 1206. “Selgestat” or “Felix locus” was one of the first settlement regions of the Transylvanian Saxons. Following the distress call of the Hungarian King Gézá II, settlers from the Rhein-Mosel-region travelled to Transylvania around the middle of the 12th century, to protect the land from the Mongol invaders. The church-fortresses they built and equipped for defence, are historical monuments of the Transylvanian-Saxon culture and tradition.

One of the ca. 300 church-fortresses, that have survived the passing of the centuries, is the church-fortress in Seligstadt that still thrones mightily over the village. Who is interested in the ever-changing history of the Saxons in Transylvania, can read it all over this place, traces of past centuries lay everywhere between the signs of the present: 15th century crenels next to rain drains of the latest generation.

Multifunctional by today’s standards, the church-fortress was never “just” a place of church service, but also a defence facility, sanctuary and today part of a meeting centre for young people from all over the world.

The church was built between 1300 and 1350, at first without a tower. After severe attacks from the Turks, the Saxons turned the church into a fortress around the end of the 15th century: the choir was overbuilt with a three storey tower and the nave received a defence level. The enemies were met with arrows and hot tar pitch, which were masterfully aimed through the shooting embrasures. If you climb up the tower today, you will enjoy a great view of the surroundings of Seligstadt, peaking through the ancient alcoves.

Even though the church-fortress held up successfully against the Turk attacks of the Middle Ages, time and weather have slowly worn it down. Following the mass emigration of the Saxons, the church, parsonage and school were left unattended for and neglected over a long period of time, and thus decayed rapidly. On the initiative of the parish priest of Fogarasch, Dr. Johannes Klein, extensive salvaging measures were started in 1997: the roof was retiled, new rain drains were mounted and the pipe organ was refurbished. With great commitment from many voluntary helpers, the restoration of the parsonage and school were also successful. Now Seligstadt is finally ready for a new age!