©The fortified church of Harman (copyright: creative commons)
Harman is a village located about ten kilometers east of Brasov, well-known for its fortified church, built in the 13th century.
Historians think that the area was first settled by the Teutonic Knights, a military and religious order that moved into Burzenland in the early 12th century. However, the first time when the name of Harman showed up in a document was in 1240, 15 years after the Teutonic Knights left Burzenland.
The name of the place
The name of the village comes from the Hungarian Harmany, meaning “mountain of honey”, which is in turn believed to come from the beehives that were kept on the nearby hill. Indeed, in its first attestation, the village is called Mons Mellis, Latin for mountain of honey, with the German name of the village, Honigberg, having the same meaning.
The fortified church of Harman
The date when the fortified church of Harman was built is uncertain, but we know that it existed in 1240, when the Cistercian order took control over it. The construction combines Cistercian elements with architectural elements belonging to various styles, following the modifications that were made to the church over time. In the 15th century, the locals attempted to restore the old church in the Gothic style, however, only the bell tower was modified, becoming the tallest tower in Tara Barsei, at 32 meters. The massive fortification surrounding the church, similar to those at Prejmer and Sanpetru, was only added in the 15th century. Two concentrically walls and a defensive moat protected the church, with the inner wall reaching a height of 12 meters. No fewer than seven towers contributed to the defense of the construction.
Over the centuries, the Harman village and its fortified church were attacked and sieged repeatedly, by the Turks and Mongols, but also by the neighboring Wallachs and Moldavians. In addition, other catastrophes have affected it, including flooding, plague outbreaks, and fires. However, the church was restored each time.
There are several winter resorts nearby Brasov, which is located only 10 kilometers away from Harman, such as Predeal and Poiana Brasov. Easily accessible by car or bus, the slopes around Brasov have different difficulty levels. Many restaurants and bars are perched on the foothills of the slopes. Ski instructors, equipment rental services, and chain lifts are available.
The city of Brasov
A place of rich and complex history, Tara Barsei abounds in historical landmarks, such as the Black Citadel of Codlea, the Bran Castle, the Black Church in Brasov, or the fortified church of Harman.
The fortified church from Prejmer
In the close vicinity of Harman is another beautiful Saxon village, Prejmer, home to the largest and best preserved fortification in Eastern Europe. Visitors to Harman will also enjoy the outstanding natural beauty of the area.
How to get there
Due to the proximity to the city, getting to Harman is simple. Brasov is easily accessible from all over Romania by train or car, but it currently lacks an airport. Tourists that prefer to fly in can choose the airports in Sibiu or Bucharest. From the capital of Romania, Brasov and Harman can be reached in roughly three hours.