The Evangelical Fortified Church in Mercheaşa
The center of the settlement was organized around the architectural complex of the Evangelical church. Its history already started in the thirteenth century.
The original building was a three-nave basilica, as indicated by the central nave, the only standing today, after severe transformations. The new polygonal altar is certainly of Gothic origin. Two inscriptions from the first half of the seventeenth/sixteenth century indicate the building schools employed. One does not know if the altar was soon changed when the decision was made to turn the church in a real fortification block. Anyway, almost none of the medieval jewels are well preserved. The sacristy, for certain, still holds its old medieval dowry.
Though the church was renovated around 1621-1623, it burned down during the Turkish-Tatar invasion of 1858. The furniture, including stalls and tribunes, is dated by inscriptions to 1788. The present-day bell tower was only built around the middle of the nineteenth century.
The precinct around the church was designed according to a principle of classical simplicity, as a rectangle with corner towers. Among them, the only fully preserved tower is located on the south-eastern corner and there are traces of the tower once standing on the opposite corner. The towers were built by cutting the curtain’s corners.
Almost the entire western half of the old church fortification was demolished or partially included in other buildings during the erection of a parish house and of a confessional school.
The aspect of the corner building, with stepped buttresses, does not fit the characteristics of a very new construction.
The access gate was located in the same sector. The present-day gate, well strengthened with iron bars, dates back to the seventeenth century.
The preserved sectors, rising no higher than 6-7 meters from the ground, still include two rows of loop holes that one could reach by wall walks built on several levels one on top of the other. The upper ones project well to the exterior/ provide appropriate firing positions indicating that the walls were super-elevated during a late building stage. A second curtain, with only one side still visible today, was built according to a triangular ground plan, annexed to the southern side. Its access ways were also located in the sector where the new buildings now stand.
Text and photo source: http://www.rupeaturistica.ro/