Fortified church

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

As a fortified church is called the mounts to a cemetery , which in the Middle Ages and early modern period by the population as a retreat in armed conflicts (function of Fliehburg ) and were used as storage for supplies. The fortified church can consist of walls, ditches and towers. If the church itself has such defensive functions, one speaks of a fortified church .

Building history of the fortified churches

The church is surrounded by a well- fortified wall , which is equipped with battlements and defensive towers or by Gaden. They are a further development of the fortified churches , whose defensive walls are also the church walls. However, the terms are often used synonymously , and the transition is fluid because the technical terminology is not used sharply enough: a fortified church is a single building, a fortified church is a building complex.

In the early Middle Ages, the early episcopal seats were designed as fortified churches, especially in the newly Christianized areas such as Saxony. One speaks here of a Domburg .

Fortified churches are particularly common in Franconia , southern France and Transylvania . In Transylvania in particular, a historical German settlement area in Romania , there are well over a hundred fortified churches, seven of which have been declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites (Birthälm / Biertan 1993, Kelling / Calnic, Wurmloch / Valea Viilor, Dersch / Darjiu, Deutsch-Weißkirch / Viscri, Keisd / Saschiz and Tartlau / Prejmer 1999). They were built and maintained to defend against the recurring Turkish invasions .

The fortified churches that are still preserved today were built in the 15th century. Unlike the townspeople, the villagers did not have the money to build defensive structures around the village. But they were no less exposed to the armed conflicts of their sovereigns and thus also to raids and looting. Larger bands of robbers were also a danger that should not be underestimated. The church, often the only stone building in town, was best suited to defend oneself in it, which is how the different shapes arose, from the fortified military cemetery to simple fortified churches and fortified churches. In Franconia in particular, the churches are surrounded by gaden, which served as granaries, which meant that they could endure a siege lasting several days.

Fortified churches have not survived in northern Germany. Presumably this is due to the fact that in the stone-poor areas the material of the dismantled ring walls around the churches was used elsewhere. The so far only known fortified church in the coastal area is the Dionysius Church in Bremerhaven-Wulsdorf, for which a field stone ring wall at a height of up to 3.60 m has been handed down.

List of places with existing fortified churches


Laichingen on the Swabian Alb


District Alb-Donau:

District of Böblingen:

District of Enz:

District Heilbronn:

District of Ludwigsburg:

Main-Tauber district:

Fortified church Oberschüpf
Urphar fortified church

Tuttlingen district:


District of Ansbach:

Bad Kissingen district:

Bayreuth district:

District Cham:

District of Eichstätt:

District of Erlangen-Höchstadt:

Forchheim district:


District of Haßberge:

District of Kitzingen:

Fortified church in Kleinlangheim
Fortified church / fortified church of the Holy Spirit in Grafengehaig

District of Kulmbach:

Main-Spessart district:

District of Miltenberg:

District Neustadt an der Aisch-Bad Windsheim:

District of Passau:

District of Rhön-Grabfeld:

District of Schweinfurt:

Kirchgaden in Geldersheim

Weissenburg-Gunzenhausen district

District of Würzburg:

City of Nuremberg:

Lower Saxony

District of Osnabrück:



Goerlitz district


  • Echternach : the former parish church of St. Peter and Paul was built inside Roman walls that protected it until the 18th century.
  • Luxembourg : there is still a tower of the otherwise completely destroyed fortified Altmünster monastery



Romania (Transylvania)

Main article List of places in Transylvania with a fortified church or fortified church

165 fortified churches are still preserved in Transylvania. Seven fortified churches in Romania have been named UNESCO World Heritage Sites .


  • Karl Kolb: Fortified churches in Europe: a picture documentation. Echter, Würzburg 1983, ISBN 3-429-00818-2 .

German-speaking area

  • Dieter Bischop , Nicola Borger-Keweloh, Dieter Riemer (eds.): Castle and church in Wulsdorf. Bremerhaven 2014, ISBN 978-3-931771-00-3 .
  • Wolfram Freiherr von Erfa: Fortified churches in Upper Franconia . Kulmbach 1956.
  • Dirk Höhne: Comments on the so-called defensibility of medieval country churches. In: Castles and palaces in Saxony-Anhalt. 12 (2003), pp. 119-149. (critical to H. Müller, among others)
  • Dirk Höhne, Christine Kratzke (ed.): The medieval village church in the new federal states II. Function, form, meaning (= Hallesche contributions to art history. 8). Halle 2006. (eleven essays on the subject of "Resilience of village churches")
  • Fred Kaspar (Ed.): In the attic in the churchyard. Living and working in the center of small towns and villages. (= Insights. Writings of the Kleines Bürgerhaus Foundation. Volume 5). Petersberg 2018.
  • Karl Kolb: Fortified churches and fortified churches in Franconia. 2nd Edition. Echter, Würzburg 1981, ISBN 3-921056-16-0 .
  • Hans u. Berta Luschin: Carinthia's most beautiful fortified churches . Carinthia, Klagenfurt 1985, ISBN 3-85378-237-X .
  • Heinz Müller: Well-fortified churches in Saxony and Thuringia . Oberlausitzer Verlag, Waltersdorf 1992, ISBN 3-928492-26-8 .
  • Ursula Pfistermeister: Well-fortified Franconia: castles, fortified churches, city walls . Carl, Nürnberg 2000, ISBN 3-418-00387-7 .
  • Reinhard Schmitt : "Well-fortified churches" and the "fortified churchyard" of Walldorf, Schmalkalden-Meiningen district. In: Castles and palaces in Saxony-Anhalt. 9, 2000, pp. 127-149. (critical to G. Seib, among others)
  • Gerhard Seib: Fortified churches in northern Hesse. (= Contributions to Hessian history. 14). Trautvetter & Fischer, Marburg an der Lahn 1999, ISBN 3-87822-111-8 .
  • Michael Weithmann: Fortified churches in Upper Bavaria. A typological overview. In: More beautiful home. ISSN  0177-4492 . 1992, No. 4, pp. 211-222.
  • Joachim Zeune: New research on Franconian fortified churches. In: Castle research from Saxony. 5/6 1995, pp. 226-239. (critical to this, especially to Kolb's publications)


  • Hermann and Alida Fabini: Fortified churches in Transylvania. Image and self-portrayal of Transylvanian-Saxon village communities 2nd edition. Koehler and Amelang, Leipzig 1991, ISBN 3-7338-0073-7 .
  • Hermann Fabini: Atlas of the Transylvanian-Saxon fortified churches and village churches . Monumenta-Verlag, Sibiu, ISBN 3-929848-15-5 . (AKSL, Heidelberg 1999, ISBN 973-98825-0-1 ) (527 fortified churches, all known, are represented with floor plans and descriptions of the building history)
  • Heinrich Lamping: Fortified churches in Transylvania. Geographical analyzes, brief descriptions, image documentation. (= Frankfurt economic and social geographic writings. Issue 57). Self-published by the Institute for Economic and Social Geography, Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main 1991.
  • Arne Franke: The defensive Sachsenland. Fortified churches in southern Transylvania. German Cultural Forum for Eastern Europe, Potsdam 2007, ISBN 978-3-936168-27-3 . Brief description The well-fortified Sachsenland . on-line

See also

Web links

Commons : Fortified churches and fortified churches  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Kirchenburg  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Albert Jacquemin: Castle fortifications of the city of Luxembourg. Imprimerie Saint-Paul, Luxembourg 1991, pp. 163-164.
  2. Markus Bauer: Jewels of world architecture. The fortified churches of the Transylvanian Saxons . In: Neuer Zürcher Zeitung of July 6, 2017, p. 38.
  3. ^ Villages with Fortified Churches in Transylvania. UNESCO World Heritage Center 1992–2010.
  4. Soren Pichotta: museums of the fortified churches - gems in Transylvania. Schiller, Hermannstadt / Bonn 2008.