The fortified church in Dârjiu – The Bacon Fortress
The Unitarian church in Dârjiu (Székelyderzs), declared a UNESCO monument in 1999, is one of the most important fortified churches in Transylvania.
The most valuable assets of the monument are the wall paintings from the 15th century, of which the most important is the series of paintings depicting the legend of St. Ladislau, made in 1419 at the behest of István Ungi's son. The paintings are in a very good condition.
Among the church's attractions is the brick found in 1929 with Szekler runic writing, still visible today. The experts date the creation of this brick somewhere between 1274 and 1431. The content of the inscription is subject to discussion, a version of the text being "Miklós Derzsi apa-pap" (Miklós Derzsi father-priest).
Ramparts were built on the inner side of the fortress, but in 1788 they were dismantled, because there was no need for their protection. The wall is interesting due to the barns built on the inside, where the villagers could keep their goods and store the cereals.
The church has rooms over 5 m tall and thick walls that keep a constant temperature indoors, regardless of the season. For hundreds of years, villagers have deposited their supplies of smoked meat and bacon in them, which is why the church is also known as the Bacon Fortress.
Each family in the village has at least one wooden nail in the tower where the meat, sausages, bacon and smoked ham are stored. Nails are inherited from generation to generation and are not given away, the number of nails held indicating the social status of the family in question.
Every Wednesday, when the rooster crows - according to the rules established in the medieval times and still in effect today - the bell begins to ring, announcing the villagers that the gates of the fortress will open and they can come to make provisions for a week.
Visitors can take part in the "bacon ceremony" every Wednesday, if they announce their presence a few days earlier. If they wish, the visitors can register by phone, even from abroad, and after paying a tax, they could taste the meals at the "bacon feast". The feast starts with a plum brandy called pălincă, which increases the appetite, followed by sheep curd cheese, ham, traditional smoked bacon, other goodies from the local gastronomy and homemade wine.
Sources info and photo: http://virtualisszekelyfold.ro/; https://www.mediafax.ro/