Slimnic Stronghold

Slimnic (German Saxon: Stulzembrich, Stűltsembriχ; German: Stolzenburg; Hungarian: Szelindek, Nagyszelindek) is a commune in Sibiu County, Transylvania, Romania. Around 1930, a treasure containing 18 golden coins minted between 1050 and 1350 was found in the territory of Slimnic. 12 of the coins were from mints located half way down the river Elba. It can therefore be assumed that some East-German colonists lived on these lands in the 14th century however the Saxon community here is known to be much older than that.

The stronghold of Slimnic is set on the hillock called Burgbaesch (or Burgbäsch). From this hill, that dominates the village below, the fortress was supposed to guard the way from Mediaş to the residence of the seat of Sibiu. Because of the deteriorating effects of historical events on the fortress, a set of ruins are all that remain today. The peasant citadel was built by the locals, who have used it for defense in harsh times or to maintain their supplies. The first mantle walls, built of uncut stone, were erected in the 12th century, at the time of the great Tatar invasion.

In Front of the Stronghold

This construction was replaced in the 15th century with a stronger construction made of brick. The Gothic chapel in the north of the citadel was then transformed into a defense tower. Besieged several times, the city was conquered by Ioan Zápolya in 1529, and Mózes Székely in 1602. It was besieged also by the Turks in 1658.

The Inner Court

The red brick walls formed two polygonal precincts which have both been preserved to this day. The southern one though, enclosing a well, was badly damaged by the kuruc at the beginning on the 18th century. They had attacked on behalf of Prince Ferenc II Rákóczi and were led by Lorenz Perki. The tower in the northern precinct had walls up to 3.5 m thick at the base, but had no machicolation, battlement or wall passage.

The Way to the Tower

During the 14th century was built, but unfinished, the Gothic basilica, on west-east axis of the stronghold. All that remains of the church today are its walls, except for the northern one, which has been destroyed. Because of the unusual plan and the elevated choir, under which there was a tunnel communicating with the gate tower, it is difficult to speculate on how the church was intended to look.

In the Tower

After 1717 the fortress was repaired several times. The stones taken from the demolition of a part of the church in 1855 were not used as planned for building a new school, but were instead used for a new cemetery wall. In 1870, the little tower between the inner and outer courtyard and part of the wall that guarded the southern entrance collapsed, as did the circular ones surrounding the well, only two years later. During World War I was taken the very precious bell. In the late 1950s the bell tower, the southern walls, and the north-western defensive tower were restored.

Google Maps

From Fortified Churches from Transylvania and other sources.

Panoramas by Michael Pop, from