One of the most impressive medieval monasteries in Romania is located between the cities of Sibiu and Făgăraș, in southern Transylvania. Although today is mostly ruins, the Evangelical community managed to restore the eastern part of the church, the choir and the apse, part that it is still being used in the present.
The monastery was founded around 1200-1206 by the cistercian monks, who came in Transylvania under the protection of the hungarian kings. The first construction was a wooden basilica, and later in that century, the monastery was rebuild in stone, in romanesque and early gothic style.
This monument is very important for the medieval art of Transylvania because its art and architecture influenced most of the other medieval churches, like the fortified churches of the saxons, and one of the most common taken decorations is the rose window.
Unfortunately, all that remains are the ruins of the nave, the well preserved choir and apse, and the ruins of the eastern part of the abbey. The western facade of the church is still standing, along with the watch tower, built later, in the XVth century, when most of the transylvanian fortified churches were built.
Between the western facade and the restored apse and choir, there is an inside courtyard, in which are located the tombs of a few german soldiers of the world war I, the statue of Roland, made in 1928, and the local lapidary.
The inside of the choir and apse is very well preserved, and it is still being used in the present by the evangelical community. The abbey was built under the protection of the Virgin Mary, her representation being visible in the keystone of the vault, in the apse.
The Cistercian Monastery of Cârța is one of the most important medieval monuments in Transylvania, being the only cistercian abbey still standing in Romania. It was the main influence in the local medieval architecture, and one of the most important and active religious centres in Transylvania, until the XVth century, when it was dissolved by king Matthias Corvinus. Although it is mostly ruins, the remains of the abbey are well preserved and definitely worth visiting.