Saxon houses in Viscri
|Coordinates: 46°03′N 25°06′ECoordinates: 46°03′N 25°06′E|
|First settled||12th century|
The village of Viscri (German: Deutschweißkirch or simply Weißkirch; Hungarian: Szászfehéregyháza), is part of Buneşti commune inRomania. The village is small, with a population of roughly 400 people; of which 30 are Saxon. Most though identify themselves as Romanian, with a few calling themselves Roma or gypsies. Viscri lies northwest of Rupea and can be reached through Dacia on a 7 km unpaved road. It is best known for its highly fortified church, originally built around 1100 AD. The first documentation of Viscri is a record of church taxes dated around 1400, in which the village is referred to as being part of the Rupea parish. Its inhabitants consisted of 51 farmers, 1 school master, 3 shepherds and 2 paupers.  Viscri is part of the Saxon villages with fortified churches in Transylvania, designated in 1993 as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
The origins of the fortified church date from 1100 AD when the Szeklers built a small church with a single hall and semicircular apse. Around 1185 the church was taken over by Saxon colonists, and the Szecklers were forced to settle in southeast Transylvania. In the 14th century the eastern part of the church was rebuilt and in 1525, the first fortifications with towers were added. In the 18th century the church was surrounded by a second defense wall. After 1743 a covered corridor for the storage of corn was built. A century later, two chambers in the defense corridor of the bastion were turned into school rooms. The classic 19th century altar has as centerpiece „the Blessing of the Children” by the painter J. Paukratz from Rupea. The font was made from a capital of the 13th century church. To this day, the church is surrounded by a cemetery with gravestones dating back to the Bjielo-Brdo culture.
Prince of Wales and Sustainable Tourism
In 2006, The Prince of Wales bought and restored two 18th Century Saxon houses in the Transylvanian villages of Malancrav and Viscri to help protect the unique way of life that has existed for hundreds of years and promote sustainable tourism.
The buildings have been sensitively restored and converted into guesthouses for tourists. They remain in keeping with the surrounding architecture and feature a number of Transylvanian antiques but with modern facilities where possible.
The renovation of these buildings has helped provide a sustainable future for the people of rural Transylvania while also enabling residents to maintain their traditional way of life.