Retrace the footsteps of Hutterite ancestors as you cross the Transylvania region of Romania; home to the small Hutterite community of Alwinz for nearly 150 years. See the orphanage built by the Jesuits to house the Hutterite children that they planned to abduct if their parents didn’t recant their Anabaptist faith. Envision the great escape that thwarted the Jesuit plan as the last 77 Hutterites, one-third of which were children under 12, fled over the Transylvanian Alps and miraculously escaped to safety, in a Muslim-controlled country. Also, explore the rich heritage of the Saxon Germans and Romanians with whom the Hutterites interacted. Marvel at the historic architectural beauty of medieval castles, churches and villages. Scenic Transylvania is where the Carinthian Lutheran converts with the family names of Hofer, Kleinsasser, Glanzer, Waldner, and Wurtz, joined the Hutterite families of Wipf, Tschetter and Stahl to form the nucleus from which the rejuvenated Hutterites would grow and prosper. Tour leader Rodney Hofer is the author of Hutterites in Romania: A Brief History and Guide. He is a wealth of passion and knowledge about Hutterite history.
2023 Romania Hutterite and Cultural Tour
Saturday, June 3 Sibiu
Arrive in Sibiu, an important Romanian cultural centre located in the region of Transylvania and meet your fellow travellers. Depending on your arrival time, optional afternoon activities could include a walking tour or visiting sites and attractions near your hotel. Receive a tour orientation over dinner.
Sunday, June 4 Sibiu
Begin discovering Hutterite history in Romania at the Hermannstadt Penitentiary Workhouse, where Mathias Hofer and three Carinthian teenage girls were imprisoned for 15 years. Then on to Casa Altemberger, which was Hermannstadt City Hall until 1948. Numerous Hutterites were jailed in this building. In the afternoon, enjoy a cathedral visit, followed by free time to find lunch and peruse local shops or ascend the City Tower for a scenic view of the Old Town.
Monday, June 5 Sibiu
Visit an orphanage built by Jesuits to house the Hutterite children they planned to abduct. Then, experience two of Romania’s many fortified churches at Cisnadie and Cisnadioara, both built in the Romanesque style in the 12th century. These strongholds protected villagers from Ottoman attacks until the 18th century. At the Museum of Folkloric Traditional Civilization, gain insight into Romanian culture as you explore this open-air museum’s wealth of exhibits on traditional village life.
Tuesday, June 6 Deva
Travel to Romos, the first village to which the Carinthian Lutherans were deported. In Romos, visit the Parochial House, now a museum, where the German settlers hid when the town was raided during invasions. Be amazed by Corvin Castle, one of the largest castles in Europe, built in a Gothic-Renaissance style. Then continue on to Deva for the night.
Wednesday, June 7 Alba Iulia
Tour the ruins of Deva Castle, where three Carinthian Lutherans were imprisoned in the dungeon. In Vintu de Jos (Alwinz), visit the ruins of a castle which was the site of positive and negative experiences for Hutterites. They were given sanctuary in the castle in 1622 but later the Jesuits used the castle as a prison for Hutterites. Later, visit a Reformed Church near former Bruderhof site and enjoy fellowship with the pastor and church members. Drive to Alba Iulia for the night and enjoy an evening stroll around the 17th-century Citadel.
Thursday, June 8 Alba Iulia
This morning, visit the oldest surviving Romanian Synagogue. In Alba Iulia, enjoy a special opportunity to see Hutterite codices on an arranged visit at the Biblioteca Batthyaneum. View the spectacular changing of the guard ceremony at the Alba Iulia Citadel, then visit the New Gate of the city where Hutterite leaders were imprisoned in the citadel walls. See the 11th-century Roman Catholic cathedral which once had a bishop who was a Hutterite landlord at Alwinz. Later, learn about Romanian Orthodox customs at an Orthodox cathedral.
Friday, June 9 Sighișoara
Today, make your way to Sighișoara with stops along the way. The Romani (often referred to as gypsies) are the largest minority ethnic group in Romania. Visit some Romani craftspeople, either coopers (barrel-makers) or copper-smiths, in the village of Bratieu. Stop in Biertan to admire a UNESCO World Heritage designated church which is one of the largest of Transylvania’s fortified churches. Then see the fortified church in Mălâncrav, a 14th-century church featuring rare well-preserved Gothic frescoes depicting scenes from the Bible. Depending on concert schedules, there may be an opportunity to take in a public concert in Sighișoara this evening.
Saturday, June 10 Brasov
This morning, explore Sighișoara citadel, including Dracula’s birthplace, a Medieval torture museum, and the view from the Citadel Tower. Depart for Brasov with stops to: Kreuz fortified church- a Hutterite detention site, Rupea fortress ruins- a Glanzer family prison, Viscri Fortified Church UNESCO site, and Brasov Forest- traversed by Hutterites during their escape in 1767. End the day in Brasov (Kronstadt)—a fortified medieval city.
Sunday, June 11 Brasov
Drive to Sinaia and tour Peles Castle, often considered one of the loveliest castles in Europe, as well as the nearby Pelisor Castle—smaller than Peles but beautiful nonetheless. Enjoy lunch and a wine tasting at Azuga winery, known for providing the royal family with their favourite wines. Then, take a tour of the Old Brasov City Center and the impressive Black Church, so-called because a great fire in 1689 blackened the exterior of this massive Gothic-style structure.
Monday, June 12 Brasov
This morning, visit the best-preserved peasant fortress of Transylvania—the Prejmer fortified church, also a UNESCO-designated site. Take a drive to the town of Rasnov to see the mountain escape route of the Hutterites. Tour the famous Bran Castle, also known as “Dracula’s Castle”, a stunning medieval stronghold that is now a museum.
Tuesday, June 13 Sibiu
Today, make your way back to Sibiu with stops along the way. At Cincu (known in German as Gross Shenk), remember Carinthian refugees Johannes Hofer and Christian Nägeler, both of whom died in this village in about 1760. Admire the picturesque ruins of the Cârța Monastery, once inhabited by Benedictine monks. This evening, enjoy your final dinner and reflect together on your experiences.
Wednesday, June 14
Depart for home.
Check the pricing page for what is included and excluded in the tour fare.
For further information, please contact us. We would be happy to be of assistance.
WATCH an informative webinar about the Romania Hutterite & Cultural Tour with Rod Hofer.
READ blog posts from the 2019 tour for a taste of this incredible journey.