THE LEANING TOWER OF MEDIAS AND ITS MASONIC SYMBOLS (CETATEA MEDIAŞ)

At the end of its era of glory in the eighteenth century, Medias used to have 19 towers, seven gateways and defensive walls seven meters high, stretching over 2.3 km. A legend speaks of a maze of secret tunnels that would go under the city. Another one says that in Mary’s Tower, one of the four that are still sanding near the parish church, Vlad the Impaler was imprisoned. Beyond the myths, however, the Trumpeters’ Tower is one of the top ten inclined towers in the world.

The History of the Citadel

Medias settlement was mentioned for the first time in a document from 1267. It was the only settlement in the area called a city since 1359, but during the fifteenth century, since 1407 more precisely, it was going to return to the status of fair.

The Turkish incursions in Transylvania between the years 1420 and 1438 led to a sharp economic and demographic decay of Medias. Under the threat of the Turkish invasion, locals began the fortification works of the old core and, later, of the entire city. In the first half of the fifteenth century, the outer walls have been built and together with another five towers joined by belts, equipped with water ditches and guard roads raised to protect the area around the church of Holy Margareta. All these fortifications will bear the title of castle, as first mentioned the archives in 1450. The city has gradually dowry filled with a dark belt, gates and defensive organization supported by the guild. Of these, some were demolished even by the descendants of old the builders, to comply with the requirements of modern urban planning.

The Construction Process During the Ages

In 1477, Medias’s capacity of defense was to be restored by the order of King Matthias Corvinus. He ordered that all inhabitants, regardless of their social position, to participate in this work, but the work itself bigins much later, in 1490. The ensemble around the parish church was also completed entirely. Another fortification was added to the city,  fortified with wooden palisades, coupled with water ditches. These amounted to a total length of 2,360 meters, a thickness of about one meter in height of seven meters. There were three main access gates to the city, fortified with towers. Construction of the new fortress was completed around 1534, a period status of the town changed again into “civitas” that Medias was never going to lose since then. The climax of the fortification process was reached in the eighteenth century, when the city of Medias had 19 towers and bastions, and to the three main gates were added four more secondary gates.

Saint Margaret Church, along with the entire complex of fortifications around it are called “Castle”. The construction was completed apparently in 1488 and is recorded in the chronicle of Georg Soterius. The inside of the church offers a broad set of garments and pictorial iconography, with heraldic keystones, shrines and medieval fonts gathered from neighboring villages. Among the tombstones, here is the ledger of Christian Schesaus, a proeminet cultural figure of Medias.

Under the weight of the new construction, the foundation for the tower gave way and began to lean toward the northwest almost two and a half meters. Now Trumpeters Tower is one of the top ten towers inclined in the world. To stop it from tilting, the teams of architects and engineers have made two consolidation works: first in the years 1927-1930, when they mounted a belt of concrete to a height of 14 meters, and second in 1976  and 1977, with another belt eight meters long. In 1880, on the tower there was mounted a watch equipped with four weights, 100 kilograms each, that keep the mechanism working.

The Bells Tower, also called the Gate Tower, is located on the western side of the fortification. On the top floor the church bells are placed, the oldest having been imprinted in the year 1449.

The School Tower is located in the north-west, embedded in the school building.

Ropemakers’ Tower is characterized by sobriety, elegance and proportionality. The last level of the tower is provided with a series of throwing holes. In the nineteenth century, the tower got the moniker of “the Fat Tower” where the Saxon community store their smoked bacon.

Mary’s Tower stands out from other towers thanks to the roof of its desk. The access level contains a beautiful painting dating from the late fifteenth century. It is considered that the room served as a chapel for the service of the dead during the epidemics.

Tailors Tower is located on the south side. Inside the high walls, Medias retains some of Masonic symbols: owl, pound, the twins, chrysalis, the square hammer and the compass, the ivy, the poppy, the eagle, the rosa-croce, the octogoans and the seeing eye, just to mention a few of the symbols found in the citadel.

The mysteries of Medias are supprted mostly by the few public information related to its history. One says that in the city there is a labyrinth of tunnels; another is related to Mary’s Tower. It is said that the prison tower, Vlad the Impaler was imprisoned for four hours. Even the grapes in the vine heraldry of the city has its legend: the goldsmiths’ guild had been put up to three bunches of grapes made of gold to hide them in places known onlh by them. The Myth of the Ggolden Grapes turned many adventurers into treasure hunters, but without succeeding.

Of the total of 2,360 meters of defensive walls from the early eighteenth century, the main three gates, four secondary gates and 19 towers and bastions, 1,845 meters of fortifications are still standing, including the towers and 11 bastions.

The leaning Tower, the covered staircase, the old buildings full of Masonic symbols and legends that combines mystical beauty of the past, make Medias an ideal place for a return to the medieval past of Transylvania.

Every year, Medias is the host of a popular and famous Medieval Festival, so you have one more reason to come and visit.

Photo source:

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