Above: The 14th-century fortified church in Mălâncrav, Romania

I arrived in the pretty village of Mălâncrav in the early afternoon of an Indian summer day, after a slow drive along the 12-mile gravel road that leads to this ancient and isolated place. I was curious to visit Mălâncrav, because it has a larger surviving population of Saxons than any other Transylvanian village. And I also wanted to see its 14th-century fortified church.

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