History of the Saxon Villages
The first Saxon colonists were invited into Transylvania by the Hungarian king, Geze, in the middle of the 12th century to strengthen the defenses of the southern Transylvania borders of the Hungarian kingdom. also known for the economic acumen as well as their defensive citadels, they continued to move into the region well into the 13th century. Although this group of colonists are referred to as Saxons (sasi in Romanian) it seem likely that only a few of them originated from Saxony, joining other immigrants from other Germanic states. As time passed, they developed their own dialect specific to the region, although still closely related to German.
The Saxons soon organized themselves into semi-autonomous micro-regions within Transylvania. Most settles in the southern part of Transylvania, just north of the Carpathians, although other groups settled to the east and the north also. Partly due to the Mongolian incursions of the mid 13th century, many of the Saxon towns and cities began to fortify themselves heavily, It is as a result of this that many of the churches in the Saxon villages are built solidly and with few windows, and frequently with a curtain wall surrounded them and their annexes. Other larger centres of commerce fortified the entire town, such as the still-inhabited citadel at Sighisoara. a few locations, such as Saschiz, built castles on the hills for sheltering the populous in case of attack.
The Saxons continued to live in large numbers through the centuries until the last century, which saw two world wars and the take over of Transylvania by the Red Army drive many of the Saxons to relocate to Germany, fearful of persecution. This trend continued up until the fall of Communism when a final wave of emigration left many of the Saxon villages devoid of their original inhabitants. Whereas they once made up at least 50% of the population of many towns in the region, they now number in their tens as only a few older residents have elected to remains. In recent years, however, there has been a trend for Saxon to return to their Transylvanian roots and either renovate their ancestral homes, or buy new homes in the area.