The villages where time has stood still

Edward Marriott travels to Transylvania to report on a scheme that is breathing new life into rural communities and offering a unique insight into an ancient landscape and an unchanging way of life.

At first sight, it is hard to know what to make of it. High, whitewashed walls, massive, four-square turrets with toothpick arrow slits. Yet, the other side of this barricade, safely inside these formidable fortifications, isn’t that a church? And if it is, why does a church need to be inside the kind of walls normally reserved for protecting medieval castles?