Nume: SOLONTAI Sanda

Tema: Patrimoniul istoric şi artistic din România – Valori ale patrimoniului cultural european

Partener: Academia Română – Filiala Cluj a Academiei Române, Istitutul de Arheologie şi Istoria Artei – Academia Germană pentru protecţia monumentelor, Görlitz

Proiect: Gothic hall churches of Transylvania. Typologies and relations to Central Europe in the development of the ecclesiastical architecture in the High- and Late Gothic periods.

Date de contact


Research scientist at the Institute of Archaeology and History of Art of the Romanian Academy at Cluj-Napoca, Department of History of Art. Trained as an architect (BArch, MA, Ion Mincu University of Architecture Bucharest), PhD degree in history at the Babes-Bolyai University of Cluj-Napoca (2001), training in conservation and preservation of architectural heritage at ICCROM (ARC’98, Rome 1998) and the conservation of timber structures at The Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research/ The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (ICWCT 2004, Oslo). Involvement as team member in the German-Romanian project “Record of the German cultural heritage in Transylvania” (1996-1998) and in the research project of the Institute of Archaeology and History of Art Cluj-Napoca, ”Encyclopedia of the medieval and premodern art in Romania” (since 2003 onwards). Research scholarships granted by The Soros Foundation (Budapest, October 1997) and KAAD Bonn (University Bamberg – Institute for Built Heritage and Building Archaeology, 2000-2001). Research stays at The Institute of Art History of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in Budapest (1998, 2000, 2006) and The University of Cologne – Institute of Art History (2005).

The main field of research concerns the medieval ecclesiastical architecture in Transylvania and in East-Central Europe.

Gothic hall churches of Transylvania. Typologies and relations to Central Europe in the development of the ecclesiastical architecture in the High- and Late Gothic periods.

The research project ranges among the regional studies aiming to examine a distinct typology in the field of medieval religious architecture, precisely the Gothic hall churches from Transylvania. The emergence of the hall system in Transylvania corresponds, like in Central Europe, to a period of urban development and emancipation of cities’ communities. Product of a complex historical context, involving financial, political, cultural and religious factors, the Transylvanian ecclesiastic buildings portray both the specific local context and the cultural interferences with the Central European world. The study will be covering a group of 12 edifices with focus on the medieval towns’ parish churches (Sebeş, Cluj, Braşov, Sighişoara, Bistriţa), as the most representative achievements of High- and Late Gothic periods, pointing out the introduction and implementation of the hall system in the area. Of equal importance for the development of the hall system in medieval Transylvania are the parish churches of Sibiu and Mediaş, which outline the orientation towards the “new” architectural trend by the partial transformation of their basilican structures, as well as the churches of Biertan, Mojna and Cristian which portray the spread of the hall model further afield. Two particular cases are the Dominican church at Sighişoara – as sole witness for the monastic hall church architecture - and the parish church of Baia Mare, as the unique example for the employment of the double-nave plan. The research will be pursuing an analytical approach of the Transylvanian Gothic hall church, focusing on aspects related to typology, technical, formal, motive-related and stylistic characteristics as a base for a comprehensive comparison within the group and with contemporary hall churches in Central Europe. The project’s objectives are: the identification of technical-constructive and formal patterns; a survey of prior interventions and restoration works carried from the eighteenth century up to the twentieth century (in order to find information related to lost, altered or falsified architectural features); the setting up of a systematic repertory of the principal architectural components; to establish a typological classification based on plan and spatial design; to draw an analytical comparison of the typological and stylistic attributes with contemporary hall church buildings in the Central European area.

Main publications

  • The fortified church from Prejmer, Publishing House of the Romanian Academy, Bucharest, 2006.
  • The houses of the Dominican Order in Transylvania, Nereamia Napocae Publishing House, Cluj-Napoca, 2002.
  • Lost medieval components of urban parish churches: the rood screen of the Lutheran church in Sibiu, in: Ars Transsilvaniae, XX/2010, 52-61.
  • The western front of St. Michael’s church at Cluj, in: Ars Transsilvaniae , XIX/2009, 19-26.
  • Medieval churches of the Mendicant Orders from Transylvania in terms of their typological development, in: Studia Universitatis Babes-Bolyai, Historia, 3, XLVII/2002, 3-16.