TOARCLA

Toarcla, Tôrteln in the Saxon dialect, part of the Cincu commune and formerly known as Preşmer is a village that first appeared mentioned in 1329. Initially it was a free commune within the royal domain, for later to be part of the Cincu Chair .   The church of St. Ecaterina was built as a Romanesque basilica, with a bell tower on the west side, a choir and three naves. Originally, both the main nave and the side walls were paved, only the choir being vaulted in a rib without cross and the semicircular altar through a semicircle. The base of the tower was opened inwards on three sides by means of three semicircular arches and had a cross vault at the first level.   + "More details": The main nave is delimited by the choir by means of a semicircular triumphal arch, and towards the collateral three pairs of full-arched arches are supported on two pairs of pillars and two pairs of pilasters attached, without base or cornices. At the eastern end of the collaterals, two semicircular niches are practiced in the thickness of the wall which fulfill the role of the absidiols. The upper register of the central ship had three pairs of windows on the north and south sides. On the first floor of the tower there is a grandstand opened by a semicircular arch, covered by a brick vault, to which the access from the main ship is made by means of stairs dug in the thickness of the eastern pillars on which the tower is supported. Another staircase made in the thickness of the western wall of the grandstand leads to the upper floors of the tower. Each of them is covered with wooden floors, the connection between floors being made by means of wooden stairs. Starting with the birth of the third floor, the thickness of the walls of the tower decreases considerably, so that on the outside there is a marked withdrawal. On the four sides of the third tier, twin windows open above which there is a double semicircular arch practiced in the thickness of the masonry. The fourth floor that housed the bells has four arched windows, the fifth is blind, and the last one communicates with the wooden gallery on the consoles through three semicircular openings on each side. The edges of the trunk are on the outside covered with molded stone blocks.   The western portal opened at the base of the tower has an archivolt with six columns with a colonnade. The lintel that unites the capitals with the hooks has a carved eardrum where you can recognize the silhouettes of a character and a fantastic animal. Above the portal is a belt that continues on the western sides of the collaterals, and the archivolt carries small anthropomorphic sculptures. An additional entrance was practiced through the southern collateral, and in the choir the access was made through a beautiful entrance with a clipped arch.   In a later phase of construction, probably towards the beginning of the 16th century, a few defensive changes were made. Thus the western ends of the collaterals corresponding to the base of the tower were raised, and the inner arches closed. The two rooms formed remained unenclosed, and outside were practiced ambras. The curtain with an elliptical path, with an entrance on the west side, was probably still present. Unfortunately we cannot appreciate the original height of the walls nor the size of the defensive system. We do not know if the enclosure was provided with other towers besides the one in the southeast - visible on a drawing by Martin Schlichting - but we can assume that the walls will have had a guardrail and that the entrance will benefit from defense structures. more. It seems likely that the choir has also now been fortified by raising its walls to the level of the central nave. As in other cases, it was likely that access to this defensive floor was via the central ship's bridge. In the new walls there are still traces of embrasures.   Probably around the same date the entrance from the south of the choir before the Reformation was built and a sacristy was built on its northern side. In the sec. XVII substantial changes have been made. For protection, on the northern side of the building, the roof of the central ship has been extended so as to cover the collateral. The central nave and the collaterals were vaulted with semi-cylinders mounted on double arches supported on the piers attached to the rectangular pillars. At the western end of the central nave was erected a grandstand intended to receive the organ. On this occasion the old grandstand from the floor of the tower was blocked, leaving only a small entrance for access. The staircase at the western end of the southern collateral was dismantled and covered by the new organ gallery.