Orbai chair Zabala Reformed Church of Zabala

Reformed Church of Zabala

Orbai chair Zabala Zabala, str. Principala, nr.830, Jud. Covasna

Zăbala is a settlement with long history and belongs to the Orbai Chair. The Reformed Church lies along the main road and it has got east western orientation. The church is a characteristic relic of the 15th century Transylvanian late Gothic architectural style. It is assumed that the building originates from the Árpád Age, and after the earthquake of 1473 it was rebuilt. This was the time when the sanctuary was extended, the walls of the nave were stilted and on the southern wall lancet windows were put.

The arches of the Gothic style windows present simple, but diverse traceries. The ceiling of the sanctuary had been decorated by groined net vault since the 15th century, but due to the frequent earthquakes it damaged and in the 18th century it was torn down. Instead of it Renaissance style, painted panel ceiling was built with flower decoration. The first painted ceiling of the sanctuary was made in 1759, that of the nave in 1772, when the panels of the sanctuary were renovated too. The illustrations of the nave are bigger, while those of the sanctuary are smaller, though all of them belong to one person and form a unified image. The patterns of the panels do not repeat, they are usually central, diagonal or double, and show flower bouquet patterns. The ornament of the nave ceiling is much more diverse than that of the sanctuary. There is only one panel of the ceiling that has got animal decoration. On this, the so-called “two-headed eagle” appears, which is a widely spread symbol in the country, and under it we see snakes.

The western galleries are decorated by painted ceiling panels too. The flower patterns of the eastern gallery built in 1764 were made in 1895, in honor of the millennium and as far as their design is concerned, they are completely different from the style of the other panels. The interesting features of the sanctuary are the corbels that illustrate man heads, which refer to the once existent net vault. In the wall above the sacristy you can see the remains of wall paintings, dated from the 18th century, painted in black and having folk and flower stolon decorations and texts.
After the earthquake of 1977, in the southeastern part of the sanctuary a Gothic pastophorium occurred, and on the northern wall surface a late Gothic sacristy door appeared, which was carved from sandstone.
This church had important defense role for centuries. The wall that encloses the church was built probably in the 15th century and until the 18th century it had a moat around it. The wall, which once was about 8 m high, was torn down to this height in 1838.

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