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The Medieval Marriage Prison in Biertan

For 300 years, couples in Biertan who had marital problems were confined for up to six weeks by the local priest to resolve their conflicts and avoid divorce. This system, known as the “marital prison,” proved very effective, resulting in only one divorce during this period.

Today, the small “prison” is a museum. The room has a low ceiling, thick walls, and is furnished with a table, a chair, a chest, and a small bed. Couples shared everything: one pillow, one blanket, and one place at the table.

The Lutheran religion of the Transylvanian Saxons influenced daily life. Although divorce was permitted, it was preferable for couples to try to save their marriage. The marital prison helped maintain order and protect women and children, who depended on the unity of the family.

Life in Biertan is calm and peaceful, with less pressure on couples. They stayed together not just out of love, but also out of necessity to work and survive.

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