HRH The Prince of Wales paid a private visit to the Saxon Villages from 9th Ė11th May 2006,
accompanied by our Romanian and London directors Caroline Fernolend and Luminta Holban.
He spent two nights in Viscri and saw much of the Trustís restoration work, noting the
extraordinary change in the village since his last visit four years ago.
HRH with MET Director Caroline Fernolend
Walking with the Trustís biologist Tibi Hartel in the hills near Viscri, the Prince stopped first
to watch progress on the construction of a wood-fired kiln on the edge of the village. From
earliest times, kilns similar in design used to exist in each community, providing handmade
bricks and tiles for the Saxon householders. The revival of this ancient rural technology Ė
overseen by British restoration expert Colin Richards Ė is funded by the Trustís small business
scheme and will be managed by a Viscri family. Once the reliability of the product is established,
the kiln will supply a range of Transylvanian builders and architects. The Prince also saw the
Trustís organic apple orchard in Malancrav Village, its juice-bottling factory and the adjacent
Apafi manor house which the Trust is restoring.
Throughout the visit the Princeís understanding of the holistic regenerative power of the
Trustís Whole Village Project communicated itself to all who met him and proved a great
inspiration to our outstanding Romanian team.
In early May 2004, HRH The Prince of Wales visited the Maramures, using Barsana Monastery as a
starting point. The Prince started his first day under the Gutin mountain near the three Armenian peaks
to attend the opening of the spring Stana with the villae elders. During the two days, he visited Surdesti,
Breb, Budesti and the church of Poenile Izei to see the extraordinary 17th century painted interior. While
in Budesti, he visited a fulling mill and a distillery.
The Prince had lunch in one of the MET's restored houses (below) during his two-day stay. The house is
furnished with early Maramures furniture, icons and textiles collected by William Blacker over three
years to save them from being sold abroad.
Visiting the house in Breb and a 'stana' in Maramures.
In 2002 Prince Charles came to Transylvania to lend his support to our cause.
He stayed in Sighisoara 3-5 May. After breakfast on Saturday 4th May he set off to see the first of our ten villages Cloasterf.
He visited the church and its outer tower restored by the Trust, and looked at some other buildings in the village, before moving on to Roades.
After visiting Roades church and examining the slit in the outer fortifications through which the 16th century altar piece (stolen in 2000) had been slipped, he went up the hill, to see the sheep, pigs, chickens, goats and dogs in the stana owned by William Blacker and Jessica Douglas-Home.
At the sheepfold
He arrived in Viscri village at 12.30pm to look at our restoration work and to examine No63, the Trustís guesthouse filled with beautiful embroidered hangings and cushions before having lunch under the ancient walnut tree in the precincts of the church.
He then walked across the hills and through the woods for three hours to Mesendorf identifying several rare species of wild flowers and amphibians, and on the way home to Sighisoara he stopped to see the Trustís second guest house in Crit.
Next day, he went straight to Biertan climbing the 217 steps into the precincts of the Lutheran stronghold, to meet Bishop Klein, Dr Fabini and the Biertan mayor before discovering the incredible altarpiece inside the church. He went on to Copsa Mare to begin the long walk to Malancrav.
While he was having a picnic lunch half way, high on a ridge amongst wild flowers, a man on a horse suddenly galloped up the same track from Copsa Mare, appearing through a clearing in the forest, to throw himself at the feet of the Prince. The body guards leapt up. But the rider had come not to assasinate but to see if it was really true that The Prince had visited his village - for he wished to salute him.
Coming down the hill into Malancrav village, the Prince stopped in the 200 acre organic orchard which the Trust had recently bought. In the juicing factory, he tasted our organic apple juice before visiting the extraordinary frescoes and rare altarpiece in the Lutheran church below the Manor house.
From Malancrav he walked to the tiny village of Floresti, with its Bethlen family 15th century church.
Back at 6.00pm in Sighisoara he took an evening stroll in the citadel and looked over towards Breite Park at the proposed site for the Dracula Theme Park. The priest, Father Halman, presented Prince Charles with an oak seedling, a symbol of the threatened medieval oak plantation within Breite. That night Prince Charles telephoned President Iliescu to ask him to reconsider the location of the Dracula Park. To the great credit of the President and the Prince, the Romanian government took a fresh look at the project, commissioned a new report from Price Waterhouse and eventually decided to move the project to a more suitable location.
When the Prince departed he had left an indelible impression on the local inhabitants, as they had on him. It is perhaps not impossible to expect that he will return to see other regions in Romania where we operate.
The Prince of Wales as Patron of The Mihai Eminescu Trust.
he has visited Romania regularlyand has shown a great
personal interest in the fate of the Saxon villages of Transylvania.
HRH Visit to Horezu
Mosna Church 1997
From 2000, and each year following, The Prince of Wales has been generous enough to play polo on behalf of the Trust and each time raised significant funds for MET work in Romania.
In July 2005 HRH The Prince of Wales retired from the sport and played his last match for the Mihai Eminescu Trust at Cirencester Park Polo Club.
THE BUCHAREST DAILY NEWS, 12th may 2005 Alecsandra Iancu wr0te: Britain's Prince Charles arrived on a five-day private visit to Romania on Monday, accompanied by several friends(including chairman of Mihai Eminescu Trust). The Prince of Wales paid an unexpected visit to Curtea de Arges Monastery on Monday evening, where he kept a moment of silence honoring the memory of former Romanian kings buried on the monastery grounds. He also walked into the monastery's Episcopal Palace and paid his respects to the relics of Saint Filofteea. ÖThe Prince spent Monday night in a guest room at the Horezu Monastery, which was built in the 18th century by Romanian ruler Constantin Brancoveanu. Charles also visited a pottery workshop in Horezu, where he even offered to help the workers and got to paint one of the clay plates manufactured there.
Lunch in the church precincts in Viscri
With Mayor of Laslea
Inspecting Malancrav Orchard
Tasting Apple Juice