Latest News

2017

9th May

LONDON SHOWING OF ALMA VII RESTORATION FILM


A supper and a film screening was held at the London home of Jessica Douglas-Home to celebrate the completion of restoration work by the MET on Alma Vii’s magnificent medieval citadel. Present was Richard Oldfield without whose considerable financial support the project would not have been possible. Also present were a number of new friends as well as long-standing friends of the trust. At the end of the film, Jeremy Amos (architect and MET trustee) spoke of the exacting detail of the two-year restoration and, at times, the almost impossible difficulties of seeing the project through. It was he said the largest ever restoration undertaken by the Trust. He described the final result as a triumph, a jewel in the MET’s crown and noted the considerable beneficial effect this restoration has had on the lives of the people of the village.



7th March

LEIGHTON HOUSE, LONDON

An annual celebration for the Friends of the Trust was held at Leighton House, former home of the Victorian artist Frederic, Lord Leighton. The House which contains a fascinating collection of paintings and sculpture by Leighton as well as textiles, pottery and other objects from his travels to Turkey, Egypt and Syria provided an ideal background in which to reflect on the the work of the Mihai Eminescu Trust.

Speakers included David Campbell (publisher of Everyman's Library), Jeremy Musson (architectural historian, historic buildings consultant, writer and broadcaster), Daniel Robbins (Senior Curator, Leighton House Museum) and Jessica Douglas-Home (Chairman, Mihai Eminescu Trust).
 

An extract from Jeremy Musson’s speech at the MET celebration: 

"...What beguiles and intrigues me most in these Saxon villages is the almost mystical connection between old houses and the landscape, nature and agriculture; the significance of the trust’s work on these houses and churches, lies in their relationship to the communities together: it lies in the importance of LIFE in these buildings, and the buildings in the LIFE of people.

Old houses, wherever they are, provide the historical story of a place and the survival and often the revival of communities, and immediately and without effort become part of the future of a place – this should happen naturally but can often take considerable effort."


To read an extended version of Jeremy Musson's speech, see: Leighton House



2016

30th September

ALMA VII CHURCH RESTORATION OFFICIAL OPENING

The medieval fortified church in the village of Alma Vii was reopened on 30th September after 18 months of restoration focusing on the fortifications which had been under risk of collapse. The whole project was designed and implemented by MET and its partner NIKU (the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research). 




For the opening ceremony the people of Alma Vii prepared a brunch with traditional homemade food for their guests. The programme included a classical concert on stage inside the fortified walls and the Met Director and architects led a visit inside the church and along the balconies into its four towers.



Since then, 300 people have visited the new anthropological exhibition in the largest tower which depicts the culture and traditions of the Saxon people who used to inhabit these lands. There is also a shop where tourists can buy hand crafted objects and textiles created by the villagers as well as local food and delicacies.




10th - 15th August

HAFERLAND KULTURWOCHE FESTIVAL

From the 10th to the 15th August the villages of Viscri, Criț, Roadeș, Meșendorf, Saschiz, Cloașterf, Fișer and Rupea were bursting with over 4000 visitors attending the Haferland Kulturwoche Festival, the biggest annual celebration of Saxon culture in Transylvania. Many Saxons returning from Germany also attended and each year more and more people come from all over Romania.

Vasile Dîncu, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Regional Development and Public Administration talked on live television about a series of government measures aimed at preserving the Transylvanian heritage including the restoration of the church towers in Roadeș and Rotbav, both of which collapsed earlier this year. The MET Director Caroline Fernolend spoke of the Trust’s 1200 projects and the importance of the preservation of the Saxon built heritage in the ‘new communities’ and of maintaining the values of Saxon village life. At the Rupea citadel she highlighted the economic opportunities which come with Romania’s heritage and, together with MET biologist Tibi Hartel, indicated examples in Saschiz church of traditional restoration techniques and local building materials. 

Also present at the Festival in Crit were a number of prominent Romanian and German government representatives as well as one of the founders of the festival the German rock star Peter Maffay. Maffay, who was born in Brașov the son of a Transylvanian Saxon, thanked his fans for their donations which, along with help from the Romanian Government, had enabled his foundation to install running water in every house in Roadeș. He spoke of his commitment to Roadeș and he took the opportunity to say how much he owed to the pioneering work of the Mihai Eminescu Trust and in particular to Caroline Fernolend and her family for their support, they were an inspiration and played an important part in his decision to devote so much time and energy to the region.



21st June

ALMA VII CHURCH RESTORATION

The Alma Vii church restoration is progressing well and is almost completed. The electrics are well advanced, floors are being laid and doors and windows are being fitted in the towers. 
 
 

On the ground floor the mosaic flooring has been completed. In the fortified enclosure the rainwater collecting system and landscaping is ongoing and the stone pavement, gutters and the restoration of the old ring wall have been completed as well as the outer wooden stage and benches.

 



2015

30th November

EY ENTREPRENEUR NOMINATION FOR MET


Caroline Fernolend’s work for the MET has put her among this year’s nominees for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year™ Romania. To view her page in the EY book of nominees, follow the link and scroll to page 60.
 



27th November

MET AT TOURISM CONFERENCE IN SIBIU

Speaking at the annual conference of Tourism Professionals in Sibiu, Caroline Fernolend presented details of the MET’s Malancrav Trail. The village’s mixed population has resulted in a natural coming together of weavers, carpenters, basket makers, brick makers, as well as cooks who are baking traditional cakes and bread. She also spoke of the Trust’s Apafi Manor, available for guests and situated beside the unique frescoed 15th century Saxon church.

She went on to describe the village of Alma Vii, where the Trust has nearly completed a cultural centre situated within the walls of the fortified church. There will be 21 rooms where traditional craftsmen will give demonstrations, and in the bread oven the village ladies will bake bread and the traditional Alma Vii cabbage cake. The European tour operators and Romanian tourism representatives were left in no doubt that Malancrav and Alma Vii should be included in their future schedules - a unique way for their guests to explore authentic Transylvanian life.



23rd November

GOOD PROGRESS ON THE RICHIS HOUSE


Due to warm weather during October and November, building work on the Richis house has been progressing well.


 
27th October

DONATION OF BOOKS FOR RICHIS HOUSE LIBRARY

Ronald Dworkin  (Photo: Graham Turner/Guardian)

The Trustees of the Mihai Eminescu Trust would like to thank Irene Dworkin for her generous donation of books from the collection of her late husband, philosopher and scholar, Ronald Dworkin. The books will form part of the library in the Richis house which is in the process of being restored by the Trust.



23rd September

RICHIS HOUSE PROJECT

Thanks to the generosity of those who came to the great fundraising event at Westwell Manor in April, work on the Richis house has forged ahead.

 
 




17th September

ALMA VII CHURCH RESTORATION

During the summer and autumn, work on restoring the four towers of the magnificent Saxon church fortification in Alma Vii has been progressing well.








15th September

1.5 MILLION TREES PLANTED BY MET & ACCOR IN TRANSYLVANIA

 
Caroline Fernolend with HRH the Prince of Wales in May 2013, and with Accor executives in Sept 2015

In May 2013 we reported that HRH the Prince of Wales had planted the millionth tree for the MET in the ‘Plant for the Planet’ programme, supported by the hotel chain Accor. This year on 15th September, the 1,500,000th sapling was planted in Bucharest by MET Director Caroline Fernolend, together with Accor Hotels executives.

'Plant for the Planet' was launched in 2009, within 6 years it has financed the planting of over 4 million trees in 21 countries, of which 1.5 million have been planted in forests and school orchards in Transylvania
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28th May - 1st June

NOTES ON A VISIT TO ROMANIA


Toby and Emma Tennant (wildflower artist) spent 3 days in Transylvania, staying in Malâncrav in one of the Trust's guesthouses. These are extracts from their notes:

'John Betjeman used to say that the history one learns from looking at buildings, - bricks and mortar and stone - is truer than the history one reads in books. The beautiful Saxon farmhouses and barns and above all, the amazing fortified churches taught us, in a few days, a vast amount about the history of this corner of Central Europe.'

'Andrea Rost made a huge contribution to our enjoyment and understanding of her country, with her knowledge, charm and energy. She is a brilliant ambassadress for the MET, which is doing such wonderful work in Transylvania.'



To read the notes in full: More..



3rd June

RESTORATION OF RICHIS CHURCH ORGAN



Dominic Gwynn and Edward Bennett at work on the organ

In the village of Richis where the MET’s current major project for restoring the house at No 103 is well under way, work has just completed on another important restoration, that of the 18th century organ in Richis church.

The success of this work is the result of an unusual collaboration between the organbuilders Dominic Gwynn and Edward Bennett from the renowned Nottinghamshire firm of Goetze and Gwynn (who have donated their time and skills), Herman Binder and Sabolics Bartis from Transylvania and the restoration department of the ASTRA National Museum Complex in Sibiu.

Funding has come from a donation by Richis resident Anna David, from visitors to the church adopting an organ pipe and other generous gifts.



25th April

FUNDRAISING FOR RICHIS AT BEAUTIFUL WESTWELL MANOR




Oliver Barker

Thanks to the generous hospitality of Thomas Gibson, the MET held a fund raising event for the restoration of No 103 Richis at Westwell Manor in Oxfordshire. The event began with tea served in the glorious gardens designed by the late Anthea Gibson, followed by a series of short talks from MET trustee Sir Noel Malcolm, the Trust’s chairman Jessica Douglas-Home and Marianne Suhr presenter of BBC 2’s series ‘Restoration’. The event ended with a highly successful auction conducted by Sotheby’s star auctioneer Oliver Barker.



2nd April

DONATION OF BOOKS FOR RICHIS LIBRARY


Hertford College, Oxford

The Trust is most grateful to Hertford College, Oxford for the donation of 20th century Hellenic and Roman Classical journals. These will form a significant part of the Trust’s new library in its house in Richis Village, which is in the process of restoration.



March

ALMA VII CHURCH RESTORATION

Work has started on restoring the four towers and inner buildings of the magnificent Saxon church fortification in Alma Vii.  In competition with 200 applicants, the Mihai Eminescu Trust, partnered by EEA Grants and the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research, was awarded the EUR 1.7 million contract. An update on this amazing project will appear at intervals during the next two years.



23rd January
 
THE MUSICAL LEGACY OF GEORGE ENESCU

Sir Noel Malcolm

On Friday 23 January at the London Romanian Cultural Institute, MET Trustee Sir Noel Malcolm, the leading English authority on Enescu, discussed the composer’s outstanding musical legacy with other Enescu specialists - Oltea Şerban Pârâu, Cristina Andrei and Oana Marinescu. James Jolly, Editor-in-chief at The Gramophone was in the chair and showed rare pictures and historical footage, casting an unexpected light on the life and work of George Enescu.
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2014


30th October

COUNCIL OF EUROPE MISSION TO VISCRI


To view as PDF: See

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24th October

INTERVIEW WITH JESSICA DOUGLAS-HOME AND CHARLIE OTTLEY



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23rd October

ROYAL HONOUR AWARDED TO JESSICA DOUGLAS-HOME


At a ceremony held in the Hall of Honour at Peles Castle near Sinaia, in Prahova County, Jessica Douglas-Home received an award of Knight in the Order of the Crown from His Majesty King Mihai I of Romania. The presentation was made by HRH Crown Princess Margarita on behalf of the King.

RomâniaPozitivă:

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20th - 23rd October

TRUSTEE'S DIARY

The Trust thanks Professor Colin Leach, Professor Roy Foster and David Wiggins for their wonderful donation of history, biography and reference books to the Apafi Manor library. German volunteer students from the Freiherr-vom-Stein-Gymnasium in Leverkusen helped to sort out the books.

The restoration of the ruined house in Richis is proceeding well, due to the skill of the team working with the Trust's architect Noemi Ugrai and project manager Sandel Neagu. Picture shows the entirely new roof.

The Trustees took the final decision for the interior and exterior of Richis House and for its cellar. In the loft, new living quarters are being created.

The whole MET team travelled to Sinaia, arriving at Peles Castle to attend the ceremony for the award of the Knight of the Order of the Crown.
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4th October

APPLE DAY IN MALANCRAV


An ‘Apple Day’ was held by villagers to celebrate the end of the picking season in the orchards of Mălâncrav. There were tours along the ‘Apple Path’, demonstrations of work, and displays of a wide range of fruit, including the old native varieties. A buffet lunch prepared by the ladies of the village was served on long trestle tables with delicious home-made bread, while local musicians entertained the visitors. The day ended with dancing.

The event formed part of a two year project begun by the MET and the SAVE foundation from Switzerland in 2013, the aim is to add value to native fruit varieties and to traditional farming methods as a way of achieving sustainable income for rural communities.

The project is co-financed by a grant from Switzerland through the Swiss Contribution to the enlarged European Union.

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27th September

MET SUPPORTS DRIVE TO PROTECT ANCIENT WOOD-PASTURES

A new documentary film by Tibor Hartel (biologist and adviser to the Mihai Eminescu Trust) explores the agricultural and environmental significance of the ancient wood pastures of Transylvania.

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20th August

RESTORATION OF WHITE STONE SPRING AT PLĂIEȘII DE JOS

In Eastern Transylvania, in the Székely Land, the Mihai Eminescu Trust and  the Plăieșii de Jos villagers celebrated the restoration of the pavilion and its surroundings at the White Stone mineral water spring. Village craftsmen also made  direction signs for a walking route to the spring.

The Trust, Plăieșii de Jos Town Hall and the local Forestry Association organised the project together with the support of 190 volunteers from the village and with the financial support from the Horizon Foundation.

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10th June

TOP AWARDS FOR MET AT CIVIL SOCIETY GALA

The award ceremony took place at the Romanian Athenaeum in Bucharest. The Mihai Eminescu Trust received two first prizes, for Environmental Protection and for Impact, in each case the awards were for the MET project A Forest for Every School, developed in partnership with the Accor Hotels group.

The specific objectives of the project, which involves 60 schools, is the preservation and expansion of forests, the afforestation of degraded areas, developing awareness through education and the involvement of local communities in planting native trees. In the period 2009-2013, the MET was responsible for the planting of 1,043,225 trees in the counties of Brașov, Covasna, Harghita, Mureș, Sibiu. In addition 40,000 oak seedlings were being brought on in a nursery near Sighișoara. 

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17th May

EMERGENCY RESTORATION OF BUTCHER'S TOWER

At a small ceremony marking the completion of the first stage of restoration work, Ioan Dorin Dăneşan (Mayor of Sighişoara) expressed his thanks for the work of the team, and Romanian Director of the MET Caroline Fernolend paid tribute to the longstanding partnership between Shropshire craftsmen and their Romanian counterparts.

The Mayor of Sighişoara also renewed his gratitude to the Shropshire benefactors for their 2013 gift of Fire Engines: on Wednesday 14th May another fire broke out in a property above the Butchers' tower. Within minutes the two fully kitted Shropshire Dennis Rapiers arrived on the scene resplendent in their original County livery and dealt with the incident: the engines were a perfect size to get under the archways into the citadel. Previously the inhabitants of the beautiful 17th century buildings inside the walls had been hard to protect because the much larger “Sighişoara Pompiers” could not enter this area.

The Butchers Tower bastion is a key feature of the unique and complete medieval defences of the ancient fortress of Sighişoara. Over recent years, localised collapse and cracking of the walling plus erosion of the mortar and tile capping to the supporting walls was threatening its very survival. The repair works led by Colin Richards and the Shropshire team of craftsmen provided a unique conservation skills training opportunity. The MET nominated 6 young craftsmen from the nearby village of Stejăreni who were keen to improve their skills and gain opportunities for employment in the heritage sector. The work involved stone masonry repair, rendering, limewashing, traditional tile roofing and carpentry. After a similar project in 2013, the students from Stejăreni  all found employment following their training course with the Shropshire Team.

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26th March

FRUIT TREE GRAFTING IN MĂLÂNCRAV

Specialists from Switzerland and Romania arrived in Mălâncrav this week to give tuition in fruit tree grafting. 45 participants took part in the 3 day course, which took place in the Apafi Manor orchards.

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11th March

POETRY READING FOR 'FRIENDS' BY DOMINIC WEST

This year’s presentation for 'Friends' of the Mihai Eminescu Trust was held at the Embassy of Romania in London. MET Chairman Jessica Douglas-Home thanked the Romanian Ambassador (His Excellency Dr Ion Jinga) for his  support over the years. Marianne Suhr, specialist in the repair of historic buildings and co-presenter of BBC2’s Restoration, quoting Samuel Johnson “Nothing will ever be achieved if first all possible objections must be overcome”,  noted the MET's remarkable ability to overcome the bureaucratic difficulties of working in Transylvania. She said: 'If only more people had the courage and tenacity to just go for it, the world would be a more beautiful and interesting place'. Dominic West then read poems by Mihai Eminescu, including Ode, Eve on the Hill, And if.., and Down Where the Lonely Poplars Grow.

This event was supported by Alira - Wine of Romania

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23rd February

SHREWSBURY ROTARY CLUB IN NEW PARTNERSHIP WITH MET

MET Chairman Jessica Douglas-Home addressed the Rotary Club of Shrewsbury who have adopted a Mihai Eminescu Trust/Shropshire partnership as their submission for a major International Rotary Club grant for 2014. The object is to support the teams of Shropshire craftsmen who have over a number of years provided invaluable expertise for the Trust's restoration programme under the leadership of Colin Richards. It would support a clean water project in Malancrav where increased demand has resulted in an unprecedented depletion of the aquifer, and there would be essential funding for repairs to the second tower in the citadel wall adjacent to the MET office in Sighisoara.

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1st January

SIR NOEL MALCOLM

MET Trustee, Dr Noel Malcolm, has been appointed a Knight Bachelor in the 2014 New Year's Honours List in recognition of his work on the political philosopher Thomas Hobbes; his scholarship in the field of the cultures, languages, and politics of Eastern Europe; his lectures on Western relations with Islam; and his political journalism.


Subpages (1): LEIGHTON HOUSE