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
Dancing at the 14th century Saxon Fortress at Rupea during this year's 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.
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.
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.
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.
GOOD PROGRESS ON THE RICHIS HOUSE
Due to warm weather during October and November, building work on the Richis house has been progressing well.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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..
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.
FUNDRAISING FOR RICHIS AT BEAUTIFUL WESTWELL MANOR
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.
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.
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.
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.
COUNCIL OF EUROPE MISSION TO VISCRI
To view as PDF: See
INTERVIEW WITH JESSICA DOUGLAS-HOME AND CHARLIE OTTLEY
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.
20th - 23rd October
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.