General debrief of the current state of heritage in Romania

June 2016

National context

After the accident in Club Colectiv on November 30, 2015, Romanians revolted aganst the amplitude of corruption and the lack of professionalism in the local and central public administrations, so it forced a change in the government. A new Prime-Minister has been named, Mr. Dacian Ciolos, who appointed Mr. Vlad Alexandrescu as the new Ministry of Culture. In this position, Mr. Alexandrescu has begun a series of reforms and an unprecedented openness of the ministery towards dialogue with the civic society, among which there are organizations who are fighting for years towards the protection of cultural heritage.

Pro Patrimonio was a partner of the Ministry of Culture in the „Living Culture” working group, for the heritage section, and in the group who elaborated The Code of Heritage. In the same time, the partnership with the National Institute of Heritage for the collaboration in -60 wooden churches- project was restored. Mr. Vlad Alexandrescu was replaced by Corina Suteu in the first days of May, following political pressure from groups that were affected by the ample reforms.

The tragical event in Colectiv nightclub has shed light on the disastruous state of the building stock and the huge seismical risk. The immediate effects were: shutting down spaces in high seismic risk buildings, including many cultural establishments (theatres, cinemas, art galleries, etc.). The authorities’ measures to higher safety have led to extreme actions, such as mutilating facades to clear deteriorated decorations that could fall. There are no constructive measures or coherent intervention programs, as properties have many owners and the state cannot/will not support private property. In this context, the entire historical Bucharest is doomed to dissapear, so there is the need for strong pressure on the authorities, but also growing awareness on ways to conserve, repair and restore and financing opportunities.

For all these reasons and the dezatruous way the Mayer’s house is dealing with heritage, Bucharest has been included on World Monument’s Fund monitoring list Watch 2016, at the innitiative of Pro Patrimonio and of Pro.Do.Mo.

On the 5th of July we had local ellections, for mayors around the country. We have a new mayor, Gabriela Firea (part of the socialist party), while the last is suspended and investigated for corruption. Among the new candidates there is a new party –Save Bucharest Union–, formed by an organization who is fighting for a beter city, saving heritage and quality of living, leaded by Mr. Nicusor Dan. Mrs. Roxana Wring, one of the members of PP board, is one of the candidates for the general council of Bucharest. Unfortunately, Mr. Dan did not win the elections, but Clotilde Armand, also part of the USB party, won the position for the first sector of Bucharest.

Also, Mr. Nicusor Dan and his team announced, shortly after the first exit polls, that they will change their name into –Save Romania Union- and run for places in the parliament.

 

Pro Patrimonio’s activity 2016

On-going projects:

Enescu House in Mihaileni

Throughout the winter, carpentry work has been done in a traditional workshop in a neighbouring village. Begining with April, the hurdlers restarted work on finalizing the exterior drain and reconstructing interior stoves.

In parallel, Luchian house, located on the parcel on the left and owned by Remember Enescu Foundation (whose founder is Mr. Alexandru Tomescu, virtuoso violonist and member in PP’s board) began being restored under PP’s coordination. Together with Enescu house, the building will function as The International George Enescu Music and Arts Academy. Luchian house was consolidated and hygienized. At the present we are installing a kitchen and two sanitary groups, so that in June the house will be able to host volunteers that will participate at the second „claca” for rebuilding Casa Enescu’s walls, which will happen around the 10th of July.

The restoration of the Enescu House needs 15.000 more euro to finalize. Several awareness and fundraising campaigns are undergoing: Stradivarius – Enescu Experience tour of Alexandru Tomescu; short sms donation number.

A project for the use of existing spaces, preparing an audition room and a program for activities with worldwide musicians and the local community is in progress. The budget for The International George Enescu Music and Arts Academy is around 50.000 eur.

 

Landscape Observatory – Golescu Villa in Campulung

Golescu villa, donated to Pro Patrimonio, is a picturesque guesthouse where the foundation organizes workshops on restoration and heritage. This year we will 3 workshops at the villa:

  • One dedicated to the children in the local community – 29 June – 3 July
  • Textile conservation and restoration – 4 – 9 July
  • Culinary landscapes – 23-30 July

Besides the workshops, the villa can host members of the foundation, in return for a minimum donation.

 

60 wooden churches

This year, we will continue the restoration works at the church of Ursi, Valcea county, with the help of World Monuments Fund. The floor board is being redone, the carpentry will be fixed, the electrical installation will be installed and the fresco consolidated. Parts of the fresco that were extracted for the reparation of the beam girders will be replanted.

Consolidating and restoring the fresco will end in 2017, at the least. All work will be done in situ, during the summer. For this, the foundation has rented a house in the village for volunteers and restoration workers, but also for people who want to visit the church and the village.

During the first week of August we are organizing an international workshop for the conservation of the fresco.

As a part of the 7 most endangered sites, the foundation was supported for the conservation documentation of two other churches that are is a very bad shape: the church in Sirineasa, Valcea county, and the church in Valari, Hunedoara county. This documentation will be used to access grants for their conservation.

In April, the waste in Sirineasa church was sorted and a minimum protection of the roof was put in place. During August we are making efforts to be able to make a more ample emergency intervention that would protect the church during the fall and winter. Also, the Valcea county Culture authority has been informed and persuaded to add the church on the heritage list, as it has great architectural and cultural value.

The wooden church in Boz, Hunedoara County, received European funds for its conservation. The works will start this fall and will be coordinated by Pro Patrimonio.

 

Other

Mr. Vlad Alexandrescu launched a public subscription campaign for raising 6 million euros to acquire Constantin Brancusi’s “The Wisdom of the Earth” , which was sculpted by Brancusi in 1907 and is part of the national cultural heritage, as thesaurus. Next to “The Kiss” and “The Prayer”, the sculpture marks the artist’s most appreciated creative period. It is an emblem of the first modern sculptures in the world. The campaign encourages popular solidarity for culture, this being the reason why Pro Patrimonio is supporting it.

www.brancusiealmeu.ro

 

At the moment, there are several activities undergoing:

– a partnership for the “Blacksmithing at the Manor” workshop on traditional crafts, in Tibanesti, Iasi county

– a documentary on the heritage destruction in the Buzești – Berzei – Matache area in Bucuresti, directed by Dragos Lumpan

– the publication of a guide on the conservation of wooden churches, with the support of Europa Nostra

– the publication of a guide on traditional stoves

– conservation and educational activities for local children at the manors of Izvoru, Arges county, and Olari, Olt county

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