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Civil society steps in to preserve Romania’s past

In Romania, despite a lack of political will, civil society is racing to save dilapidated old structures and help ensure the survival of the region's unique identity. Yet, will their efforts be enough to save the thousands of heritage sites across the country?

A dozen-strong group of volunteers gather at the stone base of a fortified Lutheran church in the small Saxon village of Filetelnic, Transylvania, as Eugen Vaida, head of the Ambulanta Pentru Monumente (Ambulance for Monuments), gives directions on how to save one of the church’s three-metre-high fortified walls. The wall, part of which dates back to the 15th century, is crumbling from the top down as a result of water infiltration. This would eventually destroy the wall, as well as the ancient inscriptions on it, which date back to the 16th and 17th centuries.

Sadly, Filetelnic is not a unique case. Many heritage buildings throughout this region have fallen into various states of disrepair, from crumbling medieval fortified churches to abandoned Hungarian castles, from old war monuments to centuries-old Saxon homes.
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January 2, 2018 - Stephen McGrath - Issue 1 2018MagazineStories and ideas

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