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Rimetea

The village of Rimetea, located in the narrow valley close to the towns of Turda and Aiud, consists of about 200 traditional vernacular buildings. Some of them are of special interest, such as the oldest rural building in the Carpathian basin, constructed in 1668, and the oldest functioning creek mill in the region. But it is the whole complex of the numerous old buildings, preserving their original character, which give a clear picture of the history of the community as a whole, and which make Rimetea unique.

The village was first mentioned in the 13th century as property of the aristocratic Hungarian Thoroczkay family. After the settlement of German miners in the 14th century, it flourished through iron mining, manufacturing, and trade. Following the general economical development of Hungary, its heyday was from 1867 onwards. Due to the rapid urbanisation, the village gained its present appearance. The houses, aligned along the long north-south streets, following the valley, reflected the social and occupational variety of the population.

A large rectangular square stood in the centre of the village, surrounded by richly ornamented houses, decorated with the local iron features, in the taste of the 19th century middle class. On the upper side of the square lived the traders, and on the lower side and in the streets behind it lived the blacksmiths. In the north west part of the village, nearer to the mines, were the simple timber houses of the miners. The 'gypsy smiths' occupied the eastern quarter and finally there was an area where the farmers lived. The period of growth ended at the end of the 19th century, when new industrial centres put an end to traditional mining and manufacturing, and halted the further development of the town. This caused the emigration of the population to Turda and other industrial cities. The uncertain economical and political circumstances in the 20th century caused further emigration, reducing Rimetea from over 1800 inhabitants in its heyday to 600 at present.

Although the architectural heritage of Rimetea is not listed, its preservation is of national importance. Therefore a conservation project was launched in 1996 by the Transylvania Trust Foundation, based on an annual subvention offered by the Local Council of the 5th District of Budapest, who established a close relationship with the village. A strategy was developed to halt the process of natural decay, to neutralise the negative effects of social change, by finding new functions for vacant buildings, and to raise the awareness of both owners and authorities to their heritage. First an inventory of the vernacular architecture was made, including a photographic database of 162 of the most important traditional buildings. This inventory, gradually linked to technical surveys, formed the basis of a conservation plan. Using strict agreements, assistance was provided for owners if they maintained and preserved the architectural values of their properties.

138 owners signed the agreement and benefited from subventions, planning assistance, technical advice and some additional grants for maintenance and restoration work. Its success was proved by the fact that the investments the owners made from their own resources more than doubled the value of the funds available for the whole conservation plan.
The programme also had economic and educational values. The conservation work offered many jobs for craftsmen in a village were unemployment was high, whilst teaching them traditional building techniques. Moreover the village became attractive for rural tourism, thus improving the infrastructure in general. Over fifteen houses where equipped with modern facilities and were listed by the state for use as tourist accommodation. Education of students was also an essential element of the programme, and they received training in recording techniques and preservation methods whilst working in summer camps.

The Rimetea Heritage Conservation Project is a continuing project, dependent on fund-raising. It offers a viable example of conservation based on co-operation, internationally as well as between local authorities and NGO's, in a region where the heritage is much threatened by rapid social and economic change. Efforts will be made to have the village listed nationally and to promote the place internationally.

The 1999 Europa Nostra Medal, given to this unique project, which is an example for many other European villages, will undoubtedly help in this respect.


Elérhetőségek

Adress:

Gyopár – Edelweiss, Camping

RO - 517610 Rimetea, 157/A, Alba

 

+40 744 542 563

 

gyoparpanzio@gmail.com

 

GPS: N 46°28’17” ; E 23°34’59”