As a specialist institution for the preservation of the fortified churches in Transylvania, the Fortified Churches Foundation works closely with partners, associations and private initiatives that are dedicated to finding interesting concepts for the further use of these historic buildings. In addition to these cooperations, we are also interested in developing our own adaptive reuse project to set another example of the numerous possibilities that the fortified churches offer in this respect.
Since we are mainly dealing with monuments in rural areas, the “classic” models of extending their use (e.g. library, community centre, food banks, cultural venues, etc.) are usually not feasible. The main reason for this is the lack of demand from local and neighbouring communities. However, as the region of Southern Transylvania, the so-called Transylvanian Highlands, has become a popular destination for domestic and foreign tourists in recent years, we have identified them as a target group for our concept of adaptive reuse.
By offering quality accommodation in the towers and annex buildings of the fortifications and combining the mere stay with a holistic heritage experience, we hope to satisfy the demands of culturally interested tourists.
The fortified church opens its doors
Guests are invited not only to enjoy the quality and comfort of the rooms and amenities, but also to discover the entire ensemble of the fortified church, which is “theirs”, so to speak, for the duration of their stay.
The atmosphere of the place, the history of the medieval monument and the sacredness of the religious heritage can be perceived and should be stimulated by various activities and offers on site. These are not obligatory, but can enhance the extraordinary experience of an overnight stay in a fortified church.
Through the carefully documented and monitored implementation of the adaptive reuse programme, we aim to set a best practice example for further models of reinterpretation of religious heritage sites in Romania, as this issue has not yet been sufficiently addressed and tackled at the national level.
The small and young visitors and their enthusiasm for the fortified churches are particularly close to our hearts. With the currently ten fortified church quiz booklets we have developed, young adventurers can set off on a hunt for discoveries and explore the buildings and their details in greater detail.
After a short introduction to the history of the fortified churches, the quiz-hunt continues… Watch out, there is a lot to discover!
The Transylvanian Landscape of Fortified Church – A European Cultural Heritage is the title of our travelling exhibition, which has been on display in many places in Romania and abroad since 2018. In 2020 we have put the exhibition online in digital format, as the pandemic has forced us to cancel many planned dates for its presentation. You can visit the online version here:
The exhibition is available in physical form in two editions, each bilingual: German/Romanian and English/French.
If you are interested in booking the travelling exhibition, please feel free to contact us.
For the long-term and sustainable protection of fortified churches, their permanent use makes sense and also ensures their preservation. There are a number of initiatives and associations that have contractually adopted a fortified church and take care of it. The Fortified Churches Foundation welcomes such commitment and would like to encourage further activities of this kind.
In 2019, we initiated an unofficial network under the title AvantGuards to exchange information and support each other. The Fortified Churches Foundation would like to play a bridging role between the individual projects and the institutional bodies of the Evangelical Church A.C. in Romania.
Here we would like to introduce you to the AvantGuards and invite you to visit their projects and be inspired by their ideas, their commitment and their unique concepts for the fortified churches.