As part of the funding programme for adaptive reuse, the Fortified Churches Foundation was able to carry out longer-planned building work on the fortified church of Movile in June this year. The south tower now has a stage for cultural events.
In the community of Movile, where the association Churchfortress e.V. – Friends of Hundertbücheln/Movile and the hometown community of emigrated Saxons (HOG) are very active, there has been a wish for a long time to set up a wooden construction for cultural events such as concerts or presentations. Thanks to funding from the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media (BKM), it has now been possible not only to erect such a small stage, but also to carry out other important maintenance work.
Masonry and triumphal arch repaired
In order to make the stage usable, profound securing work first had to be carried out on the tower and the adjoining parts of the defensive wall. The south tower, which is actually a fragment, now forms a beautiful backdrop for future open-air events in the fortified church.
In order to secure the fruit house (museum), which is also located on the grounds of the fortification, the plaster was removed from the interior in order to drive back the moisture that occurs there. The historical frames of the windows were protected in the process. Work was also carried out on the church itself during the three-week project. The work was coordinated by Sibiu architect Tudor Pavelescu and the team of his office Modul 28. In the past, cracks had appeared in the area of the walls and especially at the triumphal arch, which had affected the plaster and in some places also the masonry. These have now been repaired so that the interior of the church is also safe for the time being.
Step by step to new splendour
The structural origins of the Protestant church of Movile date back to the middle of the 13th century. Apart from the west tower, a fragment of the masonry in the nave is currently still part of the old Romanesque building. Today, the fortified church is considered an insider’s tip for cultural tourism and is attracting more and more interested visitors. The lively donation activity of the HOG and the reliable presence of the Churchfortress Association in the village, in combination with the advisory and coordinating activities of the Fortified Churches Foundation, ensure that the restoration work continues to progress.
In 2017, the fortress benefited from a grant from the Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation of the US Embassy in Bucharest. Two years ago, young volunteers had repaired parts of the ring wall and a staircase as part of a European Heritage Volunteers project.
Text: Stefan Bichler
Pictures: Tudor Pavelescu